Today is Day 6 of the countdown till we travel to China. I will be holding Veronica in 10 days.
Everyone keeps asking how I can control my excitement. How could I possibly stand to know that the end of the journey is so near? But in reality, my journey with my new daughter is just starting, but there is another journey ending. And it is causing me to feel incredibly sad.
Unlike most children waiting for families in China, my daughter is not in an orphanage. She has been placed with a foster family since she was 2 weeks old. For over a year and a half, another mother has been comforting her when she is hurt, holding her hand, giving her baths, feeding her, reading to her, loving her.
And while I have a countdown going of eager anticipation, I know that she also has a countdown going and it is not nearly so joyful. Thinking about her makes my heart ache.
I asked a friend who has been a foster mother for many, many children about this. She told me, "If you're doing it right, it always hurts when they leave."
Judging by the progress Veronica has made, from the medical and developmental information we have, her foster mother is "doing it right".
It is so difficult to know that my joy is tied up in another person's pain. Of course my thoughts have been heavy for her birth family. I have been praying for this unknown mother and father since I knew I was going to adopt, so for nearly a decade. I knew that there was some woman, somewhere in the world who would have to make a gut-wrenching decision and place her child for adoption.
But, I didn't feel any responsibility for having caused that situation.
I know that my decision to accept Veronica's referral has shortened her foster family's time with her. It feels like much more of a direct correlation. The logical part of me understands that this was the plan all along. The foster family knew they would have a relatively short time to care for this child, in preparation for adoption. That knowledge still won't stop their love for her or their pain when she is gone.
Unfortunately, the current policy holds that we can't have contact with the foster family. I am not technically allowed to give the foster family updates or pictures. I can't take away the worry and wondering the foster family may have, even if we would both wish for such a relationship. I can't tell them just how incredibly grateful I am for all they have done for my child and promise them that I will continue on with what they started.
I know I have mumbled and grumbled through some of the adoption - paperwork, delays, inane procedures and redundancies. But, the bittersweet reality of the countdown, my joy tempered by her foster family's sadness, has been the most difficult part so far.