On our way back from the Katy Perry concert, I was thinking about how many wonderful memories I have been making lately with Miss 14. It set me to recalling some of the memories I have of her that she doesn't share, stuff from when she was little.
So this entry comes with a self-indulgence warning.
We were only ever going to adopt one child. Our age, our depleted savings, the amount of space in the house, the fact that we worked miles apart but still only had one car, the sheer logistics of three kids: there was no shortage of “logical reasons” to stop after one. But a universe lies between love and logic. And it wasn’t long after Boychild had entered our lives that I found myself exploring that logicless universe of the heart.
Yes, we were both already over 40, but didn’t that mean that Boychild would be without parents when he was relatively young? Surely that was a reason why he needed another sibling close to his own age. Because, yes, there is a fourteen-year difference between Number One Son and Boychild, so the time-space between the oldest and the youngest would be even greater. But the boys’ relationship was wonderful. There were no grounds for believing that another child would be any different. Yes, my home office would have to be converted into a bedroom. So what? Yes, we only had one car. Big deal. And as to coping with three kids… who could say?
Well, to tell you the truth, I felt as if we had two only-children. The family didn’t feel complete. There was a hole, something missing from our universe, a gap in our galaxy.
So, on January 27th 2001, there I was on a plane to Korea; broke, 42 years old and very excited about the prospect of meeting our 5-month-old daughter. For a number of reasons, I was travelling alone and my stay would be only a short one, but it was every bit as magical as I’d hoped, plus some. Plus a whole world.
Like her brother’s, our new baby’s foster mother had looked solemn and grim in the allocation photos we received. But when she hurried in out of the gently falling snow for that first meeting in Seoul, her warmth-generating smile said otherwise. She was an experienced foster mother. For ten years she had been loving other people’s babies, and I hoped upon hope that her calm nature would be reflected in our daughter’s demeanor.
I was expecting a serious, red-faced infant sporting a thick black mane and an attitude that spoke of grim determination —for that’s what I’d read into Girlchild’s allocation photo. When a cherubic visage framed by a halo of fine hair popped out from beneath her foster mother’s heavy overcoat, I shrieked with delight and wonder.
With Boychild, I had been hesitant about taking the baby from his foster mother, unsure of protocol, nervous about my new mothering role. Not so with Girlchild. Propelled by a power surge of joy, love, relief, delight and gratitude, I swooped on that precious poppet. My tears fell as surely as the snow beyond the windows.
It was a fairy tale white world, a scene befitting our Korean Princess.
Our bright new star.