At the outset of this journey, like anyone, I was online searching for info on adoption; pretty much any info I could devour. Being this is a life altering decision, not only for M and I, but also for our future child or children, I was (and still am), info hungry. In my ravenous searching, I was finding a lot of information, but not a lot with Canadian content. I found the foremost Canadian adoption info sites, but they were just that. Info sites. I had read all the facts and figures, and was now looking for more on the personal side of adoption. I didn’t want the perfect family stories, or the full on horror stories, which were easy to find. I wanted the stories in between. The little-bit-of-everything, personal stories. The true face of adoption. I came across a few different websites, and was really excited to discover they had chat boards. Then I was not so excited when I found that the boards were not only limited, but virtually inactive. But then I came across another website that not only had great information, but also had a fairly active board. Of course I registered.
Now what does all this have to do with the universe you might ask? I’m getting to that; don’t rush me. This pre-amble will get you to the point, don’t worry. Geez, I would have thought by now you’d have figured out the word rush ceases to exist in the world of my blogosphere. 🙂 Anyhow, back to the pre-amble….
As I said, I had registered for an account so that I could lurk and hopefully get some insight into some personal stories about the trials and tribulations of adoption, from a Canadian perspective. For a little while, all I did was lurk. We were only in the starting phase of our journey, so I felt kind of funny posting amidst all these people whose process was well underway, or already complete. Only M and I knew we were adopting at that point, and I wanted to tell somebody, even if it was under the guise of a pseudonym. Plus I had a lot of questions. So I broke my silence and made my first post. At that point we were still weighing our options of public vs. private adoption. So I posted asking about people’s wait times with either type.
I received a lot of responses, but one stood out from all the rest. She shared her personal perspective in two lines. The rest of her reply was info on both the public and private scene in Ottawa. (Turned out we were in the same city.) I responded to everyone and posed a follow-up question. That same person answered again, and after some back and forth, sent me a private message. We went from private messages, to emails, to agreeing to meet for coffee in the span of a week after that initial post.
It took us a while to coordinate schedules, but we finally agreed to meet on a Sunday night at a Starbucks half way between her house and mine. When we first saw eachother, there were friendly hellos exchanged, and then that initial first meeting awkwardness as she ordered her coffee, while I waited on her, anxiously sipping mine. (I totally understood what online daters felt like!) We made our way to a table on the patio, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that “newness” melted away within five minutes. It’s so funny, because I don’t even remember any sort of casual conversation at the outset. We immediately launched into adoption talk and didn’t stray from it the whole evening. I say the whole evening because we met at 7pm, closed down the Starbucks (actually got kicked off the patio as they locked up the tables for the night), pretended like we were going to leave, and meandered toward our cars. But we kept talking, and decided to head over to a park bench (where she endured an initial spray from the automatic sprinklers), and talked until 11, 11:30, or maybe midnight. I can’t honestly recall.
What I do recall, was feeling so appreciative that she was willing to be completely open with me about her experiences. I loved hearing her adoption story of how she and her husband found, fell in love with, fought for, and finally brought their beautiful son home. I was so grateful to have met someone who immediately made me feel like I could ask anything at all, and was more than willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, in an entirely open and honest dialogue. By the time we managed to peel ourselves off that bench (which may not have happened before dawn if it weren’t for husbands, and the threat of work in the morning), I felt as if I’d known her far beyond a few hours, and a handful of email exchanges.
I think she felt so familiar because I saw a lot of her in me and vice versa, but also because I saw the adoptive mom I hope to one day be. A mom who did whatever she had to do to find her way to her child. A mom who may not have liked everything she endured during those first days, but fought through it and came out the other side with a fiercer love for that child than she ever imagined. If I can be half the mom she is, my child will be pretty damn lucky.
So getting back to that whole universe bit… As I’ve said before, the universe definitely has thrown a lot of not so nice things my way. But every once in a while, it either musters up some guilt for the cruelty dished out, or maybe it just decides to take the day off. (More likely the latter.) Whatever the case, every once in a while, I catch a break. Sometimes it’s just a short reprieve, and other times, it’s a “How did I get so lucky?!” kinda moment. And she too, is more likely the latter.