There are several landmark dates in our adoption journey...October 3, 2012 was the day we officially began this adoption journey (with our application to our first agency - with Ethiopia before that door closed to us)...December 12, 2014 was the day we turned in our application to adopt from Haiti with our current agency...and August 23, 2015 was the day our dossier was officially accepted by IBESR (the Haitian government). So, while we're nearly 5 years into this adoption journey...and a couple months shy of having been pursuing this adoption through Haiti for 3 years...the date that is referenced within the adoption community during the wait for a referral match is the IBESR entry date. For us August 23rd. As we approached that date it seemed to loom as a more concrete reminder of how long we've collectively been waiting to know who our daughter is. To see her face. To meet her and hold her. I had sincerely hoped that we wouldn't be one of the families that met that 2 year mark in IBESR without a referral. So when that day arrived it was pretty emotional for me. And something else compounded that emotional day for me...
August 23rd was also the first day of school for our boys. There are 3 reasons why that was difficult for me. My youngest child at home is 6 years old and was transitioning to all day school this year. A big 1st grader, no longer my sidekick during the day. This makes me sad. I tried not to voice that to him, but rather to express how excited I was for him...but when I put him to bed the night before his big first day of school he was the one to cry (not common for him) that he would "miss our one-on-one time". I about lost it. To compound matters with this specific child - he was diagnosed a few months ago with type 1 diabetes. I've never turned over his dosage of insulin to anyone else besides Mark or my mom. This was so unnerving for me. Being the worrier I am, preparing to send him to school all day brought with it a series of imagined worst case scenarios that sent me into an anxiety-filled feeling of lack of control.
Now, add to those feelings of sad sentimentality and justified worry the fact that I never imagined when we started this adoption that when Max started 1st grade that I wouldn't have our daughter at home by then. I thought I'd be using this time working on attachment and bonding, practicing on her hair, doing all the little kid things I was going to be missing with Max...with her.
August 23rd I felt empty. Worried. And an intense lack of control - both regarding Max and baby girl.
I think that feeling of lack of control that I mentioned earlier, regarding our little girl specifically this time, is amplified right now as we launch into hurricane season and are waiting to see the affects of Hurricane Irma as she churns by Haiti. Hurricane Irma is the strongest Atlantic Hurricane ever on record. And, again...too many worst case scenarios fly through my head. Not only worries of destruction around her and to her country of birth, but also the after effects of storms like this on Haiti. Flooding, mudslides, disease. Worries about my child crying out in fear without someone to comfort her tonight are pulling on my heart also. I was in a shelter down south as a red-cross volunteer following Hurricane Katrina as the arms our Hurricane Rita reached out over us. It was frightening night for me and I'm a grown woman. I can only imagine how terrifying it must be for children, especially those without someone to assure and comfort them. Oh, my heart.
...I had to step away from this post for a bit to calm down. I had a lot of these same worries last fall when Hurricane Matthew approached and hit Haiti. It is such an overwhelmingly sick feeling of worry. I know it's not productive, and I don't want to indulge in it...it's like I just can't control the overwhelming sad, anxious, impending feeling of doom. Even when there isn't a known source of worry attacking our daughter's homeland, I have a feeling of worry if she's ok. Is she eating? Is she being cared for? Is she being neglected or abused? Does she have health concerns that are being ignored?...so then you add an acute worry like the hurricane to those already existing worries and it's like worry-overload.
To try and shift gears with this post before it becomes 25 paragraphs of me cyclically venting my same worries...Here is something that was happy at the time. I wish I had posted about it when they arrived and I was feeling giddy:
As some sort of indulgent splurge justified by the passing of the aforementioned unwanted anniversary (2 years in IBESR without a referral) I bought a couple pairs of Toms shoes...mommy and me matching. They are super cute. I put them in the basement with the bins of clothes and shoes that I've been collecting over the years. I can't wait for the day that we can both put them on together.