Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Pumpkin Room

We have four bedrooms upstairs in our house-- Everett's bedroom, Wesley's bedroom, mom and dad's bedroom, and--the pumpkin room. "Pumpkin butter" is the paint color. We named the room after paint because it's a spare room. Because we have more bedrooms than bodies to fill them. Until now.Last weekend I could wait to ready our little one's bedroom no longer. We had planned to work on her room after Christmas. There's no rush. Our agency has said it might be six months before we can travel and bring home our little girl.

And we use the pumpkin room. A lot. As a spare room, it has no specific purpose, so we use it for everything. It's the computer room, the t.v. room, the play room, and lately, as I try and catch up on the family photo albums, the scrapbooking room.

Clearing out the pumpkin room took most of a day. As my family huffed and puffed up and down the stairs, hauling away a closet full of games and old VHS tapes and dismantling the computer desk so it would fit through the door, I started to feel a little silly. We have no place for the computer. So for now we've crammed it in the corner of our bedroom. We stuffed the t.v., the videos, and the toys in our already crowded basement playroom.

My husband and my twelve-year-old son indulged my nesting frenzy with grins and good-natured eye rolling. But I questioned the wisdom of putting an unused crib where the computer used to go. Of robbing the room of its purpose.

Now I stare at the crib and the overstuffed rocking chair and the chest of drawers used by my other two babies and I realize that my nesting instincts weren't wrong. This room, more than ever before, is filled with purpose.

This new bedroom is proof that our little girl is coming. That she really and truly is coming. She is not just a little picture pasted on our fridge. She is more than a medical report, an orphanage intake form, a one page list of her skills.

Now, she is filling up space in our house. She really exists. And very soon she will be ours.

When you're pregnant, you feel your child inside you. She's a tangible presence. Filling up space. Your womb is her room.

When you adopt, you feel your baby inside you, too. Every day. But until Saturday, we had made no room for her. Now that we've built her "womb," my nesting frenzy has passed. I feel calm. At peace.

Her bedroom is still pretty bare. The drawers are empty. Very few toys and books line the shelves. Everett, our four-year, didn't like the empty crib so he spread a sheet from the linen closet over the bare mattress and laid his stuffed puppy, Rocky, in the bed. My husband cradled his arms and rocked an invisible baby in the rocking chair. Crowded in the small room, surrounded by white furniture, it was as if we'd all placed our hands over an invisible belly and felt our daughter's first kick.

In a few months our little girl will be sleeping in the crib. We will rock her in the chair and try to hug away the traumas of her life. In her referral picture she looks so terribly sad. The picture was taken right after she was relinquished by the mother who could no longer nurse her. Her brown eyes are wide with fright. Her head is newly shaven against lice.

We imagine her in the future playing in her room, unrecognizable from that picture. She will giggle when her big brother tickles her with Rocky. Her big brown eyes will fill with mischief as she pulls every single book off her shelves. She will have a head full of curls pulled back with a bow.

We emptied the pumpkin room this weekend. We didn't change the paint. We always liked the color. But it's no longer the pumpkin room. It is our daughter's room. It's little e's bedroom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We got a new picture of our little one!

As someone in our Holt group put it so well--"The dam has burst!" After months of no court dates and delayed court dates, the Holt yahoo group is abuzz with excitement! Families are passing court without even knowing they had court dates scheduled, travel dates have been planned (for less than two weeks after passing court!), new court dates are being scheduled, and updated pictures of our kiddos have been sent out!

We were lucky enough to get a new picture of our little one. We were thrilled to see that her cheeks are rounder and there's some light in her big eyes. It does our hearts good to see her getting healthier!

We know of one family with an October referral who has a December court date. We have an October referral, too...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dossier has arrived in Ethiopia!

We got an e-mail from our agency today saying that our dossier has finally arrived in Ethiopia! Now all the paperwork is in place for us to get a court date. We've done our part--it's all up to the Ethiopian authorities, now! Please keep the prayers coming and the fingers crossed that it's a quick wait!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Joy built on pain

We've had our referral for several weeks now. The emotions we've experienced during this time have been far more complex than I expected. Many people describe the elation, the instant connection they feel to that child on their computer screen. We felt--shock. Our little one looks so terribly terribly scared and sad in her picture. Her little limbs are pencil-thin from malnutrition. Her newly shaved head is gigantic in comparison.

And she already has a mom.

When we stared at the picture of this big-eyed 13 month old we thought, this little girl doesn't want a new family. She's wants the mommy she's loved for the first twelve months of her life.

What sadness we've felt that this poor little child was ripped away from everything familiar in her life. Part of us says, "Can't we find some way for child and mom to stay together?"
Prior to our referral, we knew our daughter might have living relatives. As an abstract idea it was not so difficult to accept. When you're staring at a sad little face who just wants her mommy, the tears come.

Our little one is on her own now, learning a new way to live in Holt's care center while we wait to pass court. Just when she's had time to adapt to life in an orphanage--bam--we will swoop in, snatch her away from her new fragile familiarity and traumatize her all over again.

We hope she will forgive us.

We long to hold her tight and shower her with kisses and tell her that we'll make it all better. That everything will be all right.

Joy built on pain. It's difficult.