Our bags are packed. The number of gifts carefully tucked away between clothes is too numerous to recall. A gift for the translator. A gift for the executive team. A gift for the social worker. Ties have been painstakingly chosen and high heel shoes have made their way into shoe bags. A few items remain outstanding. Toiletries, of course. Dresses. And a couple of pairs of footwear. (I can’t help it.) At once, I’m exhausted and excited. I’m hopeful that sleep will come tonight.
This week, I’ve found myself lying awake staring at the clock in the early hours of the morning far more often than I would like. If all goes as planned, tomorrow we will board a flight to Seoul. The purpose of trip is personal, but it’s also business. We will meet our son for the first time. Our initial meeting will be for an hour. Just one hour. The following afternoon, we will meet with him, again, also for an hour. On Friday, we will appear before a judge who will decide, definitively, whether our family of three will become a family of four.
When we began this path, the 18- to 24-month timeline seemed incredible. And, yes, it is a long time to wait for someone–anyone–you love. But the process has also allowed our family time to prepare. We’ve prepared [S] as much as possible. She knows his names (both English and Korean). She can speak a few key Korean words. She knows her baby brother is no longer a baby.
Despite the time, I’m not sure how much Russell and I have prepared for meeting our son. In many ways, I suspect it will be like giving birth. I knew I loved my daughter before she was born. But it wasn’t until after she was born that the emotions flowed freely. There were tears of joy. There were hints of sadness. There was fear. But, by far, the overwhelming emotion I felt was love. It was raw. It was real. And it was awesome in its scope.
I know that I’m not the first adoptive parent to wonder how the first meeting with his or her to-be-child will progress. Will I be liked? Will I be shunned? Will I make a fool of myself? Will I get a smile. Will there be a bond? Knowing children, I take great comfort that I will not be alone. [S] is sure to be hit, as is my Husband. But I take greater comfort knowing that our initial meeting is but the beginning of our journey together.