Thursday, August 5

Finalization Tomorrow



The "adopting" chapter comes to a close tomorrow. I couldn't be happier. Although, adoption will always be part of our lives, the days of paperwork, social worker visits, waiting, waiting some more, etc... are finally over. I would do it all again in a heartbeat... but... I am thrilled to be stepping off this insanely wild roller coaster ride and just getting on with life.

Tomorrow is such a very special day. Tomorrow Eden legally becomes our daughter and a United States citizen. I hadn't given it much thought about finalization day until recently. I had spent countless hours envisioning our referral day or the day we finally would meet Eden... but not this one. I am not sure why. Maybe it's because the thought of this process actually being completed was out of the rheum of what I thought possible or something. Now that it is actually here, it is more special than any of the days leading up till now. Sure the referral was super exciting. One of the best days of my life. The day we met Eden and the day we brought her home are up there as well. However, each of those days were such a mix of emotions.

The referral was a day of disbelief, relief, excitement, happiness, along with a shot of off the charts adrenalin. I was high as a kite... and then the anxiety set in. The what if's, the worry, the obsession with the time line to bring her home. I hardly ate for days and would be so hopped up on anxiety and adrenalin I would get the shakes. I suddenly didn't feel the need to sleep. I lost my mind a little bit.

The day we finally met Eden was so surreal. I remember feeling numb. My emotions were on overload and just sort of shut down. Sure, I was super excited and happy... but it just didn't feel real. I remember riding to the foster families home and Ron taking some video. He turned the camera on me and asked, "How do you feel?" I remember wondering why I was so eerily calm. It was like I was watching what was happening in front of me like it were a movie. I wasn't really there.

The day we received Eden is one that is one that I had thought would be the most exciting... and it was exciting. This was the day I had waited for for three and a half years. However, the last moments we spent with her foster mother were excruciating. It was a tearful goodbye that left everyone in tears... including our caseworker who does this for a living. We all met at the SWS office... us, our case worker, and Eden's foster mom. Eden's foster mother's demeanor was different from the first time we met. She was more standoffish... like a little wall had grown overnight. She wasn't unfriendly, but not the warm bubbly person we had met the day before. I know that she was probably trying to distance herself, protect herself from the hurt that would be coming... trying to be strong. We signed the required paperwork, went over Eden's schedule, went through the bags of items Eden's foster mother gave to us, and asked some specifics about how warm she likes her bottle, how she likes to be held... things only a mother knows. We then entered the hallway where the elevator was. Eden's foster mother carried her. I was told to take her from her arms. Her foster mom started to cry. We took one last picture together. She came over to Eden and through her tears talked to her. I wish I knew what she said. She stroked her face. I wished so badly to be able to talk to her, hug her, assure her, console her. I felt so cold just standing there holding what felt like her child while she said her goodbyes. I now wish I would have tried to do or say something. I wasn't expecting that moment. I wasn't prepared. I don't know what I thought was going to happen. I didn't expect to feel so guilty. I just stood there frozen. We were told to get into the elevator. The last image was of the foster mother bending over crying and one of the workers trying to console her. The doors to the elevator closed. Ron, our case worker and I were all crying. The sadness was so thick... it was hard to breathe. Then Eden laughed. She laughed her Woody Woodpecker laugh as if she knew she had to do something to break the tension. She was smiling her dimpled smile and then we were all laughing and crying at the same time. Sooooo this is hardly a day I would say was the best.

Each of these days has been bittersweet. Such a mix of thrill, love, excitement, happiness, anxiety, worry, and... loss. The day we received her referral was the day she lost the opportunity to be adopted within her own country, her own culture. The day we received Eden was the day she lost the only family that she has even known. The day we brought Eden home was the day she lost her country, language, everything familiar. So much loss. And that loss will never go away. It will always be there, always be felt... if even just a fraction.

But tomorrow is different. Tomorrow is not about loss. Tomorrow is about GAINING a forever family and another country. There are no goodbyes, no unknowns, no fear...


This is what makes tomorrow so special... and the happiest day in our journey to Eden.

11 comments:

Kari said...

Beautifully written...brought tears to my eyes. Congrats! Tomorrow will be such a wonderful day for all of you!

Joe said...

Awesome post - spot on in every way. Thanks for bringing back that experience in such vivid detail ... we took that same elevator down to the same street, and took the same walk back to the guest house on a rainy Seoul sidestreet with a little boy who was incapable of comprehending the enormity of the situation he was in. Guilt, excitement, sadness, happiness, confusion ... all of it ... spot on. Very nicely written, and perhaps only truly appreciated by those who have lived it.

Congrats on the finalization - look forward to meeting you guys one day.

Joey (Kari's husband, Ryan's father)

Christy said...

Beautiful! Congratulations!

Elizabeth Frick said...

I love this recap. You're so right, that each of the "BIG" days along the road are such a mix of emotion. Tomorrow will be awesome. I remember being mildly excited for Olive's finalization and surprising myself by getting incredibly emotional and choked up at the courthouse. Be prepared for what they say to you... it's hard to take in, some of it. I wasn't ready for the finality of it.
Anyway, don't mean to be Debbie Downer. Very excited for this last step for you, and the END of the process!!!

M&M said...

Congratulations! What a remarkable journey and its only just beginning!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to celebrating Eden's big day. I'm so happy for you, Ron the boys but especially for Eden because she is so loved by all.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog because we also adopted from Korea - our son is 17 months old, but our wait to travel was so much longer - he's only been home 3 months. Eden is so beautiful and your descriptions of everything are so spot on. I really enjoy your blog. Congratulations on the finalization tomorrow!!

Jenny said...

congratulations! i can't believe how quickly time has passed. i remember following your journey back when i was stalking the holt bb. :)

Gary and Lisa said...

ok..I'm crying now!! But how right you are about everything!! A lot of this adoption journey doesn't seem real!! Can't imagine what finalization day will feel like!! Congrats!!

Kevin, Jake and Violet said...

Congratulations on all fronts (see post above). Eden already has grown so much physically and I know even more in your hearts. I know bittersweet. Bittersweet is a young man pulling away from a mommy who desperately ached to hold him and to see him look around for the only people he had known in his short life who had snuck out when he wasn't looking. ...
So much better now. The hugs, kisses, our lives.
I think about the day we met so long ago in Chicago and wonder where the time went. I know what you mean about living days over again. Wouldn't that be a great invention. Violet

zabe77 said...

Thank you for such an open, honest post. My husband and I are hoping to adopt within the next year and I often wonder what it will all be like, thanks so much for sharing.