Just Like Every Other Family?
I’m standing outside the classroom waiting to begin. I glance shyly at the boy standing next to me. He’s chatting with the girl standing next to him. They seem to know each other. I wonder if this year will be different. I wonder if there will be birthday invitations or play dates. The door opens and I step into a familiar scene. The preschool meet and greet.
Jack rushes through the door as I hang back a bit. These things are always so awkward. Like a surreal cocktail party – minus the cocktails. I see a family I know and float over their way. We exchange summer vacation stories and marvel at how tall our boys have grown. “So….” she says, “Any news about your – ?”
Before I can respond another mom approaches. She’s new to the school, I think. “Which one is yours?” she asks. I point to Jack, currently holding lego court. “Oh wow,” she says, “We’re Korean too.” I falter. “Um, we’re not. I mean he’s – ” Jack saves me by running up and introducing me to his teacher.
Thankfully his teacher remembers us from last year. “Jack always sang the loudest during his class’ chapel,” she recalls. I love that this is the image she carries of my son.
I glance over to where Jack has run. He’s found a new playmate and together they are engrossed in magnets. I take a deep breath and extend my hand. I got this. “I’m Jack’s mom.” The parents smile, grateful for the interaction. They are new to the school. Is everyone here from last year’s 3’s class? Their eldest just started at university last weekend. Isn’t that a crazy age gap? And how about Jack, does he have any siblings?
I freeze. It’s such a simple question, “How many kids do you have?” but for me….
“Two,” I reply. Because it is true. I have two children. Technically. Our daughter is not legally ours yet but we have her visa and are in process, so….
“How old is she?” I have to think about this one. I’m so used to saying “8 months” since that was her age at referral. But today? I have to think about it. “She turned one last week,” I reply, and in uttering those words I lose control. Tears form in my eyes. The new parents, confused, put a hand on my shoulder. “They grow up so fast” they say, comforting this preschool stranger as best they can.
The first official day of school we wave hello at drop off. Our children rush in the door, hand-in-hand, new friendship secure. Someday I will tell them my story. Someday when my daughter is finally home and in my arms I will say, “Remember that first day we met?” But for now. For now I climb back in my car and pull out my phone. I look at the only photos I have of my daughter. 5 total. I take a deep breath. Someday.
Want to to read more about the ways that forming a family through adoption is different? https://adoption.com/5-ways-adoption-might-be-different-for-you
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