Thursday, October 28, 2010

Words on Paper

Dear Matthew:
Yet another milestone awaits you, my sweet son.
Tomorrow, we go to court in downtown Baltimore
for your adoption finalization ceremony.
A judge will proclaim you officially ours...
as if you did not feel like our son from the moment you were placed in our arms
in the wee hours of a cold December morning that feels like forever ago.
What was life like without you?
I honestly don't know, so familiar is the imprint of your heart on mine.
Oh, I love you so.

I think about tomorrow and wonder,
Will it feel different, having these words on paper
stating in no uncertain terms that you are our child, and we are your parents?
How will I feel after our fifteen minutes of fame is over...
after the decrees have been signed,
pens capped,
paperwork filed,
pictures taken,
hands shaken,
hugs exchanged,
and happy tears shed?

Will legal words on paper
make me feel like you are any more mine
than the shining son you already are?

Don't get me wrong:
They are important and deserve a celebration and a ceremony,
these words on paper.
They represent for us, as a family, a meaningful rite of passage
in our history together--
something we will look back on with fondness,
something we will file away, maybe even frame, I don't know.
These words on paper will certainly help us in practical, logical ways
such as school paperwork, doctor visits, health insurance, and citizenship.

But in my heart, I know this:
You've been my son all along.
I don't need words on paper to tell me that.


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