Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Letter

For weeks now, one page of our adoption photo book has remained empty. It's this huge blank space, devoid of any writing, any pictures...and every time I pull up the book online to write in it, I freeze up. The letter to the birth parents. A succinct note that in just a few words enables me to communicate who I am, why I love my family and why I respect the decision this person is making in choosing adoption.  This has got to be the hardest thing I've ever written.

How do you write a letter to someone who is trying to decide whether or not you are the right mother for her child? Where do you even start? "Dear person who is going through one of the most painful struggles a person could ever go through...let me introduce myself?"  My consolation is that my husband's page at this point is also blank. Neither one of us has felt a particularly spectacular moment of inspiration that has led to an actual letter.

A few friends have reminded me that in the grand scheme of things this letter very likely won't mean much for our adoption. The story our book tells, the feeling a parent gets when they read it or even just a random picture of our family at the beach that a birth parent really likes could be the simple deciding factor, one way or the other.  Bottom line, they have reminded me, is that there is Someone at work over all this who will help the right parents make the decision that is best for their child and invite us to be his or her forever family.  But, being someone who loves beautiful words, who has been battling perfectionism all my life and struggles mightily and often with trust, this letter feels like it needs to be perfect. That it needs to communicate our admiration for their choice, our own humility in this process, our love for these birth parents and their unborn child while all the while feeling sincere and not cliched. Or we'll never get chosen. 

Reality is here.  This book needs to be finished in a little more than a week. We'll be sitting down with our case worker who needs to "approve" it and then we need to let that book go from computer to ink and paper (in the multiple copies needed for the agency office).   After that, we won't be able to change anything, unless, of course, we want to redo it and single-handedly keep Shutterfly in business this holiday season.  Given all our other holiday and adoption expenditures, I'm thinking we've got one shot at this. Breathe in, Carolyn.

Earlier this week I sat in our nursery with the early morning light streaming through the window.  I sipped my coffee and enjoyed the peacefulness of a room that is just waiting for a little person. A room that just this summer was transformed from an often-unused guest room to a bright and cheerful nursery. A room that now holds the promise of noise and stinkiness and the crash of toys and squeals of delight that a nursery is made for. I spent some time praying for our little one who will live here and for the parents who will make the ultimate, grief-filled sacrifice in giving her to us. Moments like that help make the words of this letter feel less important. There's really nothing I can say that can touch that deepest part of who they are that will always ache at some level over this choice.

I'm thinking I probably need way more time in that quiet, sweet nursery than I do thinking ponderously in front of my computer.  That sweet room reminds me that the words to this letter, whether important or unimportant, will come at the right moment and, hopefully, speak life and encouragement to these people who will be irrevocably tied to our family, not because I am good at stringing coherent sentences together or because I know the right thing to say but because of the grace and love of God, who has seen us through three years of waiting and will see us through this letter, too.

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