We were going around the room, everyone saying their name and something about themselves, how long they had been a part of the organization. I was there as facilitator, and so as the only real newbie in the room I gave my little spiel about myself. I always include something personal, something to let the folks in the room feel a little closer to me. These days, it's usually this "I've been married to my husband Andrew for almost four years and we're in the process of adopting our first child." Folks smile, nod. Occasionally a slight shadow crosses someone's face, curiosity probably, because I don't offer more than that. It's natural for folks to be curious but I figure hey - if I were to announce that I were pregnant with our first child I doubt anyone would ask for details on how that all came about.
So this time, today, as we went around the room each person said something about how many kids he or she had. Most of this group were retirees, kids grown and grandchildren counted off with pride. A couple young moms, with kids at home, one man whose children were almost out of the house. About half way through an older man with a snow white Santa beard and jolly gleam in his eye told a little about how he came to be in our group. Then he looked right at me and said rather gruffly, "my oldest's adopted. He's from _______, which is the only time I've ever been there - to pick up a child!" He looked thoughtful for a moment. "I've never regretted it. I've got two grandkids from him..."his voice trailed off and for a moment I wondered if he was getting a little misty around the eyes. "I have never regretted it."
I spent a truly wonderful day with these people, exploring and learning about many things. But that one little moment is the one I'm carrying with me tonight, turning it over and over like a small shiny present. I feel so impatient sometimes to get started, to meet my child and get going already on this project of parenting and being family. What we are doing has to be so different than what that bearded gentleman experienced forty years ago meeting his son - adoptions back then were not open, the rules and norms were dramatically different than they are now, the stigmas around adopted children much bigger. But in the important ways we resonate. It's good for me to have a reminder that ultimately these slow forever-long months now will be a distant memory, sweet in some ways, when I tell the story of our family to others. The goal is to be able, forty years from now, to look with confidence into younger eyes and tell our story with misty eyes and a loving smile, and no regret.