I know you hate it when I call you that. I can’t help it. You’ll always be my Sweets. On Friday, you’ll turn 12-years- old. This is likely just a few days before we leave for what will undoubtedly be the biggest adventure of your life thus far, though I know there will be bigger to come. You’ll get married, you’ll have babies, and this will become a distant memory. God willing, it will be a good one. I have told you many, many times (so many times that you roll your eyes), that I have no idea what this trip has in store for us. Your sister’s health is an unknown and the timeline for her adoption is REALLY an unknown. I have asked you many, many times (again, you’ve rolled your eyes), if this is really the trip you want to take. You have assured me it is.
I started this adoption with a promise to you. A serious promise. I promised that you wouldn’t end up with another sister that you might have to watch die. I tried so hard not to get us into that mess again, but here we are. I bungled it. I got us into it big time. I don’t think it will happen, but I can’t promise that it won’t. In my backpack, along with all the adoption documents, is a written emergency plan for what I’m to do if your sister’s eye tumor ruptures. I think we would be able to get her to medical care. I think it’s unlikely it will happen. But, I can’t be sure. I can’t be sure it won’t happen at 37,000 feet when we’re two hours into a 13 hour flight and there’s no place to land. If that happens, I’ve told you that all I can do is my best, but that I can’t make you any promises.
You still want to come.
You’re braver at age 12 then I was at age 24 when you appeared in my life. I remember being absolutely petrified when I heard that knock on the hotel room door. I still remember how that room smelled, what the bedspread looked like, what your dad was wearing, how young he looked and how we both looked at you in wide eyed wonder as your foster mom handed you to us. You were amazing, and I… I was so naive. I thought there was no way the world would ever see you for anything other than what you were at that moment, an innocent baby boy. My baby.
We learned together what it means to be a transracial adoptive family. My naiveté protected me from missing out on what was one of the biggest miracles on my life thus far. Had I known everything I know now, maybe I would have been so afraid that I wouldn’t have moved forward to make you mine. Maybe I would have missed you. Even typing those words, oh my gosh, the possibility brings tears to my eyes. I would have missed so much. I would have missed us. My naiveté stopped me from missing out on Ghana and your three siblings who call that country their homeland. It stopped me from missing out on your sister, who I now realize barely made it out of China alive. And, it stopped me from missing out on your little brother, who has one of the biggest personalities I have ever encountered, but in a body that the rest of the world sees as too small. I didn’t know how big a risk I was taking at any of those pivotal moments. I didn’t know that I would end up wearing my heart outside of my body, feeling every single one of their wounds as if it was my own, worrying for all of you every single day. I know now…and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I wouldn’t change one single thing about them…or about me.
I want you to see that too, my sweet little/big man. I want you to see what I see, a world that is fundamentally flawed, where children wait and wait and wait for someone naive enough to take a chance on them. I want you to see all the good that can be done, and then I want to watch it change you, because it will. It will change you in ways you can’t even imagine. You will come back a different person, a better person, and, ultimately, you will be so, so proud of the change. You’ll come back knowing what is important, and what’s not. While it’s happening though, it will hurt. You’ll never be able to un-see it, and sometimes, as your mom, I worry about that. I worry that it’s all too much, too fast, that I should protect you from seeing it.
Then I realize…you’re so ready.
I can’t wait. We’re coming full circle. From that Fairfield Inn in Nowhere, Georgia where I met you, to a nondescript government room in Zhengzhou, China, we’ll have come full circle. You’ll watch as they put your sister in my arms the way they put you in my arms. And then, we’ll just go on being naive together as we explore the other side of the world.
Adventure awaits us my Sweets, and I absolutely can’t wait.