Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Postcards From Korea: Translated

So, my father-in-law did a cool thing. Here's the story.

Matthew's foster mom sent him to us with an awesome photo album containing pictures of him from the time he was born up until the day he left Holt (our agency) to travel to us. The very last page contains four photo-postcards, each one handwritten by a member of Matthew's foster family (the mom, the dad, and each of the two brothers). They were written in Korean (Hangeul), so I had no idea what they said, but clearly, they were good-bye messages. I cried when I saw them (even though I didn't know what they said, exactly).

My father-in-law, Ray, asked me if he could bring a photocopy of the four postcards to his barber. She happens to be Korean, and he's kept her in the loop over the months. We agreed that this would be a great idea (we wanted to do it anyway; Lord knows when we would have gotten to it ourselves!), and he took the photocopies to her to get translated.

All I have to say is, Oh my God.

Ray called on a Tuesday night and asked me if I was sitting down. I said yes. He said, "Open your e-mail. I sent you an attachment with the translation of each family member's sentiments."

I won't tell you exactly what they said; that is Matthew's information to share as he wishes when he grows old enough. But I will tell you that the messages were the most loving, warm messages...they seem like the nicest family, and I hope that we will someday meet them and arrange a reunion between Matthew and them. The messages were things like "Grow up good in America." "Go to school." "Be a good boy." "We love you." "Maybe you can come visit us someday."

I cried for four hours that night.

It gave me a renewed perspective on things...from the foster mother's viewpoint. It must have been so hard to say good-bye to him after taking care of him for six months! She and her family truly loved him like a son. He wasn't just a "charge" to her...he was hers for 6 months. It really helped me understand the deep level of grieving that he went through in those first few weeks. And why.

We plan to take several trips to Korea during Matthew's growing-up years. There are entire companies that run trips known as "homeland tours" specifically for adopted kids and their parents...they help you look up birthparents, foster families, any orphanages the child may have lived in (although this is moot in Korea, as all children are in one-on-one foster care), etc. All the friends who have taken homeland tours with their children have absolutely raved about their trips...the emotional intensity, the powerful feelings elicited in all parties, the sense of closure for many adoptees, and of course the sheer fun of the trip (bonding with other adoptive families). And the amazingly beautiful country that Korea is.

And yes, we plan on staying in touch with, and eventually meeting, this wonderful foster family of his, particularly his foster mom. I am in the process of writing my first letter to her. I keep starting it and restarting it, wondering how on earth to put into words the incredible feelings of gratefulness and joy that live inside of me as I reflect on the enormity of what she did for our little boy.

What a reunion that will be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Matthew Day Part 3

So, there we were in the hotel lobby, sitting around in various hotel-looking chairs and couches, watching Animal Planet and checking Matthew's flight status via Jeff's dad's laptop. Kyla and Steve and Jack arrived, followed 5 minutes later by...SURPRISE! sister Ann Marie. They wanted to keep it a surprise! I was freaking out and crying and laughing and hugging her so hard. I was SO HAPPY she was there to experience this moment with us! We were laughing because all along while they were driving down, I was calling/texting Steve, then calling/texting her, when the whole time, they were in the same car together! At one point, when I was telling Steve the address of the hotel, he said, "Hold on, I have to get a pen. Am...I mean you have a pen?" But I didn't even notice his slip-up! Another time, I asked him what road he was on, and then I was confused about why he was on that particular road if he was coming from NJ. He did a good job of bullshitting his way through an that I actually bought!

We left for the airport shortly thereafter. We didn't have anything better to do; might as well settle in and stake our claim to the seats that were as close as possible to the doorway they'd come through! John and Donna met us there and videotaped the entire experience...thank goodness for that videotape. It's something I will always cherish. Even though Kyla did a phenomenal job getting 152 super-awesome photos that really captured the moments leading up to Matthew, the moment we met him, and our departure with him in tow...and everything in between!

I was so nervous, I started feeling ill. Especially the last half-hour or so before he was due to arrive. In one of the pictures, my mother-in-law Peg is sitting next to me rubbing my head and my back. (I did end up getting a bad cold for the first 10 days Matthew was home, starting at that moment, pretty much!) John videotaped us meeting with Margie to do the agency paperwork (this was well before Matthew arrived). He taped that moment that both of us signed the adoption decree, which states that we are authorized representatives of Catholic Charities and that Matthew is a ward of Catholic Charities (they are his legal guardian), and as such, we have the power to make all decisions regarding Matthew (medical and otherwise). We have been advised to photocopy this document and carry it with us wherever we go (typically people just stick it in the diaper bag), in case we have to "prove" that Matthew is indeed ours (it's complicated because legally, we are not yet his parents...we are acting as his "guardians" on behalf of Catholic Charities). So that moment of signing the paperwork was a pretty big deal.

And even though the government may not recognize us as his official parents yet, in our eyes, he's already ours! Six months from Matthew Day, we will be able to have a formalization hearing that deems him legally our son according to the good old U.S. of A.

But enough of all that. Back to the good stuff.

The plane arrived at about 11:30, and we anxiously watched as people streamed down that ramp and through those double-doors. There was one wave of people (with a disappointing realization that the boys were not among these people!), then another, and then another. That final third wave of people included our boys and their wonderful escorts, Mr. Kim and Ms. Park (a married couple). I remember seeing Matthew for the first time...I was crying and smiling and had my hands to my mouth in disbelief that this moment was finally happening. Our son was finally HOME! And he had a big crowd of well-wishers (complete with Ava's big orange "WELCOME MATTHEW" sign!) to welcome him. Most of whom were crying as hard as I was.

I knew which kid he was (the bigger one! ha ha!). Margie walked over to the escorts and put her finger over Matthew's head and was pointing at him, saying, "This is Matthew. Kathleen and Jeff, this is your son!" But I already knew from the photos we had received. We have that first moment we saw him preserved in a photo (thanks, Kyla!)...the very first time we saw our son. The emotions are very difficult to describe, so I'll leave it at that.

Then came "the transfer." Matthew was stuck to Mr. Kim like glue and was unwilling to let go. I had to peel him off Mr. Kim and then took him into my arms. Matthew was crying and was definitely out of sorts. But oh so cute! He immediately found his thumb and then settled for a while, looking around at all the action and wondering "what the heck is all this commotion about? And why are these darn lights so bright?" He cried on and off the entire time (we lingered for about an hour before we left for our car). The other little boy, Aaron, was quiet as a mouse and looked very calm. But Jeff and I were able to empathize with what he must have been going through, so we didn't take offense that he didn't seem thrilled to see us and didn't necessarily want to go to us (and where did that nice Mr. Kim guy go, anyway, Matthew probably wondered). Whenever Matthew really revved up, I'd move him physically away from the crowd, patting his bottom and "ssshhhh"ing him and stroking his amazingly thick (almost adult-like!) hair. He has so much of it! Oh, and he seriously had about five layers of pajamas/clothing on; my mom recommended removing some of them, that maybe he was so fussy b/c he was hot. Sure enough, we peeled them off of him; he was all sweaty. Margie tells us that the Korean people like to bundle their babies up in several layers, routinely (not just for long plane rides)!

Mr. Kim spoke limited English and was able to tell me the last time Matthew had the bottle, how much he had, etc. I kept repeating to Mr. Kim "com-som-ee-dah" (my attempted phonetic version of "thank you" in Korean). I even hugged him, which I'm not sure was culturally appropriate to do or not but I simply couldn't resist. Mr. Kim and Ms. Park told us "Merry Christmas" and, after receiving the gifts we had brought for them, hugged the babies good-bye and went on to book a connecting flight (with the help of my father-in-law, Ray). (I got Mr. Kim a huge chocolate bar that said "Nothing says thank you like chocolate!" and an assortment of coffees/teas.) Our friend Jungwon (the other new mom who was there with her husband, also named Jeff, to meet their son Aaron (Matthew's travel buddy) translated for them, so they could hold a conversation with Ray and he could help them figure out all of this flight rebooking. They seemed like such nice people, and I was so happy that Matthew was in their care during his long trip to America. I was hoping that the rest of their trip would work out OK despite all of these delays.

At one point, Matthew got really fussy and I transferred him to Jeff's arms. He really took to this (maybe because he traveled with a man all the way over here!) and seemed to calm a little. Then I had him playing with the pendant I had around my neck (my friend Debby made it for me and it contains a photo of Matthew enclosed in a see through circular piece of glass). He really loved that.

After more photos and some final video moments, we prepared Matthew for the walk to the car. We departed the airport about 1 a.m. We said good-bye to my family, who we wouldn't see again for several weeks. Steve, Kyla, Jack, and my sister were heading right back--driving first to PA, to drop off my sister, then onto NJ and home sweet home--they left at 1 a.m., made it to PA by 5 a.m., then made it home to NJ by about AWESOME is my family????!! I will never, ever forget what they did; it meant so much to me.

We put his jacket on (that was interesting...the first of so many wrestling matches to come!) and put the hood up, and Jeff carried him all the way out to the car (we were unwilling to put him in the stroller just yet, as he clearly needed human contact during this transitional time). As I walked slightly behind Jeff, I couldn't help but think how adorable he looked...his little head bobbing on his daddy's shoulder, hood covering him. The stroller carried all of our crap, so it was still put to good use (shout-out here to the original chariot-owners, Kellie, Reed, Calvin, and Nolan).

And then we got to experience putting him into the carseat for the first time. Ever. I don't mean "the first time in a carseat in America." I mean, "the first time in a carseat...ever." The Koreans apparently do not use carseats! Oh, he SCREAMED! It was so comical--Jeff, Jason, and a few others, trying to adjust the seat so that it fit well to Matthew's physique. Kyla has the pictures to prove it...even though it wasn't as funny at the time! But as soon as the car started moving, he calmed down (to this day, he does well in the car).

We gave him the bottle in the car, and he loved it and it calmed him right down. He fell asleep before it was done. He slept the ENTIRE car ride home. We carried him straight up to the nursery. We had put a twin size air mattress on the floor next to his crib, so Jeff and he slept there for several hours. Although we had two, maybe three, somewhat "trying" days getting him used to sleeping in the crib, we did successfully transition him to crib sleeping very quickly. And he did well with transitioning to our time zone and to his new schedule. Within a week, we had him on schedule and sleeping through the night.

And he's been sleeping well ever since!

It was such an incredible experience. Every minute, every moment, is carved into my brain. All of it: The looks on people's faces, the tears streaming down my sister's and sister-in-law's faces, the loving comments people made, Ava's big orange sign, the coffee runs (especially for the NJ/PA family members!) at the airport, friends who sacrificed their work nights/school nights to videotape Matthew's arrival at oh-dark-hundred hours on a Monday night, family members who drove pretty much all day and night (round trip) to be here with us but still get back to their busy lives, Kyla taking a billion pictures of the "Arrivals" board to show that magic Flight 100 from San Fran, my mother saying over and over "he's such a miracle," and the list goes on. The outpouring of love and support, and the resulting emotions and deep sense of gratefulness that we feel, can never be adequately described in words, but here, I humbly try.

I, and the mother I have become, will never, ever forget that day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Matthew Day Part 2

So, where were we? We were four hours away from getting Matthew. It was 4:00 p.m., and the sun was setting over the Holiday Inn Dulles. I waxed poetic about the sunset. Yes, now I remember.

As we were checking in, we got a phone call from our caseworker, Margie, with an update on the boys (remember that Matthew and his little friend Aaron were being escorted by a husband and wife who were traveling ultimately to NJ to visit their son, who lives in the states). They had landed safely in San Francisco. Both babies did wonderfully well on the flight...attentive, calm, and well-behaved. (I thanked God that the escorts had such a pleasant experience on that long portion of the trip!) They were met at the gate by an employee of Catholic Charities, a Sister Ellen, whose job it is to meet babies and their escorts at the gate in San Francisco and usher them through customs, give the babies over to a cadre of volunteer parents (who give the escorts a break and bring the babies to a quiet place in the airport to eat and nap). Apparently, Sister Ellen not only ushers them through the whole process but she gets on the plane that they are boarding and if they don't have an aisle seat, she approaches passengers and asks them if they would kindly switch seats to allow these people with babies to have an aisle seat just in case the baby gets fussy. (And as my caseworker put so well, "Who would say no to a nun?")

I was so relieved that such good care is taken of our children, even in this intermediate, "almost there" leg of the trip!

Both babies slept in San Francisco...they were sleeping when Margie called us, actually! Again, relief washed over me, knowing that our son was getting the sleep he was going to need for this trip, which takes a toll on bodies both big and small, adopted or not! It's a long and tiring journey.

However, there was a slight problem: Sister Ellen reported that the crew inspecting the plane found that it had mechanical troubles, so they were calling in another plane from Los Angeles airport. The plane hadn't even left L.A. yet! So, translated, this meant DELAY. Probably several hours. It turns out that the ground crew had actually fixed the mechanical problem and cleared it for takeoff. However, the pilot staunchly refused to fly this particular plane. He or she insisted that another plane be brought in from L.A. in the interest of passenger safety. I was impressed by that pilot, and we were no longer bothered by the delay!

Although it was fairly likely that they would get out of San Fran that evening, just in case, Sister Ellen called and booked the escorts and babies a flight for the next morning out of San Francisco. Bases were covered just in case.

And there was an additional problem: The escorts would now miss their connecting flight to JFK to meet their son. Their son was very worried about them and had been in contact with our agency. Margie asked that we appoint one of our family members to help the escorts get another flight to JFK, as they spoke only limited English. My father in law, Ray, agreed to do this (and he and Jeff's brother Jason did a great job of getting them where they needed to go, with the help of some airport personnel who they alerted to the problem before the plane even hit the ground).

I immediately called my brother on his cell phone (he was driving from NJ with his wife and youngest child Jack--Ava, their oldest, was staying home in NJ with her grandparents--again, the lengths that our loved ones went to be there with us were staggering, humbling, amazing). And then I called my sister, who wasn't going to be able to make it but she's the one who I always call to vent to, to keep in the loop, just because (I was disappointed she couldn't be there but I TOTALLY got it...she's got two little girls and both her and Brent work). It was just natural to call her and let her know what was going on. Plus she was dying to be there so I wanted to make her feel part of all this.

So in we went to the hotel to check in. Jeff ran out to the drugstore to buy me some saline and a contact lens case, just in case we needed to stay over (we'd share the room with my parents, or get another room and share it with my brother and Kyla...unknown at this point).

Already the adrenaline was pumping, and now I was not only nervous about meeting Matthew and the enormity of it all (including becoming a parent in public at a major suburban airport) but I was also nervous about the now-unknown, still-to-be-determined situation with Matthew's flight from San Fran.

They said they'd keep us in the loop. In the meantime, we had plenty of time to kill. No sense going to the airport when we didn't even know if their flight would be coming in that night. Off we went to the Irish pub in the Holiday Inn's lobby, for dinner. Nothing like nachos and burgers and beer to calm the nerves.

All along, Margie kept calling us and keeping us apprised of the situation. By about 6:00, she told us that they WOULD be coming in this evening, but it wouldn't be till about 11:30 p.m.

So back we went to the room. Which was small and was now attempting to accommodate seven people (me, Jeff, my mom, my dad, Jeff's mom, Jeff's dad, and Jeff's brother Jay). We decided to move the "waiting party" into the lobby where there were couches and chairs and tables and a TV. Jeff's dad was constantly monitoring the flight status--showing me the little plane icon indicating where exactly Matthew was at that moment. I can still see Jeff and Jay and Ray huddled around Ray's laptop, anxiously studying the flight information. So much love and anxiety for one little boy from Korea! We were so excited to have him finally coming home.

At this point, the only certain thing we knew was that Steve and Kyla and Jack were almost there. They had called to say they were really close and would be there in a couple of minutes. They hadn't yet decided if they would stay overnight or turn right around and make the trip back home.

I have to pause here...time for dinner. Matthew is sleeping peacefully, which means that Jeff and I get to enjoy our salmon, jasmine rice, and steamed green beans (and wine!) sans a crying child...ah, the little things...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Story of Matthew Day: December 14 (Part 1)

I have decided to tell the story of Matthew Day in several smaller parts, kind of like a serial publication or a multi-chapter novelette. So sit back and enjoy this first part of a series of, let's just say, several. I would say a nice, even three, but knowing me, it won't be nice, or even "even" or just "three"! I'm not sure how many parts this will truly be...reliving this day brings up such strong emotions--admittedly overpowering at times--so bear with me, and just enjoy these next couple of posts! Even now, I struggle at times to make sense of it all...even the most intense joy, the most incredible beauty, the most powerful dreams realized, and the firmest of fellowship can be fraught with complex and difficult-to-decipher emotions, feelings, and senses. I am feeling all of that as I write this, and as I struggle to sift through.this recounting of a moment that instantly made me and Jeff (we think) the luckiest people on the planet...and made Matthew the most beautiful baby in the world.

Matthew came on a Monday.

My parents drove down from PA on Sunday afternoon and stayed over our house just that one night (Sunday to Monday).

The night before he came home to us, I barely slept. How can you sleep when your life is about to change forever? Over the past several months, I had become accustomed to wandering ghostlike around our dark, quiet house at ridiculously late (or early!) hours while everyone else was sleeping soundly. I would read, do crossword puzzles, write in my journal or here in my blog, do Facebook, check email, create photo albums in Shutterfly, and on goes the list. My brain simply would not turn off at night. So, on the night of Sunday, December 13, 2009, I did it one last time. (Fast forward briefly here: I haven't had trouble sleeping since!)

And then, bam, the day was here. Cool and partly cloudy here in Maryland, a typical winter was hard to believe that our life was about to change forever. That we were about to become parents at last. That the dream we had held for so long (cheesy as it sounds) would finally come true. That we would drive to Dulles Airport as a couple--a family of 2--and drive away from Dulles as a trio--a family of 3. Baby in the backseat. Completely and utterly dependent Relying his every need? Part of me wanted to run away and hide. The other part wanted to jump into the sky to get him down to us all the quicker.

Yeah, the best word I can use to describe the day of December 14 would be surreal.

We wanted to keep things small, so we invited only family to come to the airport with us (except for our friends Donna, John, and Caitlyn, who agreed to serve as our photographers/videographers--Donna and John have adopted four children from Korea, all mostly grown now, and Caitlyn is their youngest--she is 14). We knew that the likelihood of ALL of our immediate family being able to make it was slim, with such short notice. Well, only a couple of people didn't make it (for perfectly good reasons); our family went WAY out of their way to be there for us and for Matthew. We were truly and deeply touched. More on that later, I promise. We have one INCREDIBLE family, that's all I'll say for now.

Per our agency's strong recommendation, we asked my family members (they are the out-of-towners; Jeff's family lives locally, in the Manassas, VA, area--very close to Dulles Airport) to book rooms at a nearby hotel on Monday night rather than staying with us. This was very, very difficult for us to do, knowing that my family members, in particular, were driving from 4 hours away (NJ and PA), with only 6 days' notice. And my brother and his wife with 3-month-old Jack in tow!

They were all taking time out from their busy lives--at the very last minute--to be with us on a very special day. It was asking a lot for them to be there, and then to tell them they couldn't stay with us was...well, just very hard. I felt like the coldest, most callous, most ungrateful person! And on top of that, our agency explained that no one should be holding, feeding, or changing Matthew but us. No passing him around from person to person at the airport. No crowding him, no cuddling him, no kissing him. He must start learning, immediately, who Mom and Dad are--and that we will never, ever go away. Keep the welcome wagon warm but calm. He's already going to be startled by the harsh lighting of the airport and the crowds and the busy-ness of it all.

I cannot even tell you how much all of this went against the person who I inherently am. Jeff, too. But we honored our agency's request, knowing that they have done this a million times and their advice really was in Matthew's best interests. We trusted them. My family was so respectful and kept a decent physical distance (but I know they were dying to squeeze him and kiss him, hold him and love him!). But wait a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself here...I'm going chronological, and so he's not even technically here yet!

Matthew's plane was scheduled to arrive at 8:11 p.m., so we left Olney (which is about an hour from Dulles without traffic) at about 3:00. My parents took pictures of us getting into the car, and of the four of us at the front door, Jeff and I embarking on our path to parenthood (scrambling to make sure we had everything we needed in the diaper bag!). After so much had gone wrong in our life during the past 3 difficult years, finally something was going right! Hope was no longer being yanked from under our feet just when we thought it was safe to exhale. It was Matthew's "gotcha day" (which we are calling Matthew Day from here on in)...and we were finally about to exhale.

My parents had booked a room at the Holiday Inn Dulles, and we pulled into the parking lot at about 4:00 or shortly thereafter. A brilliant sunset streaked the clouds blood red across the sky over top of the hotel's roof. Just your regular run-of-the-mill hotel, backed by one breathtaking display of beauty. How perfectly poised the irony! How cleverly captured the contrast: ordinary vs. extraordinary. A dance of two extremes, brought together. An ordinary day in Dulles, VA--but a far from ordinary day in the lives of two people from Olney, MD, and one little boy from Korea.
In just 4 hours, we would finally hold our son Matthew in our arms for the first time. It was surreal--for months, we had only five photos. The same five photos (as I've mentioned in previous posts) hanging throughout our house, in various frames, in varying sizes.

After months of having only photos, in just 4 hours, we would have HIM.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Raspberries Make the World Go 'Round

Sometimes when
life feels complicated
and I feel like I am not enough
all I have to do is watch my son
making raspberries with his rosy lips
and over
and over
and I remember
to savor the sweetness
to enjoy
the tiniest moments
in time
that connect
one by one by one
and eventually add up
to a long

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Good Stuff

Today, I fell
in love with a fabulous little fellow.
His name is Matthew, and he is my son.
I have loved him and felt love FOR him from the moment I laid eyes on his photo.
But today, I truly FELL in love with him.
It's hard to explain.
Dare I try?
I'm probably going to be all over the place
with this post (it's been forever since I've written)
so please bear with me and indulge me.

I didn't know that falling for Matthew would be this concrete or identifiable.
I didn't know that it would be this framed-in-time, distinct, point-to-the-dot kind of moment.
I thought I wouldn't remember the exact moment or day that I fell.
But I do.
And today, I did.

There are moments when
his eyes, black as coal
(the left one a little lazy and leaning in toward his nose),
squeeze out monstrous tears
that slide down his plump cheeks like snowballs on a fast race to the bottom of the highest hill
and his lungs let me know he has needs
NOW, dammit!

Even then, I am hopelessly head over heels.
Today, I crossed the bridge from feeling love
to falling in love.
And it's 10:16, and I don't want this day to end.

My dad was telling me the other night
about how his dad, my grandfather, used to be what was called a "breaker boy"
at the coal mines in Northeastern PA (where I grew up),
and how Grandpa's job was to separate the shiny, black pieces (very valuable coal) from the other stuff (the less valuable stuff, known as slate).
I look into Matthew's eyes, and I see shiny, black coal--the "good stuff" on which fortunes and futures were made back in the day in PA.
I see fortunes and a great future for him and for us.

When Matthew is happy, he lifts his right hand high up into the air
and BANGS it down on whatever surface lies in front of him,
and he inhales this loud and joyous shriek that sometimes makes him cough.
And his belly laughs, still few and far between, are worth the days and weeks we sometimes wait
to hear them.

When he is sad or upset,
he puts on just about the most textbook upside-down smile you could ever imagine.
He did it a lot the first few weeks, when he was grieving for his Umma (foster mom).
My heart has broken about a hundred times watching him, and helping him, go through this
but being unable to truly do anything about it.
Except, of course, to be there.
Which I was.
Inconsolable grief and anger lived in his heart and our house.
Unstoppable cries.
Little fists beating on my chest.
The "searching behavior" (looking toward a doorway for his Umma, who is of course not there).
He is doing all of that less and less.
Not much at all, in fact.
But it's still there. The sadness, the searching, the adjusting.
And we will still be there for him when it happens.
He, and we, are slowly finding our place together as a family.
But hey, we are finding it!

This Thursday (1/14) marks our 1-month anniversary as a family, united.
Matthew Day will always be celebrated, every year, on December 14.
It's been a long couple of weeks.
Most of it good, some of it not so good.
But anyone who's a parent knows just how tough
those not-so-good moments can be.
Sometimes, I feel weak and inadequate, not enough.
But most times, I feel strong, confident, "enough."
And I realize that all along, I never had to worry about "how" to do anything
when it comes to motherhood...
because loving is not about how.
There is no equation or right formula.
It just is.
And it's perfect.

I still owe you the airport story, I know.
But tonight, I am choosing to tell a story
that feels smaller (not in size, but in "ability to get my arms around it") and more ready to leap
from my heart to your ears
than the larger-than-life moment that I owe you
(and it WILL come).
I am choosing to breathe in
and dance with
a moment of sheer and utter grace--
and risk my vulnerability in sharing this moment with you.
(Please, be kind.)

Today, I fell in love with the most fabulous fellow.
His name is Matthew, and he is my son.
His eyes, the color of midnight, will continue to show me their shine
and prove to me that they are much more than slate, tossed aside as a cheap by-product.
No, his eyes are true coal.
They warm me from within.

My grandfather-the-breaker-boy would have picked him up,
dusted him off,
and placed him--
a priceless, treasured gem--
into the coal car with the rest of the good stuff.
He'd heat not just my heart, but whole homes.

Here's to the good stuff.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Beginnings

I promised myself that I would post again starting on New Year's Day, and here it is, 9 p.m. and I'm pretty tired. AND I just got this cool new NetBook but darn it, the keyboard is so small, I am filling the screen with typos (that of course I am fixing before I hit "publish).

Sooo, I am going to keep this short. Longer post soon--the next one will be all about our incredible airport experience. What a powerful, emotional day! Absolutely overwhelming, in a good way (except that I think all that anxiety and adrenaline got me sick--I had a bad cold and then bronchitis from airport day [12/14] till last week!).

Matthew is doing great, in so many ways. Sleeping 12 hours/night. Napping willingly and for about 2.5 hours a pop. Eating like a champ. He transitioned so well, even our caseworker is telling us to make sure we are counting our blessings, b/c it usually doesn't go this smoothly! These days, he's into blowing raspberries and seems to enjoy the saliva dripping down his chin and the sounds his silly little lips make. He said "B" the other day (just once)! (Swooning with motherly pride!) And he just learned to kinda sorta "wave" to us (it's more of a limp throwing of the arm into the air, but hey, I think it counts as a wave, don't you?). He was holding the bottle on his own in Korea but we didn't see it until a few days ago...we just got him doing that again (regressing is common in this situation). Same thing with picking up Cheerios and putting them in his mouth (just started doing that a few days ago--before I was putting them in his mouth). He slaps his hand down on the {highchair tray, coffee table, whatever is in front of him} when he's happy.

There's so much to say, it's kind of overwhelming. I am going to sign off and go and think about how to put all my thoughts into the (albeit limiting) space of a blog posting. There's so much in my head, it's racing around all chaotic. But I'll get it organized and spit it out soon, in a coherent post that will no doubt make more sense than this one does!

Love you all and thanks for being there, following my blog, and checking in from time to time. Motherhood has already been an amazing, humbling, mysterious, delightful, delicious experience!