Tomorrow morning we begin our journey to Hong Kong to pick up our son. We had a phone conference with our social worker yesterday to discuss travel and other details. We discussed possible grief reactions. There will be grief. Daniel Bennett describes adoption as a "God-glorifying tragedy" and I can't say it any better. Ezekiel will grieve the loss of the foster family, culture, and language that he has known and he will always grieve the loss of a birth family. The foster parents will grieve the baby they have loved the last 18 months. There will be grief in our home as well. However, it will all be made right in the end.
We haven't really shared much of our emotional process about the adoption (other than expressing frustration about the wait and bureaucratic details) to outsiders. We have faced opposition from the first time we mentioned considering a Down syndrome adoption. We had a ready defense and we used it frequently. We focused much on the "why not" because we really wanted people to grasp that Ezekiel is a person and worthy of life and love. It was not about the sacrifices to be made and it still isn't.
That said, I (Amanda) think my grieving process has begun. I am thinking of everything in terms of "lasts" even though I know they won't really be lasts. Last quiet bath while four kids play independently. Last time to listen to a book or sermon while I fold laundry. Last night of independence after the children are in bed. Last night of potential sleep. Last day to be together as a family of six. Last time laundry will be folded and put away in the same day (oh who am I kidding, that rarely happens now). Last.....without a special needs baby/child/adult. The encouraging thing is that the same things are still true that were true when we began this process. This life is still temporary, all life is still valuable, children with Down syndrome are still discarded and marginalized. We still have enough resources, faith and love to make this child or own. So I will let myself grieve these perceived "lasts" and remember that's it's not about me - it never was. We are nearing the end of this process but it marks the beginning of our new life as a family of 7 and new grace to provide and love Ezekiel as God loves us.