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Monday, 22 November 2010

In Limbo





In the great scheme of things a camera being broken isn't really worthy of despair, so I won't exaggerate, (you know how I loath exaggeration after all), and say I've been despairing over my lack of photo documentation from the past month, but I have been...I don't know...antsy, fingers itching, going through a photo withdrawal of sorts. William on the other hand, ham though he undeniably is, has seemed to relish waking up without the flash of a camera going off repeatedly in his face. Or it could be he is just grateful for even one month in which his bad hair days (everyday) aren't scrupulously documented and filed away for future blackmail, er, enjoyment I mean.

So William at 17 months is a talkative little thing, never mind that aside from a few words I can't make out what he's trying to say at all. I think they call it baby talk. He adores his daddy. ADORES. Daddy can do no wrong. Everything good has the honor of being called "dada". He also loves the cats who he also calls "dada" as he yanks their tails with joyful abandon. He is quite generous to me in his way, trying to forcibly feed me pieces of lint and cat hair that he finds on the floor. He loves books and the movie Aristocats which I now know off by heart, and his meal of choice is cat food. He is quite funny and terribly dramatic.



(Disclaimer: Although I occasionally do a post on William now and again, I think it's fairly obvious that that this is not a mommy blog. That wasn't my goal when I started it, in fact slacker that I am I had no goal or aspirations at all when I began this blog aside from the therapeutic release of my own feelings in regards to the ups and downs of adoption. I certainly enjoy reading mommy blogs, but it just isn't me I'm afraid. If I'm going to write, I'm going to write my heart and soul and if not that, then I'd prefer not to write at all. And since writing is like a grand affair de coeur for me, I shall do it as I feel so inclined. ;)

So, my husband and I had this plan. When one year had passed, (and it has, incidentally), we would begin a new adoption journey. It would definitely be Sri Lanka again and if on the off chance Sri Lanka wasn't available, we would choose the Philippines. All would be well. Well, all will be well but the best laid plans of mice and men, right? :) We have our papers spread out before us and fresh enthusiasm for the venture ahead but it turns out we must choose a new country. Sri Lanka is presently not accepting new applicants and Norway has stopped (I hope only temporarily?) working with the Philippines.

When our list of possible countries is narrowed down further due to other rules and regulations, the countries that we can choose from are: Ethiopia, China, India, Chili, or Columbia. It is very possible that during the entire process, any of these countries could suddenly refuse to accept new applicants and yet other countries could begin to take in new ones so once again, it's all in God's hands. We have dealt with this before. Last time we had chosen Ethiopia for many months, been approved for it and then at the last minute told we had to choose between Sri Lanka and the Philippines and rather than being an inconvenience, it worked out wonderfully for us.:) So we don't know yet where we will choose. If it were possible we would wait for Sri Lanka to open again but that may be impossible so before we redo our social report and all that jazz, we may need to make a decision here!

Anyhoo, no matter where in the big world Adoption Journey 2 leads our small family, we're up for it! Open hearts, arms and minds and we're just settling in to enjoy the ride. :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Stumbling Over Lost Children

I see myself walking in a hot and dusty place. It's almost dark, I stumble over something and fall hard on my knees. My hands hit earth. Dry dust flies and dances in the air around my face. I choke and shake the hair out of my eyes. Look down to see what it was I stumbled over. Gently move the earth away. Something bright and beautiful lying unnoticed in the dirt.

You! I laugh in delighted dismay. What are you doing there?! I've been looking for you everywhere but never thought I'd find you here! Still laughing at my good fortune, I reach a hand down to pull you up, wipe my fingers across your dirt-streaked face...oh! But you're so beautiful! I shake my head in wonder. Sink down again until I reach your level. Gaze with a smile into your eyes. I couldn't find you, you know. At first, I cried and called and called. But you were gone! Just disappeared from me...my life... I shrug my shoulders and trail off helplessly. ...I gave up, it looked so bleak...they said I'd never find you... I lift my head to your small face, will you to understand what even I do not about loss and living without and choices made and mourned.

You pull your small, thin hand from mine. Look at me so scornfully. Say:

You're far too late and now you have no claim on me. I'm not your child. Not yours to keep. I'm a dream. I am a ghost.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Exile Part 2

When I wrote my last post on exile according to Kahlil Gibran's prophet, I desperately wanted to include something more at the end. Verses about exile taken from another source, the Bible. But for the life of me, I couldn't find the particular verses I wanted. I searched, hastily turning pages and even typed the bits I could remember into Google, but got all the wrong verses. So as it was late (well, late for me as I am no longer the night owl I used to be and now greedily lust after all the sleep I can get.:), I gave up gracefully and went to bed.

The next day I picked up my Bible again and as so often happens, turned to the very chapter that the previous night had eluded me. I want to share it because the words give a fuller explanation of exile, a fuller view, an idea that whatever sort of exile we are in can be embraced.

"Promote the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you, pray for it to the Lord, for upon its welfare depends your own." Jeremiah 29: 7-9

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord. Plans for your welfare , not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call to me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, say the Lord, and I will change your lot. I will gather you together from all the places to which I have banished you and bring you back from the place I have exiled you." Jeremiah 29: 11-15

I never viewed my own sadness as an exile until my mom sent me those verses one day in a message. One day out of many when I absolutely could not find the meaning in any of my sorrow, when every day seemed hopeless and my depression and resulting anger, eternal. I read them and cried, not because they suddenly made everything better but because I began to see that someday all the pieces of myself would be gathered together and returned to me and I, whole and strong, would be allowed to return to the life and the joy and hope and promise that I had been exiled from.

A promise of restoration. A promise I was not ever alone. A promise of incredible beauty and a future full of hope if I could just hold out for it.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Exile

Aside from the occasional quote or lyric, I don't normally copy out other people's words on my blog. In my infinite modesty, I find my own quite sufficient. ;)

But these words...they absolutely took my breath away when I read them.

(They are from the book "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. An exiled prophet is waiting to return to his homeland and when the day comes that he can, he is filled with first joy and then sorrow."

"How shall I go in peace and not without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city.

Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?

Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among the hills, and I can not withdraw from them without a burden and an ache.

It is not a garment I cast off this day, but a skin that I tear with my own hands."


I can't claim to have been in physical exile before although occasionally, in utter exasperation with a country not my own, I have felt as though I was. :) But more seriously, I have experienced somewhat of an interior exile...a time of brief but extreme isolation from myself, others, joy and even I felt at the time, God.

I think that the returning to a place you have been exiled from, whether a tangible country or your own precious self and life, must be very similar in some ways.

I know my observation isn't terribly profound but then, who am I to compete with Kahlil Gibran in the space of just a few moments and paragraphs? I'm better off retiring gracefully tonight...

Good night and sweet dreams.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Our Day In Court: A Cold And Broken Hallelujah





"Love is not a victory march,
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah." - Leonard Cohen

Tomorrow is November fifth.

November fifth, 2009 was the day we sat in the sweltering court room in Colombo waiting to be called into the judge's private room. We sat there with beating hearts and sweaty hands in our "formal attire", while behind us William lay in his biological mother's arms.  Beside her sat one of the nuns from the convent, her eyes closed, silently praying her rosary in the midst of the noise and heat and crowd. We were to be called, one by one, to answer questions.  We had prepared for this and gone over it with the lawyer.  Each answer was to end with a small bow and the word "Sir".

I was afraid I would forget my name, my age, my reasons.   It proceeded with an air of unreality.  We all answered what was asked, it was translated, transcribed, the symbolic act of William being placed in my arms by his biological mother in front of the judge was somehow managed.

I felt so clumsy. Inept.

Several more minutes blurred past.  Then, we were done.  It was done.  It was really, really done.

We walked out of the private room.  Couldn't meet anyone's eyes.  Down the stairs.   Out the doors. Into a heat that suddenly felt oppressive.  We took William, were told by someone, no, no, no, not here...wait until we are farther from the building.  Down the street.  We walked.  Per and I, our guide, William's biological mother and William and the kind nun.  "Now."   On the side of a crowded narrow street.  I met her eyes.  Held out my arms, wasn't sure what to do.  Nothing felt as I thought it would.

(I don't want to write about William's biological mother's grief or try to imagine what she may have felt at that moment. I don't want to cheapen it with my words and interpretations.)

But I will remember.

Taking William in my own arms.  This time not symbolically.  The nun reaching over and making the sign of the cross on his forehead.  His screams as I took him.  The sight of his mother walking away, bent over, weeping, the nuns arms around her, supporting her, keeping her from falling to the ground.  Mohan saying "let's go". The people on the street stopping whatever business they were busy with and watching.  The feeling of shame that swept over me.  The car ride back to the hotel which only lasted minutes.   I held William in my arms in the backseat. Cried.  Cried.  Cried.  "I'm so sorry baby. I'm so sorry. So sorry."

There were no outside the court building pictures. This was love on all sides but it didn't feel like victory.  Not at the moment it occurred.

It was gut-wrenching heartbreak. Incomprehensible. It was life in an imperfect world.

I couldn't write about it then and I find it very hard to write about it now.  This day was agony.  This day was joy.  An end.  A beginning.  A changing of hands.  An answer to prayers.  An uprooting.

So no, love is certainly not always a victory march but somewhere under all this pain, there were strains of a cold and very broken hallelujah.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

It Has To Be Enough For Me

It's a good day for musing.

It's only 3:20 pm and the sky is dark, rain is shattering itself againt the windows from which a soft golden light shines against the gathering darkness outside. The kind of light you see in other people's windows when walking along busy streets lined with cozy houses, rain pounding the pavement all around you...the kind of light you see in someone elses window and long for, assuming their home must be filled with peace and quiet happiness...contentment...beauty...laughter...the kind of soft glow that for a moment, you envy as you trudge past it in the cold. Even if you have your own window from which gentle light spills out illuminating the rich life within your own home that perhaps other people pass by on dark, cold, lonely nights and envy.

I'm not so certain as I sounded in my previous post. Don't think that my words on who I am mean I have it all figured out. Not by a long shot I'm afraid.:) The words sound confident and I know that they are true...but knowing doesn't make it easy to live in such a way and knowing is not the same as understanding.

I'm not certain but I'm not confused either. I am aware. I am searching. I always want...

Maybe I want soft light to illuminate my soul. To spill out of my heart and give beauty to all I do. Maybe I envy anothers light, a more obvious light, without cherishing and tending to the light in my own soul. Without understanding it.

Whatever the answers to my questions, I am who I am. I have my own gifts and light. They have to be enough for me.

"Five great enemies to peace are found within us: avarice, ambition,envy, anger, and pride. If these enemies were to be banished, we should without doubt, always enjoy peace." - Plutarch (Greek moralist)

Peace be with you then on this rainy night, I hope your unique light keeps the shadows and monsters away.