January 25, 2011

Finding pieces of YOU... Part Two



You Will Never Be At Peace In Your Life Until You Find All Your Missing Pieces.


 (I have decided to document pieces of my life as an adoptive parent and as an adoptee.  These are my words and my heart and my experiences.  I record them here for my self and my children and for you if you can learn from them or are interested. If you do not agree with my experiences or my opinions you are entitled to your own pieces...  and opinions. ( I only ask that if you comment on these posts to do so with kindness.)




When we met our little daughter at the airport in Portland Oregon in 1986 we were so happy and excited!  The process of adopting her from Korea had only taken 9 months. But to us it was forever.  We had her picture for 3 months and looking at it every day on end we had fallen so deeply in love with her.  I had memorized her sad little face, imagined what her body would feel like when I finally got to hold her. All we wanted to do was get her home and make her happy.  I wanted to be able to see that sad little face smile.  Looking out her in this picture we felt that she was as much ours as if we had given birth to her.  And we had not even held her.  A picture... only a sad picture, but it had become her.  We knew her yet we did not...  We had read and re-read all the papers we had received from the agency about her history or what they knew of it.  Her life in her foster home and what her elderly foster parents had to say about her.  How they cared for her and what things they wanted us to know about this child they had cared for.  I did as much as I could to learn about life in Korea. How foster parents (grandparents) slept with the children, food she might like if I could ever learn to cook it. I learned why first parents had to make adoption plans for their children  (and that you were supposed to say it that way ... "a plan was made").  I worried about how she might be afraid of us. I made my self promise not to cry no matter what...   I would not scare my little one by being a crier when I first met her.

When we met our daughter we were all dressed up in our church clothes (not wanting the agency folks to think we were bums, I guess) Like our daughter would notice and be relieved at what nice dressed up people she had come to.   I felt like I was gonna be sick. I felt like I was in a daze...  We waited and waited and saw her plane land, then we waited for all the passengers on the flight to deplane...  About 200 of them!  We were with one other couple who was adopting a little 6 month old baby boy. Our daughter was 13 months old.  Many Korea passengers stopped after they had walked into the airport and stood around waiting for us to receive our children.  Obviously, these four terrified people waiting at the end of the walkway were the ones those babies, who had cried over the whole Pacific Ocean, had been brought from Korea for. And they wanted to stop and see just what would happen when we met them.  All I saw was my "girl" bundled up and red cheeked and her hair sticking up on the back of her head and she was waking up and looking around, like where am I now?   The Korean woman who had escorted her to us  stood in front of us and handed her to me... I held her.  She was so beautiful... the most delicate and beautiful face... her eyes were so big and her skin soft... I wanted to cuddle her next to me and snuggle her close,  And she was stiff as a board.  If you have never held a child who goes totally stiff when you try to hold them you do not know what I am talking about... Only adoptive parents can understand this...  

   I knew her but she did not know me....  All she knew is her world had changed...again.  What was going to happen to her now?... She was wet and hot and scared of these totally pale people.  I knew she thought,"You go to sleep and you are in danger of loosing your world.  No one could be trusted evidently... where was the woman who had taken care of her on the plane?  Oh, there she was next to the pale scary looking one".  Her Korean escort kept telling me what a good girl this one was, how special, how precious, how she was better then all the other babies.  I remember thanking her for the care  she had given our daughter on the long flight...  We got pictures of her and her son who had made the trip with her.. 

   This beautiful one did not cry, not once... she was tired and confused  and scared but not one tear fell.  We took her to the babies room and changed her wet clothes and put on our clothes.  She let me care for her... she was numb... in shock.  I kissed her and hugged her and promised to protect her and make her life better.  I told her we loved her and would make her safe and happy...  She just looked at me with those beautiful big eyes...  

   Our first night together she slept between us and held onto my night gown front all night long... all night.  Her fist clenched tight... she was trying to keep what she knew... cause if you sleep your whole world can change...   I watched her most of the night...  I felt total wonder and love for her.  I would protect her against any thing that might ever hurt her.   But as I drifted off I felt the weight of the world on me...  I remembered what Harry Holt had said once, "Who will answer for this child?"   When you adopt a child... you answer... you say,"I will" ...  And it is a great and and at times a terrifying responsibility to answer for....


    


part three soon...

1 comment:

Aus said...

Are you sure you aren't talking about our Korean adoption? I remember Boo being handed to us and man - the fear - but no tears. She quickly fell asleep and we started the drive for home, Marie in the back seat with her, me driving. After an hour or so I heard Boo 'beep' - and kind of said to Marie "This is when the crying starts" as I braced myself for 5 hours driving with a screaming child.....Marie's comment was "No - that was a laugh and a smile"....and we never looked back again....it's been all good!

Hugs - aus and co.