“Not flesh or my flesh, nor bone of my bone
Yet still, miraculously, my own.
Never forget for a single minute
You didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.”
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger
I’m preparing to go to Brooklyn this weekend to exhibit and maybe speak at an adoption conference. I’m adopted, and I like to work with prospective adoptive parents. I have a soft spot in my heart for them and love doing everything I can to help them complete their families through adoption.
Jonah is my biological child and the only blood relative I know, which is weird. I do like when people say he looks like me. And yet it never mattered that I didn’t look like my parents’ families (they really all do have similarities in their faces and mannerisms – nature, not nurture).
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the conference, but also I’m more than a little hesitant to be going to New York City. The City freaks me out under normal circumstances, but I’m frightened it’ll be eerie, too – a wounded place.
I am there to smile and bring hope to the people who file in to the conference, most of them brand new at this whole adoption thing. Overwhelmed and emotional, they need a friendly face and maybe some tissue. You cannot pry but you need to encourage. I love meeting the people, meeting their frightened eyes with my reassuring ones: don’t worry; your child will find you, I want to tell them.
So I won’t see Boo this weekend and in fact not until Thanksgiving, when we’ll probably bring turkey sandwiches down to Andy’s, and Jonah will beg for bath and grocery store, oblivious of the holiday. I miss him already, and would gladly trade a big hug for a small slap.
My dad and I are going out to lunch tomorrow. He’ll ask me how work has been going and I’ll tell him about the adoption conference. I’ll bring along The Story of Amy, a red-cloth-covered cling page 70s photo album turned into a book by my parents. My mother wrote in careful script-like print, using cutouts of congratulations on your new baby cards as illustrations:
The Story of Amy
Once upon a time there was a lady and a man named Mr. and Mrs. Wink. They had been married for quite a few years. They were happy and still young, but there was one thing wrong. They had no baby although they always longed for one to share their home.
One day Mr. and Mrs. Wink said to each other, ”Let’s adopt a baby and bring her up as our very own.” So the next day they called up the lady who helps people to adopt babies and babies to adopt parents, and said to her, “Miss Brown, we wish so much to find a baby who would like to have a mommy and a daddy and could be our very own. Will you help us find one?”
Miss Brown said, “It will not be be easy. Many people wish to adopt babies, and you may have to wait a long time. But come see me and let’s talk it over.”
So Mr. & Mrs. Wink went to see Miss Brown and told her how much they wanted to adopt a baby.
Miss Brown asked them many questions and said, “I will do my best to find just the right baby for you. But remember, you may have to wait a long time.”
After a little while Miss Brown came to visit Mrs. Wink. She was very nice, but quite particular. She asked more questions, and went all over their home. She seemed specially interested in knowing where the baby would sleep and play. She found that the Winks had a lovely home and lots of room for a baby.
Many more months went by and Mr. and Mrs. Wink kept saying to each other, “I wonder when our baby will be coming.” Mrs. Wink would call up Miss Brown and say, “We are still waiting for our baby. Please don’t forget about us.” Miss Brown would say, “Be patient. It takes time to find just the right baby.”
Several months later Miss Brown came to visit the Winks again. Surely this means our baby will be coming soon!
One day Mrs. Wink got a phone call from Miss Brown. “I have good news for you! We have a baby girl for you to see. Can you come tomorrow?” Mrs. Wink was so happy and excited. She called Mr. Wink at the office and told him the news.
The next day Mr. and Mrs. Wink went to see Miss Brown. First she told them about the baby: “She is six months old with the biggest eyes you’ve ever seen and lots of brown hair,” she said, “now go into the next room and see her.
Mr. & Mrs. Wink both held the baby girl. “This baby is our chosen baby. She’s just perfect!”
Miss Brown said, “Well go home and get some baby clothes and some baby food and come back tomorrow and you can take your little girl home.”
That night Mr. and Mrs. Wink went shopping for baby clothes and food. They were so excited they didn’t sleep all night. The next day, they went to pick up their baby girl. “What shall we name her,” they said. Mr. Wink said, “How about Amy? I think that’s a pretty name.” Mrs. Wink thought for a while then she said yes, “Amy means beloved. I think Amy Marie would be a pretty name for our little girl.”
After dinner the Wink’s house was a very busy place. Everyone came to see little Amy. All her grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins were there to see her. And of course they just loved her!
After everyone left, mommy and daddy got Amy ready for bed. When they put her in her crib they both said “this is the happiest day of our lives; we have a beautiful little girl. At last we are a family!
My parents read my story to me so often, I suppose, that I always knew I was adopted. And I was very lucky; it was a good family. I’ve always been lucky, always been blessed. I certainly didn’t always realize it or appreciate it, but now I know it. I know it every day. It helps a lot to know it. When I’m grateful I’m happy.
People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong.
Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?