full of life

This past weekend, amidst furious house cleaning for our initial home study visit this Friday and more pre-adoption busywork, we had house guests. No, not the kind of visitors that invaded our garden. Other guests, the kind that come inside.

It’s amazing what life force children and animals can bring to a home otherwise missing that energy. And we have indeed been missing it.

This weekend we were caring for someone else’s kitty. He’s a big fat love of a cat. He throws himself across your feet, stretches out on his back toward little patches of sun, rolls around in the dirt, and purrs while he eats. And boy does he eat. He wakes up super early and begs for his meals. When we’d ignore him (just before 5am), he’d jump on every piece of furniture and windowsill to get our attention. When I’d get up, he’d run into the kitchen and lure me over to his bowl.

Aside from his annoying early morning habit, he was sweet to have around. M and I have both missed having a little creature in the house since we lost both of ours last year. While our own kitty lived to a ripe old age of nearly 17, I still miss so much about him, especially his loving zen-ness and the weight of him asleep on me. So it was nice to have some kitty zen, especially such a chubby buddha-boy, curled up by my feet at night. Yes, we spoiled the hell out of him…

On top of the kitty love, we had some real live little kids running around too. On Saturday, after M and I had cleaned the entire house, my cousin, his wife and kids came over for a barbeque, lots of good wine, and a fun sleepover. The kids, our baby cousins, are one and a half and four years old, about the same age as my niece and nephew who live 5000 miles away. We are close with them and have a blast with the kids. They love it here — playing in the yard, swinging in the hammock, running through the sprinkler. More fun adults to play silly games and love them up. We had a feast, got a little buzzed (on wine and cupcakes), and a good time was had by all. Who doesn’t love a fun sleepover? 

Of course we had to do some serious cleaning after they left — e.g., scrubbing avocado off the sofa and ice cream from the tablecloth, finding corn kernels and all kinds of nasty bits on the floor, taking poopy diapers out to the garbage, etc. Plus there was the crying baby at 4:30am (probably thinking where the hell am I?). 

But we loved having them here and bonding with the little ones. It was sweet to wake up to their little cherubic faces so excited to see us. The kids can’t decide whether we are “auntie” and “uncle” or “cousins.”  I say we’re both. In Chinese, there are many words to describe familial relationships with great detail. For instance, there is a special word for cousin-auntie from the mother’s side, and so on. Maybe we should just teach them some new words? But I digress…

On Sunday, after everyone had gone home (kitty and kiddies), I found myself wandering through the house, missing all of them. I went into our guest room where they had slept and did some deep breathing. Not the kind of breathing when you think you’re going to lose it, but the kind where you inhale to savor something special. I was trying to soak up all the good energy they had brought into our home — the sound of children laughing and playing, the love and affection we shared. Sure, there were some cries and time-outs too. Yet there I sat, longing for more, to fill the void. With their presence, they infused a powerful life force into our home — one that M and I have been longing to create ourselves. Then it was gone (again). 

In the past, after spending time with the children in my life, I’ve felt this sense of duality — I enjoy their presence, treasure our time together and feel deep love, but at the same time I still feel an aching sadness that my own child is not running among them. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile these seemingly conflicted emotions, but I’ve learned to live with it. I don’t try to figure out why I feel this way anymore, I just accept that I do. I’ve written about this concept before, because I was so relieved to know it was normal and it had a name. 

Well, this weekend I felt it again, only slightly different. Of course I still long for my own children to play among them. But this time I was also thinking of our future child. On one hand I so look forward to the day when the child we bring in to our lives through adoption can run and play with his or her cousins. Yet I’m already anticipating how it might feel for our child to share no physical resemblance to our family. When people talk about how this little one looks like X at that age, or is the perfect mix of X and Y, how can we all not feel a sense of exclusion? I know I will have had plenty of time to resolve my own feelings by then, but what about our child? Will he or she always feel different?

There is so much more I want to say about this, but I’ll have to save it for another post…

~ by luna on August 4, 2008.

10 Responses to “full of life”

  1. I worry about this too. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

  2. What a beautiful post, Luna! I think I actually relaxed a few degrees, just listening to your savoring of things that are and things to come.

    I’ve got all my cheering and wishes at the ready to send to you on the 8th!

  3. This sounds like a lovely weekend.

    And yes, I can see how talk like that could be upsetting. I know my family and friends do that all the time, and we even participate. There are no adopted children in the network of close family and friends to feel excluded by this. I have thought about it, and I think if there were, I would try very hard to temper that kind of talk.

  4. Luna,

    Sounds like a fun and exhausting weekend! I don’t think that Pang or longing for biology ever really goes all the way away. I think it get better, we evolve our meaning of what it is to love, of what family is, of way “related” is. We expand our definitions. We learn that we can be happy with a plan B. I think some people even haev a hard time remembering what plan A was. Before we get there it;s hard to imagine that. But I think it does happen once we arrive. It’s the GETTING there that is so hard. I think BEING there is easier.

  5. I only have a theoretical idea of how our lives will be impacted by adoption. I have read about these feelings of exclusion as the adopted child grows up and it’s something that you should be aware of. What matters that you don’t impart that sense of exclusion.

  6. One of the attendees at the adoption class we taught this weekend was a Korean adoptee, setting out to adopt a child. While she mentioned that she always knew she was adopted and that it was clear as day to everyone, she felt fully bonded with her parents and OK with her story.

    I truly think this is the best gift we can give a child — to be happy with his/her stories and thus, content inside his/her own skin. What a parenting triumph that will be.

    I love your description of your home after the weekend’s energy footprints.

  7. I love the image of you there, inhaling the energy and love, thinking of how you have so much of both waiting to spend on your coming child.

  8. I totally know what you mean. I was having exactly the same thoughts today. So, so many of them around this topic. Maybe I’ll make my own post about it, but in a nutshell, I kept thinking how adopting is so great, but I will totally miss the you look like me or him or whoever, and I do think the baby will miss this too. I read a quote that Brad Pitt said last week, something about how much he wanted a son who looked like him . . . he has a son, two in fact, yet he felt so strongly that he needed to have a biological child. I can’t blame him, I don’t guess that feeling ever goes away. It just sounds so strange when someone actually says it out loud.

  9. It sounds like a wonderful weekend – full of life, laughter, energy and hope. I hope that you will have many more times like this, and that soon your home will be filled with the sound of own son or daughter at play.

    I’m still struggling with the question of whether it may be time for us to move on to DE so, like many others who’ve commented, I can also relate to the concerns you raise in the last paragraph of this post. I think all of those who are pursuing other paths to parenthood worry about this question.

  10. […] the big mouse, so there was a lot of catching up to do. His kids are now 5 and 2, the same ages as our cousins who live nearby, so there was a lot of […]

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