Thursday, September 20, 2012

In Which We Hear Some Wonderful News

We received some stunning news today; our agency has received Ellen's To Whom It May Concern Letter!  This was the last major piece of paperwork we needed from the Thai government in order to bring our daughter home.  It will still take a little while to file her immigration paperwork, procure our final approval from the embassy and receive our invitation to travel, but we're anticipating flying to Thailand in December of this year.  We should become a family of four just before Christmas: about three weeks before Ellen's fifteenth birthday.  I'm giddy just typing those words.

In just a few months we'll be face to face with our daughter for the first time.  Instead of visiting the orphanage website to see what she's eating, we'll be sitting down to dinner with her.  We'll be learning her favorite song, the cadence of her laugh, how she holds a spoon and what kind of tea she drinks.  We won't have to content ourselves with poring over pictures or video of her, because she'll be sitting right in front of us. 

It's been a long journey-- through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year (or two).  But soon all the waiting will finally be over, and our real wild rumpus can begin.

We don't live in a Lifetime movie; there will be no ticker tape parade when we first meet.  She's not going to run into our arms and then we'll all dance off into the sunset together into some unimaginably happy life while the credits roll.  Adoption is messy and painful and tragic and somehow breathtakingly beautiful all at the same time, much like the rest of life.  Our daughter is an incredibly brave, resilient, extraordinary girl whose very foundation was torn apart in infancy, and she didn't get to choose the path she's been set on.  She'll have nearly fifteen years of life that we weren't a part of, and she has every right to be hurt and angry, to miss the familiar faces, smells and comforts of Thailand, and to resent the strangers who have uprooted her to bring her halfway across the world.  We don't expect things to be easy.

We can't change the past for her, as much as we'd like to.  We're not able to reach out and fix things so that she was never in the situation where she needed to be adopted-- much less adopted by a family from a different country and culture.  And we can't make up for all those years we weren't there.  But what we can do is choose to be her family now

We can keep ourselves from trying to fit her into a mold of our making.  To help her and support her wherever her journey might take her, to give her unconditional love and a home to return to no matter how far she might travel and what monsters lie in wait.  To say no sometimes when it's needed.  To hold her hand when her heart is broken.  To help her move into her first apartment and to walk her down the aisle at her wedding.  To be there for the big events but also for the small ones-- for homework and swim meets and sick days and all the minutiae of daily living that most children are able to take for granted that someone will be there to help them with. 

We can do our best to live up to the tremendous, precious gift we've been given; the chance to be a part of our daughter's life and to stand by her as we watch her write her own story in the years to come.

Though we'll do everything in our power to help her journey, we can't promise her that it will always be a smooth one.  But we can promise that we'll sail with her every mile of the way.  And no matter how far away her travels take her, there will be always be a room and a hot supper waiting for her here.

We'll see you soon, daughter.  We can't wait to welcome you home!

~Jess

   

11 comments:

Fiona said...

Oh Jess, I am so happy for all of you.
And your appreciation of the adoption process, and the reality with which you address it is beautiful.
She may not always think so, but Ellen is one very blessed child to become part of your amazing family.

Can't wait to hear all about it, plus I am secretly hoping for lots of sage advice and wisdom on parenting teenage girls...
Good luck with that ;-)

Julia O'C said...

Beautiful.

I'm so excited for you and your family!

Julia said...

That definitely got the waterworks going. Beautifully said, and resonating with truth and insight. I'm so happy for you. And anxious, as you are too, for all the reasons you outlined. But you have the long view, the holistic view, to see you through the rough parts. Here's wishing health, security, hugs, and some kick-butt rumpussing for your entire family. (Just make sure you practice the magic trick of staring into their eyes without blinking -- it has a remarkable pacifying effect on all parties.)

Kristin said...

So FANTASTIC!! Thrilled for you guys!!

Anonymous said...

Yay

KarenMorris said...

As an adoptee, I can tell you that the love you give her now will fill her life with joy forever. Yes, there will be "what ifs," but there will be many more "there ares" she will hold in her heart. The Morris family is so happy for you, and we send prayers and blessings for you all.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

EXCITING!!!!!

Julie G

Katherine said...

Oh, I am just thrilled for you and your family!!!! I have been following along with your journey for quite a while now and this is truly wonderful news for such a deserving family.

krlr said...

Congratulations!

Clara said...

Trilled for you and your soon to be family of four! It brings tears of joy to read this, and it's beautiful to have the perspective that you have with all this mixed emotions, she will have the best family ever! Sending you a hug and tons of prayers! This are amazing news!

Lacey said...

I was adopted at 12 years old through foster care adoption.I have no nerve endings from 3.5 inches above the top of my kneecaps down and therefore are in a wheelchair. I was in a state home until i was adopted by my wonderful family. I think what you are doing for Ellen is wonderful. I am 20 now by the way. I cant wait to hear about Connorand Ellen's interactions. My 1st interactions with my brothers and sister were magical. My sister is 2 years older than me so she was 14 when i was adopted and my brothers are 1 and 3 years younger than me so they were 11 and 9 when i was adopted.God Bless You as you continue on this journey.
-Lacey

 
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