Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There's something about Starbucks

One year ago I was sad and certain that Christmas would be spent again dreaming of a faceless boy who would lay in in the empty bed in the prepared room across the hall.  I resigned to buying a small token of Christmas to recognize the significance of the season without resenting the hauling out and putting away of totes full of festive decorations.  I spent the evening quietly stringing popcorn alone to adorn the tiny branches of my tiny little potted evergreen.  I dreaded each call to my agency to get no update at all and always hung up the phone feeling empty... until today. 
One year ago I took the required deep breath and dialed my agency again looking for guidance and answers to the then pipe dream of "what if" a referral came at our Christmas.  Who would be in the office to pass this on to my provincial director who was authorized to advise me that I had a referral?  I was assured that my agency would pass the information along but told to phone the director at the government to find out their Vacation protocol.  It was about noon and begrudgingly I called her.  I began some scripted rant explaining that Russia runs on the Orthodox calendar and that it could happen... a referral on Dec 25th while we are all enjoying turkey with our families.  She patiently waited for me to take a breath and interjected, "I hope that isn't an issue for you since I'm looking at your referral on my desk".  I was speechless.  We all wait for "THE CALL" and it turns out I had accidentally made it.  It was Monday and they had received the file at end of day on Thursday but were waiting for more info and photos.  I remember where I was - main drag of our city with a population of 1million plus and a semi truck behind me on snowy Canadian roads.  I hung a sharp right with a brief lip service to my turn signal, cut said semi truck off and 2 wheeled it into the conveniently located Starbucks parking lot.  Wifi is free and I was alone and numb.  In the world of IA from Russia on the FRUA board "going to Starbucks" is synonymous with getting "the call".  How apropos that I found myself in their parking lot again?  This time there would be no call to friends or family... I needed to process this info on my own and after falling head over heels for my first referral, I was scared - no terrified of what if I have to say no again?  I cautiously connected and hit receive about a dozen times waiting for a short medical and this...
I didn't know how to feel.  I had my checklist in hand and growth chart beside me in a file.  Current stats great... 30% height & weight, HC fantastic 80+ percentile, Apgar 9 /10... Philtrum - check, lip - check, eyes not too far apart and not too small  - check, no cupped ears - check, no funny bushy "clown" eyebrows - check (all in the rambling research I'd done on FAS facial features - by no means scientific... just what I was ready to look for)... still numb. One black and white photo I'd reviewed before on the data base on my regular perusals.  One sad looking little boy with tears in his eyes (perhaps because his pants were pulled up to his armpits?) that I later learned had arrived at the orphanage for the first time earlier that day to have his mug shot taken and the look on his face is one of confusion, sadness, fear, hunger and grief.  I honestly couldn't even feel anything - not is he cute? Not what do I think? Not a single thing other than I need to wait for more information and I'd better call Dr. Bledsoe.  On the road 2 days later after getting comfortable with the fact that I'd travel mid January if I accepted ( it was Wednesday at about 10 am)  I received a call indicating that the additional photos had been sent and was asked if I could travel before the end of the year.  It was Dec. 16th... I'd need to be on a plane in a week with a processed travel visa.  My head spun as I again made arrangements to Wifi at Starbucks, this time with my Mom to review the additional info.  I opened these photos and in all honesty... still felt numb and scared. 
There was no elation, there was no relief... there was no OMG!!! this is it!!! I was so afraid of feeling hope and excitement... afraid of feeling anything.  But, for the very first time I allowed some Merry into my Christmas and allowed myself a glimmer of "what if?".  I remember that I had the Mariah Carey song "All I want for Christmas is You" on my blog at the time... and there you were, at Starbucks staring back at me.  A year ago today, our lives together began.  2 days later after a resounding "Go Get him" from Dr. Bledsoe, on the 16th I said my first big DA! and the wheels began turning to bring you home forever.  I will never forget the words that Dr. Bledsoe said over and over, "Stacey, there is something in his eyes... he's a RESILIENT LITTLE RASCAL..." over and over "RESILIENT LITTLE RASCAL" he will adapt, adjust and he will make it... some kids have it and some don't - I don't think I'm wrong about him... it's there for sure... Well, she couldn't be more right.  I am blessed every day with a child who never missed a beat in adapting to me or his new world.  I can't say that there are (or even were?) any "orphanage behaviors" or lingering adjustment at all - he just never looked back. 
A lot has happened in one year.  Today we will visit Santa for your very first picture on his lap, do some more skiing, and ceremoniously I'll wrap your very first Christmas gifts and lovingly place them under OUR tree... because forever, this day will be reserved as the day my tree was full up with forever... it became full up with the best gift I will ever receive... it is full up with the gift of you. 


Wendi and Terry said...

What a lovely post! We were almost on the same timeline last year - got our referral on Dec. 13 but didn't travel until Jan. 13. Isn't Christmas amazing through the eyes of a child? Enjoy every minute.

Tracey and Chuck said...

So exciting that a year has passed and Corbin is such a perfect little boy! That is funny that you called your agency and they gave you the news....the same exact happen with us! I called our agency and was going on and on about this paperwork, that paperwork and when I was finished, she said....I have a referral for you but all I have is a picture and no other info you want to see the picture??? Deep breathe....Yes we do, and it was love at 1st sight!! Wishing you and Corbin the most wonderful Christmas ever!!!!

Amy and Corey said...

If you aren't already a writer, you really should be. Your posts are always so beautiful! We just got back from meeting our son for the first time last week. This will be our last quiet Christmas.

Merry Christmas!! It sounds like Santa already brought you the best gift of all.