Monday, June 19, 2006

Meeting Miss I.

Sster's post on boomerific includes loving thoughts about the Bloom family (and praise for me, which makes me feel shy), and poses a kind of question (and Kohana's comment poses it more directly): How are meeting your child via adoption and meeting your child by birth alike, and how different? I only have the very personal and specific responses of myself and my husband to offer, but that's all anyone ever has . . .

When I was pregnant with ds, I didn't feel like there was a moment I really met him. (I've heard this isn't common - my sister's first babe was always a mystery) DS just grew into my awareness. At eight weeks, I had an exam for spotting. I "knew" a little bit about him then if I was to believe the very traditional Jamaican nurse, who insisted that the hyperemesis that had accounted for my prior hospital admission made it clear that he was "a very strong, robust boy." She confirmed what I had suspected, so I started talking to my son, whom I'd already been speaking to (and in those terms) with much more confidence. (Once, in my journal, I wrote, "Maybe you're a girl!" and used the name we had chosen in case. In every other entry, he's ds, by name).

I learned about him as he moved, as he grew, and I learned too much about him as my very intensely medically scrutinized pregnancy progressed. And when he was finally born (see entry May 4) my overwhelming feelings were relief and gratitude. But I was not surprised. Since then, I have been surprised by him so many times - by his intelligence, his intuitiveness, his spiritedness, his warmth, his temper, his humor.

I asked dh what it was like meeting I. for the first time. Their meeting, anticipated for two months (two years, really) was delayed a couple more hours by a mishap, which may have been a bit deflating. His first thought, he says, was "That's who you are." Her first thought was panic, and she cried and refused to look at him. Later, she threw shoes and a banana (skills she employs every couple hours). He gave her space, knowing we had the rest of our lives. And thankfully, we do.

My first feelings, when I saw dh, our dear friend, and my daughter come through the doors from customs were relief and gratitude. I cried, and I didn't know whether to run to them or wait for them to come beyond the gates. I was overwhelmingly thankful that they were safe and home. I loved my husband more than I'd ever loved him before. And I loved the little mystery he held asleep in his arms.

He says those are the feelings he had when he first met ds.

Like dh, I knew that we have forever to figure each other out, this mystery and me, but I am not blessed with his unending patience, so for me it's work to watch our lives unfold.

My son said "I'm so happy I feel sad" and he cried.

I had imagined what meeting them at the airport would be like. And in some ways, it was just like that. I knew I would be speechless, knew I would cry.

Miss I. herself missed her opportunity to say "Hi, Momma," as she had hoped (and as she had already done on the phone) but she's making up for it by chanting A-Momma, a-momma, a-momma in my ear, just as she sings Abbat A-dadda, Abbat A-dadda (Father-Daddy) quietly when dh is not in the room or when she needs him to help her fall asleep (a task for which the much-awaited Momma just will not suffice). I'm suprised by her beauty, her charm, her temper, her humor, her strength, her intense need to be held by me, to be told she is mine (however much adoption books had said this would be so).

I guess that's all to say that while the meetings are important parts of our stories, I'm learning that it's less about meetings than it is about being.

and we've only just begun to be.


AMH said...

I am thrilled your family is finally together. I can't imagine how it must feel to have this long-awaited person in your life. You must want to take her and unravel her bit by bit and learn everything about her as thoroughly as you can.

I wish you all luck, love and happiness! :)

Overwhelmed! said...

Hooray! I just love hearing about this journey. Thank you for being willing to share!

Overwhelmed! said...

Will we get to see a picture of beautiful Miss I? How old is she exactly?

abebech said...

She's 17 mos, and growing every day!
As for a picture, dh is more conservative than I . . . so we're negotiating :)