Earlier this week, we received notice of final court approval to adopt our son. As far as approvals go–and there have been many, including provisional and initial –this is the end of the road. This approval means our son is ours. Finally. It means his birth family has been given the opportunity to assert parental rights and has elected not to do so. It means we are fit to be parents. It means the only thing left to do is to take physical custody of our son. Finally.
Russell and I discussed adopting children during our courtship. Talking about doing something is wholly different than actually doing it, obviously. For me, the adoption journey began in 1972 when my parents decided to adopt me from Korea, and a few years later, adopted my brother. For me, adopting a child from Korea seemed a given. It is what I know. It is what I understand. It is an act of generosity for which I am deeply grateful. It is love.
For our family, the addition of our son started in earnest in the Fall of 2015. A flurry of e-mails and telephone calls were sent to adoption agencies throughout the United States. The response? Mostly silence. As a family living outside of the United States, our communications either remained unanswered or received a terse response beginning with, “I’m sorry . . . .” One adoption agency told us to contact upon returning to the United States to start the process; another suggested we adopt a child from Japan.
But AAC, based out of Colorado, took the time to ask the question, “Is it possible for a U.S. military family living abroad to adopt a child from Korea?” It asked it of the adoption agency it works with in Korea, which, in turn asked the government of Korea, all without our knowledge.
It was, I am certain, meant to be. It has been a long, patience-trying path. And now, despite final approval, the process continues to seem never-ending. For while we have our approval, a combination of our orders and travel plans, have resulted in our welcoming our son into our family next month, just a few weeks away. My heart aches the way few parents are able to understand. We spent time with him. We played with him. And then we left him, without ceremony or a proper goodbye and without his understanding that we would be back for him.
Since [S]’s birth, this is the first time I recall taking comfort in the fact that time marches on, passing far too quickly.