We've started to talk about number three. This is not because we're in any way ready for a third, as I barely have a grip on parenting two nor am I over my present baby being the baby (though someone at the grocery store called her a big girl!). But since the whole process takes awhile and requires a whole lot of intentionality -- you can't accidentally adopt -- we're starting to try to imagine starting the process again.
More on this later -- right now it's just backstory to what's really on my mind:
We'd been considering traveling together next time, whether that trip was for a third child or a first family (attempted) visit. Ds would be six, I'd be in the position healthwise (if we planned for it now) to travel, etc. Those were our two biggest concerns.
We are worried about how ds would travel, and how he would worry. This is the child who worried incessantly about death when he was three and decided at four that a good God wouldn't let people be hungry, and would make sure everyone had a home. We're not sure we can prepare him for what he would see and experience, and we certainly can't make sense of it. Dh, considered by many "unflappable," had a difficult time moving forward here knowing what's happening there. This can be a productive stress on an adult, but I really worry about what it would/will do to a sensitive child.
But now we're really worried about Miss I.'s reaction, too. We know she remembers some things, but couldn't possibly know what she was doing with those memories. We know she expects to be hungry again, can't tolerate being thirsty, worries that all large groups of children signify care center. She enjoys looking at the paintings of homes from her region, loves sharing her life book and pictures of the other children and nannies, wants to "talk" about ox carts, wants me to understand the problem with the wild African dogs at the zoo. But she doesn't want me to be any part of it.
I tried on one of the beautiful embroidered shirts dh brought back for me (he brought one for Miss I. as well and she's seen them here before.) As soon as I did, she screamed and sobbed, and tried frantically to rip the shirt off of me. She calmed down soon after I
took it off, but my heart broke for her.
An international adoptee and family friend (home at 4, now 18) says she, too, remembers wanting to be an "All-American girl." But -- and perhaps this is only because of her developmental stage -- Miss I. seemed most concerned that I would no longer be her All-American momma?
And on some level, she's keeping her emotional suitcases packed, as the analogy goes. What if we were to pack our real bags? Someday, an extended trip will be a wonderful thing for all of my children. But not as soon as we'd thought.