Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Little King and I
First, thanks so much for your prayers, encouraging e-mails, and comments below. It humbles me to think there are many, some who I don't even know personally, praying for us to come home.
Yesterday we went to the US Embassy again (Daniel calls it the US Emily). They needed one more document that fortunately we had in a file at home. Brad faxed it this morning and we were able to submit our file for pre-approval. Today and tomorrow are absolutely critical in determining if we can make it home before Christmas. We have got to get our notifications today, our certifications tomorrow and our new birth certificate this week to have any chance to be home by Christmas. PLEASE keep the prayers coming!
With each mommy moment here, my thoughts often go to remembering my own mom who died about 5 years ago. My mom loved musicals and with the invention of the VCR (yes, I remember when we first got one), Rogers and Hammerstein were frequent guests in our home. Now my own kiddos love them. A few weeks ago we watched "Fiddler on the Roof." The next day my 4 year old son was cracking me up walking around the house belting out "if I were a rich man. . . ." (Hmmm. With these adoption/hotel expenses and our evaporating bank account, perhaps this is what Brad's singing, too.)
The tune that seems to be playing here in the soundtrack of my mind is from "The King and I." I feel like Deborah Kerr in a big hoopskirt singing "getting to know you, getting to know all about you. . . ." Although we've visited Daniel a total of 16 times over the past 2 and 1/2 years, there's nothing like one-on-one time in a hotel room to really get to know someone.
I've learned if I'm sharing a bathroom with two 9 year old boys, NEVER EVER sit down on the toilet without first wiping the seat. I've also learned from Daniel that Tranformers are great fun, body functions/noises are universally funny, and the love of cars and anything electronic starts at a young age. I've seen a precious innocence that I was afraid was gone due to all he might have seen or experienced. The other night there was a kissing scene in an animated movie and he and Alex did their "eeewwwws" and covered their eyes till it was over. The boys also covered their eyes when we passed the woman's undergarment department at Hiper Piaz. So cute.
And he has learned that mom takes her eyes (contacts) out at night. (It freaked him out the first time he watched me.) He's learned that mom does something strange called sit ups. (How do you say "muffin top" in Spanish?) He knows that I'm a big kid with some gray hairs and wrinkles. And he knows that sometimes moms cry happy tears (especially his mama).
But as fun as it is "getting to know" him, it has been equally heartbreaking realizing how much I just don't know. With my other three I have photos from before they were even born and still the size of a peanut. I know of every tooth grown and lost, every favorite and every fear, every triumph and every disappointment. With Daniel I see actions and behaviors and don't know the history behind it or the future cure for it.
One example was from our first night in the hotel in Antigua. Our room door faced a common courtyard (previous hotels we had stayed in faced a hotel hallway). I could tell he didn't feel safe. He checked and double checked the locks many times and finally pushed a chair and table up against the door. He's done that many times here (he seems to be doing much better in our current room that is in the interior of the hotel). I can already see some food hoarding and food issues. The other night at dinner his meal was the last to come by several minutes. I could see the panic building that he wouldn't be fed. (I gave him my meal which he fortunately liked.) It breaks my heart to watch these things. I pray constantly for wisdom in parenting him.
Friday night I got a package with all my documents to be submitted to the USE. I knew inside was a copy of his abandonment decree that had been translated into English. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. I wanted so badly to know what had happened to him, yet didn't. I watched him sleep and looked at the scars on his scalp where the hair no longer grows, and the scar on his forehead, and a mark on the back of his neck that looks like a cigarette burn.
I finally opened the envelope. I first saw his original birth certificate with another woman's name listed under mother. I didn't realize how much it would bother me to see someone else's name where mine should be.
Then I started to read the abandonment decree with only the light from our silly Christmas lights. I had to hold the papers far from my face so my rain of tears wouldn't smear the ink on these documents. I won't share the details on my blog--it is Daniel's story to tell. But it helped me understand my son a bit better. It also helped me understand that Daniel has been given a second chance at having a mother--a role that previously was in his eyes synonymous with monster.
The days and months and years ahead may be challenging as he may test boundaries . . . and struggle to build trust . . . and try to understand unconditional love. But never have I been so grateful to be entrusted with such a job. Please keep praying us home!
More than lots,