Wednesday, March 21, 2012
SLICE 21- OUR JOURNEY TO GOTCHA
Our "gotcha" (as people in the adoption world call the day that they brought home their children), was not an actual day, it was more like a journey, over the course of several months, or maybe even over many years.
Early April 2003. I am driving home from work. . I am just returned from an annual spring break vacation in the Grand Cayman with my mom, my sisters, my brother-in-law, and my niece and nephew. After twenty years of singleness, I am really good at being alone. I have a job that I love, a busy full life as an assistant principal, an adjunct professorship at the university, a great book club, a church family, lots of friends, etc. Even so, I struggle sometimes with being alone. And the times that are hardest for me are the times when I have just been with lots of people, like after the vacation with my family. It is then that the longing for connectedness and family are the hardest to bear.
On this day, I am driving home from work. I am in rush hour on I-70. It is one of those days where the loneliness seems especially big and especially unbearable. I cannot stand another solitary frozen dinner, another night of talking only to my dogs, another night of walking the dogs, followed by school work, and background noise from the tv and bed alone. I cry out to God, "I can't do this any more." I beg Him, as I have a hundred, or maybe a million, times before, to bring someone into my life. I think I am praying for a husband. A few weeks later, my prayers are answered. The answer, however, is very different than anything I could have ever dreamed…
There are two little boys at our school. Brothers. The oldest one, in third grade, has been at the school since the school opened when he was in first grade. His brother is a year younger.We have worried about the boys for years. The kids are often brought to school early. Left standing on a corner until very late. They are dirty. Wear the same clothes for days on end. Ask for extra food in the cafeteria. We have contacted the authorities on several occasions. The home checks out. We still worry.
One day an incident occurs. We contact the social worker yet again. This time, she says something must be done. It is the Friday before Easter and the third graders are making Easter baskets in their classroom. The older brother brings his basket with him when he is called to the office. When the social worker tells the boys that they will be leaving with her, the older brother cries, because he wants to go to the class Easter party. The third grade teacher, a quiet, orderly, raised on a farm country kind of gal, brings bags of candy and fills the older boy's basket to the top. When she turns around, I can see she is crying.
The two boys go out the door with the social worker, leaving only a trail of jelly beans and Easter grass. I think about them all weekend…