By the end of today, the house must be in such a state that when we return, we can simply pick up the boxes and move, as well as provide some comfort and functionality for the friend of Keith's who will be dog sitting for us over the weekend.
Our suitcases must be in such a state that we can dress to just the right impression over the weekend and then live out of them until that indefinitely point when we are settled in the new house.
Most of all, I must be in such a state that, after we have gotten up at five o'clock tomorrow morning and driven for half the day, I can meet two people who have changed our life, and who will become a part of our family.
Frankly, I have little idea how any of this will be accomplished- though sitting here writing an unnecessary blog while still in my pajamas is probably not the most effective beginning.
Sometimes I think about the future. For a moment, I consider how it might feel to be moved in, to have a daughter at home- and it will be autumn, and everything will be blurred by exhaustion and relief. Then I will have to figure out who I am all over again, because I won't be the same and I won't ever be.
Right now, though I just have a headache.
We talked with our adoption specialist yesterday afternoon, in between packing the master bedroom and the army gear closet, which, unpacked, expands outward into approximately sixteen thousand square feet of camo colored clutter. If I nag him, Keith will part with about 1.3 percent of it and consider that a job well done. The rest of it he insists we need in case of world war III or if we take up hunting as a hobby.
Anyway. We were talking to the adoption specialist and she said that we had built a really wonderful relationship with the birth family- that they thought of us almost as mentors, people that they looked up to and that were invested in their life.
We had no idea they felt this way. Just at every turn, we thought about how we could reassure, comfort and validate these two people who, we knew, must be going through hell. Their lives have backed them up into a corner- where their few choices include pain and difficulty, and require incredible courage and love.
So we included them wherever we could, in whatever we could, weaving them into our hopes for this baby. We did this by naming her together, by sending our full names- by validating, at every step, their real and loving and important connection to this baby.
The questions they have been asking- sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken- are, will they love this baby as much as we do? Will they include us in her life as it unfolds? How will they talk about us, when she asks about us? How will she think about us, when she thinks about her adoption? Will she know that we love her?
These are gut level, defining questions, and we must be giving them the right answers, though it has not always been easy.
Our birthmother recently was able to buy a small heart necklace for Baby. It's made up of three parts, one part for her, one part for Baby and one for Baby's big sister; those three parts come together to form the one heart.
When she first told me about this, I swallowed hard and put my feelings firmly aside. I told her it was a beautiful idea and that it would be Baby's first piece of jewelry and one that would always hold so much love and meaning for her.
In return, I am getting our birthmother a heart necklace set with their three birthstones, so Baby and her birthmother can have matching jewelry pieces. I can't order it yet, though, because no one is quite sure in what month Baby will end up arriving.
"We'll bring it with us Saturday, so you'll be able to see it," our birth mother wrote last night. "Then when Baby is born, you can take her piece home with her in your arms."
I think that one phrase must contain the heart of adoption right there; when I take this tiny girl in my arms, I will be holding not just my heart, but her birthmother's heart. I will never forget this. That is the kind of love that weaves two families together for the sake of one tiny person.