Monday, June 14, 2010

Joy and Pain

I’ve always had very vivid dreams, sometimes they’re random and hilarious (like when I dreamt that Edward Norton was trying to break me out of a prison and my prison “uniform” was made entirely out of pork chops and bananas), sometimes they’re very telling of my fears, insecurities, and what is really going on in my heart (like one that I described in a previous blog). But recently my dreams have been just plain fun. One involved Bill and I hanging out with Reed and spending a whole day together, and the other was Reed and I hanging out and having a good time, but we both thought something was missing so we went and got Maura and we were all really happy.

Most of the time when Reed wanders his way into my dreams, he’s older, about 4 years old or so. Perhaps it’s because I know that the next time I’ll see him will be in the future, when he’s already walking and starting to use his own baby-speak. Or perhaps it’s because I want so much to be able to communicate with him, and I know that I’ll have to wait until he’s older to do that. Well, when I woke up from the dream I was having on Sunday morning on his 6 month birthday, I smiled at the thought of getting to know my little boy. But then I thought of him as he is now, and I suddenly felt a huge emptiness because my son is 6 months old and I don’t even know how many teeth he has! It reminded me of how much I don’t know about my son now, and how much I miss him terribly.

Sometimes I want nothing more than to see him and hold him, hang out with him and watch him grow, and be his mommy. Then at other times I think that he was so specifically made for Doug and Maura, so much so that he almost looks like them. As much as it hurts me to be away from him, I think he really was made to be Doug and Maura’s son.

But he’s MY son! part of me uncontrollably cries out. The thing is though, is that the ‘but’ in that exclamation doesn’t have any part of this. Yes he is my son, he will always be my son, and there is no changing that. And yes he was made for Doug and Maura. As jealous as I am of their life with him, if I could go back in time to change anything I wouldn’t do it. Maura wondered aloud to me one time if I was jealous of her being Reed’s mommy. I told her of course I was, but I chose her to be jealous of and I’m glad I did. I can’t imagine Reed not having them, there is no doubt that he belongs with them.

This however has no effect in diminishing how much I miss him. In a conversation with one of my sisters (who is adamantly against the adoption but seems to be accepting what is reasonably well) before I left for Singapore, that there was going to be pain no matter what I chose to do with Reed. Both of us would have known certain kinds of pain as a result of my decision to keep him if I had done so, and both of us will know different kinds of pain as a result of the adoption (maybe I’ll touch on this topic more in a different post). After I told her that it was going to be really hard on me to leave Reed when I went to Singapore, she said that I didn’t have to choose a path that caused so much pain. The way I look at it, since pain was going to be inevitable, I chose the path with the most joys.

And joys have certainly been a part of this journey. Needless to say, Doug and Maura are getting to experience the joy of Reed in their lives every day. I wonder if he’ll ever fully realize how much of a dream come true he is for them? And he has brought untold joy to mine and Bill’s life as well. Bill tells me that at times of frustration, all he has to do is think about Reed. The last couple of weeks that Bill was in NC before going to his summer job in CO he was able to stay with Doug and Maura in their extra studio apartment by their house. When I talked to him on the phone, his first words were, “Reed is SO cool!!!”

For me, Reed has brought so many joys that I didn’t think I ever wanted or would ever have. I still look at the pictures of my labor and his birth with an uncontrollable smile. It was nothing short of wonderful with everyone as involved as they were. I still remember the sensation of feeling him move around inside of me, the most wonderful physical feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. And now seeing pictures of him, seeing how happy he has made so many people around him and how happy he is makes it all worth any kind of pain that comes with the territory. Reed has made me so happy, but so have Doug, Maura, their family, and Bill. Pain will continue to come, I’m sure of it. But so will the joy.

And with perfect timing, in the middle of writing this post, I checked my e-mail and read an update from Maura. Here’s most of the e-mail:

Hi Bill and Rachel,

We thought of you both a lot this weekend. The IAC [the adoption agency we went through] picnic was Saturday and then yesterday was Reed's 6 month birthday, of course. I hope sometime we'll be able to go to the picnic together. It was a hot, but very nice event - so much fun to see new and old families created through adoption, meet people who we'd been rooting for via internet, see so many babies and kids thriving, etc. There were a few birth families present which was great, but it would have been nice if there were more. Jen, the woman you met at the dog park in chapel Hill, was there with her family too! [When I met Jen at the park I was still pregnant and I ended up telling her about our open adoption plans. That really resonated with her and her husband who had initially been thinking about international adoption, and shortly after they contacted the IAC and started their own process.] They just finished all of their paperwork and their home study is almost complete. They are excited to be done with all that and are optimistic about matching with someone soon.

Meanwhile Doug's parents were here looking at houses in the area so Reed got some extra grandparent time and Marli [his 1.5 year old cousin] time - which he loves! It was nice to celebrate Reed's birthday with so many family around. We didn't exactly have a party, but we sang happy birthday to him (which he gets very excited about), told him his birth story again, and played and doted on him like we always do, which still feels so celebratory every day.

. . . . .

She also told me he has 3 teeth. :)

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