Sometimes we try to over articulate our experiences, focusing so much on fancifying our words and drowning ourselves in detail that we lose sight of the big picture. It’s those moments that remind me that I just need to tap into a child’s mind for wisdom, strength, and simplicity. My son, Crawford, has been the go-to-guy for this, and he never fails me. I had the opportunity to meet with his teacher today before leaving for our trip, and this is what I found near the end of his class journal. Tears overwhelmed me, and I thought, “He is ready…. He is ready to take this journey and meet his little brother!” And what a wonderful and gentle big brother Crawford will be for sweet Roman. So, Crawford, baby, that’s just what we’re doing….we’re going on an airplane to Ukraine, and we’re going to get Roman!!!
What a journey this has been! What started us on this path you ask? Well, there are many experiences along life’s way that have led us to this wonderful place. Most of our friends know we’ve had the desire to adopt for several years and probably made a couple of eye rolls when we would mention it for the umpteenth time in wonder of when we’d actually go through with it, but we knew the right moment would come. So, let me give you a little background. I am a speech-language pathologist and have the honor of working at an incredible pediatric therapy clinic with excellent colleagues made up of speech, occupational, and physical therapists. Every year, our clinic sends a team of therapists to Ukraine and Guatemala to assist children with different needs. They help their families as well as visit orphanages to equip staff with therapeutic strategies. It’s always wonderful to hear all of the amazing stories and how, with each year, there’s more positive change. Following last year’s trip to Ukraine in October of 2011, a colleague shared with me a particularly touching story. She told me that she fell in love with a little boy in one of the orphanages named Roma. She described his sweet disposition and big brown eyes, and then said that she and her husband had discussed the possibility of adopting him in great length. They were newly weds and decided the timing just wasn’t right for them. She was tearful and hoped that another family would seek to adopt him. Everything she said after that is a little foggy, not because I wasn’t paying attention, but because I knew instantly that our “moment” had arrived. I expressed interest at that time and went home to discuss it with Dustin. Not much deliberation was needed. We were adopting that boy! ……..and oh, he has a little brother! Whoa……not ready for that one. Okay, we are adopting two boys! I’ll explain that one later.
So the adoption process took off rather quickly and smoothly from the beginning until we were confronted with some definite adoption hardships. So, long story short, it’s been a tumultuous journey among other life changes – making it a difficult year of growth for our family. We have undergone this unwanted metamorphosis over the last several months that has forced us to endure some painful realities, but what awaited on the other side of that pain was much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I don’t think I’m alone in fearing change. I see it everywhere……one can only resist it for so long before growth must happen. And you can either embrace it or choose to be stunted for a little while longer until you’re yanked out of your comfort bubble. Much like going in for a dental filling, you can make it fun and get the headphones and gas (I highly recommend – it’s truly good fun!), or you can put it off and later enjoy the adventures of a root canal or even better, get your toofy pulled. I’ve heard and read a lot lately that in order to grow, you have to experience a little pain. One of my favorite authors, Jean Vanier, (can’t find the exact quote) mentioned that before change, there is chaos. I never realized how true these words were until this year.
He knows nothing of us, yet we long and yearn for the day we get to meet him. It seems so many of my friends and colleagues will have gotten to snuggle him and meet him before we have. Yet we couldn’t be more grateful to those who have sent us invaluable notes, pictures, and video footage of him as we will get to file these away as our earliest memories of him. Some of the words that have been spoken about sweet Roman have been that he’s sweet, precious, introspective, quiet, and easy-going. He has these beautiful dark brown eyes with dark brunette hair and a dimple that subtly emerges with each little grin. We cried tears of crazy joy the first time we got to hear him giggle in a video. Even from such a great distance, a boy we’ve never met is so greatly loved and cherished. After having bore a child of my own, I akin the feeling to a pregnant mother’s growing love for her unborn child…..heart beating, feet kicking, baby hiccuping. These are the only things she knows of her baby, but her love for him is unwavering. I’ll even throw a little Palin out there and venture to say one grows Mama Bear instincts. So, Roman, while you play in your orphanage today, while you eat your Ukrainian soup and tuck yourself into your bed tonight, you have a mother, father, and big brother who will wait a few more days to finally embrace you, a few more days to let you know that we’ve been yours all this time. It just took something bigger than ourselves to bring us together!
See you on the other side of the world my friends!!