Letter to Our Adopted Son
March 16, 2016
You’ve been in the U.S. and a U.S. citizen for four days now. We met you on February 29, 2016 and you became our legally adopted son on March 1, 2016.
I was so nervous the day of our first meeting that I made myself physically ill, not able to keep any food down. After a year of paper chasing, which seemed to have nothing to do with the reality of a little boy waiting in an orphanage for us, you were suddenly in our arms.
It was a surreal experience and we couldn’t really process that it was actually happening. You seemed so calm and didn’t cry, letting us hold you willingly.
But then night came, and you suddenly realized you were with two strangers you didn’t know, in a strange room, far away from everything and everyone familiar to you. And then you cried, and cried, all night long, even when we picked you up and held you. We didn’t get any sleep that night and the next day, your daddy and I were both sick with nerves and doubts.
Why did we think we could do this? We have no idea what we’re doing – we didn’t even know how to change a diaper. What if we did more harm to you than good? Had we made a mistake in taking on this huge responsibility?
All the books, videos and on-line classes we took talked about how the children would react but no one really talked about how the adoptive parents would feel – stressed, anxious beyond belief, sick to our stomachs with worry and doubt. I couldn’t eat all day and broke down and cried right along with you because I felt so sick and confused.
But then you finally slept that night, for 14 hours, and we all caught up on sleep and woke up feeling better. You started getting comfortable around us, clutching the snack cup we gave you as if it were a security blanket.
And then the bonding process began. You smiled at us. Then you laughed at us. And you reached for us for hugs and to be picked up. And slowly, the knots in our stomachs melted and our hearts opened.
We saw no evidence of the special needs label that was placed in your file. Yes, you were a lot smaller than we expected for a 3 and a half-year old (about the size of an 18 month old), but we could see you were a smart and loving little boy.
You took care of others, and fed the little girl who was in the same orphanage as you from your beloved snack cup.
You learned to text and walk.
You figured out where the money was and made off with my purse.
And you blossomed in the 2 weeks we were in China completing the paperwork for your adoption and visa to the U.S.
But our last night in Guangzhou, you became irritable and cried and whined more than you ever had, almost as if you knew this was your last night in China. For the first time since that first night, you cried inconsolably and wouldn’t go to sleep. Out of desperation, I opened my music on my iPhone and from the A’s selected Adele and played Hello for you. And you stopped crying. When you started again, I started singing along with Adele and you immediately stopped crying. Your daddy walked into our hotel room to find me belting out Hello at the top of my lungs (and I can’t sing to save my life), and you sleeping peacefully.
And from that night on, when you cried in your sleep, I played Hello and sang along and you quieted down. You even took the phone from me once and stared at Adele’s picture on my phone and gave it a kiss. I’m glad you have good taste in music (I love Adele), since I have now sang Hello about three hundred million times.
It’s been hard for you being in a new country in a new house. We’ve all been severely sleep deprived and unable to perform our normal everyday tasks, including responding to the outpouring of support and love from family and friends. At times we feel so overwhelmed that all we want to do is cry. Even Adele doesn’t seem to work at times. We’re learning to adjust to each other, and Pinot and Lokie have to deal with the new family member in our home.
Despite the incredibly hard time we are going through right now, we are also forming our own unique family and it has brought your daddy and I closer together. We hold each other for support when neither of us know what to do and we whisper together in bed, worried about you and if we are doing the right thing. We know we are making mistakes with you but we’re trying our best and hope you start to feel better in your new life soon.
And in the meantime, when you cry, I will just say to you –
Hello. It’s me.
Your mama and dada