So, lately I have been reading a book by Melissa Fay Greene titled 'There is No Me Without You'. Although I am less than halfway through this book, I am continuing to contemplate what the right age would be to adopt. The reason that I say "I" is because Alex hasn't read this book yet. I have mainly been summarizing it for him. So, in a state of deep thought, I am just going to say what is on my heart.
When applying for an adoption from Ethiopia, an infant is considered 0-24 months of age. So, you could be matched with a 5 week old or a 21 month old. With the agency we are going with, there is an internal preference form where you can be more specific on an age (0-12 months). However, the wait time can be longer when you are more specific in regards to age and gender. Since we are unable to pick the gender if it was our biological child, we have elected not to chose the gender.
I will admit that there is an element of being impatient. The thought of having to wait for an infant for approx. 18-24 months is like eternity to me. On the other hand, adopting a small child such as a 2-3 year old is roughly 6-8 months. We want to be open to what God has for us. But we also don't want us to take on more than what we can handle.
I have lots of questions zooming in and out of my brain. If we adopt a 2 year old, will they ever bond with us? Will they be too emotionally scarred to ever recover? Will this create too much turmoil in our family? Can I still rock my 2 year old to sleep at night? Will we be too heartbroken that we missed some of their "first moments"? How much has this child experienced and seen in his/her first few years of life? Do they remember their birth parents?
We want to be able to experience the same moments with this child as we have with our daughter. It's a privelage and something that we will forever carry in our hearts....such as the first day that our daughter said "Mama" and "Daddy". The first time she crawled. The first time she laughed and smiled at us. The quiet and intimate night time feedings.
But a 2-3 year old needs a home just as much as an infant does. Today I was sitting in the library waiting for my daughter to get done with her storytime group. I was reading "There is No Me Without You'. There was a section of this book that really touched my heart. Melissa(the author/journalist/adoptive mother of Ethiopian children) was in Ethiopia on a quest to find out more about a woman who has been taking orphans in to her home. Some may refer to this woman as a "Mother Teresa" figure.
Anyways, Melissa stepped outside of this woman's house and noticed a young girl who was playing. Here is how she describes that moment in the book:
"A pretty little girl caught my eye: she flounced about barefoot in gray sweatpants under a frilly, puffy pink dress and, on top of the dress, a too small boy's winter coat. I watched her seat herself upon a flat stone with her queenly petticoats arrayed around her. She showed great pride of ownership and was reaching around as best she could in her winter parka to smooth the stiff tulle. I saw her cast her soft eyes around to see if anyone was noticing how pretty she was today.
I noticed. I stepped over and stroked her warm little head, her hard, dried little braids, and murmered an incomprehensible compliment in English. I startled her, but then she understood: her lips turned down in a pleased, flustered smile.
I didn't know who took care of this little girl in pink-maybe a grandparent, maybe a not-so-much older sister or brother-but I saw that she remembered being mothered. A longtime orphan would not expect anyone to compliment her pretty dress."
In that very moment while sitting in the library reading this, my heart stopped when reading over and over again "she remembered being mothered". Will my Ethiopian miracle remember being mothered? Will they let ME be their mother?
Not all orphans grow up in an Orphanage. Some are raised by mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings. How will I ever replace the longing and remembrance that an older child will have of their life in Ethiopia and of their family?
THIS is the reason that we are trying to decide on an age range. EVERY child needs a home, regardless of the age. I have a peace knowing that God is in control. But we have to remind ourselves to be "open" to what God has for us.
Tomorrow we have our first meeting with the Social Worker. I wish that I could say that she could answer this for us. But she can't. This is an answer that only God can give us.
In closing, I have caught only a glimpse of 'There is No Me Without You'. However, I am finally coming to understand this more. But here is my question. Who is the "Me" and who is the "You"? Is there no "Me" without this "Child"? Or, Is there no "Child" without "Me"?