April 23, 2008
There is this sort of panicky, dry-mouthed terror that strikes suddenly. In my case, I was walking down the stairs in the early evening, arms full of a pile of clothing desperately in need of a wash, (the clothing that is, not me), admiring my shadow on the pale green wall when I heard my husband talking quietly on the phone downstairs, making a date. And I knew what it was. It was my world changing. Something that was before only an indefinate idea taking tangible shape, forcing me to realize it was there, immediate, something to be dealt with now…not some distant point in the rosy future. It struck me so suddenly, my heart started pounding, my face flushed, my mouth felt like it was full of cotton balls and the only thing I felt was a certain sort of irrational fear. Forgetting the laundry, I walked as if in a dream into the living room and whispered a strangled, "So…? What did she say?"
He looked at me, his face serious and he said we’ll be meeting with the social worker who will handle our adoption process on Monday at 9am. Here in our own home.
Here in our own home?! Here? In our own home? Where I wash the floors on average twice a year? Where it’s…MESSY? And the plants have the unfortunate habit of not making it to old age? This home? Funny how one can be suddenly struck by thoughts of the extreme importance of long-ignored domestic duties when there looms on the horizon something much more significant…
So I stood in the fading daylight coming in through the window and asked repeatedly and somewhat hysterically, "But what will she ask us? What will she want to know?" To which Per replied that he didn’t know. Still, I insisted he tell me what she would ask, as though he would know any more than I would. Finally, in what amounted to a shallow despair I sighed in long-suffering frustration, "I’ll never be able to answer questions like those." and slumped down in a dejected heap on the couch. (’Questions like those’ being queries I had just made up randomly in my head that very moment.)
I should be happy, excited even, to have our interviews so soon…and maybe after I am more used to this idea of baring my heart and soul to a stranger, of talking about the most private and personal feelings and memories and experiences I have had and then having these personal griefs, joys, and experiences poured over and analyzed by countless unknown people to determine whether we are fit to be parents, I will be calmer and recognize the blessing in this not hanging over our heads for months to come yet. Here’s praying for the peace and grace to handle this situation with something less than acute terror.