there is a 2 inch plastic parakeet on my nightstand. it is a parakeet with a story … 2 stories, actually. one is an everyday story of being knocked off the nightstand by cats and lovingly returned to her perch at bedtime. the other is a story of rainbows and phone calls and hope and an epic journey, and also a factory in china, but i’m not writing about that part.
for our purposes, her story starts on may 23 at the end of a toy aisle in the gresham fred meyer at burnside and powell.
i had spoken on the phone earlier that day with gayle from christian family adoptions. gayle told me that she received our initial application to adopt, and she was concerned about us adopting so soon after losing our child. i told gayle that we were still so sad about losing sky, and wished he could be with us. i told her that we have been married for almost 8 years, and we have wanted children for so long. i told her that we have too much love in our family for just the two of us, and want to give it to a child. i told her i know that sounds cheesy, but we really mean it.
gayle said that she would call me back.
i was at the gresham fred meyer at burnside and powell when the phone rang. my eyes widened and my stomach dropped, and i ducked down the closest empty aisle – a toy aisle that apparently housed the unpopular toys: cheap animals and and various dull-colored morsels of plastic.
as gayle preambled, i nervously removed burros from the giraffe row and righted sidelying meerkats. i faced the tortoises forward and separated the deer from the gazelles and she said YES, you can adopt and you can have a family and we want to help you have a child, as i put the tigers in a line.
it wasn’t supposed to be a parakeet.
i thought the tortoises were nice. they were heavy and fit right in my hand and symbolized patience and determination, and when i gave it to my child and said, look, i bought this for you at the beginning of your adoption story – let me tell you your story, i would move it slowly along the ground, like tortoises move. but the tortoises were seven dollars, and adoption is expensive.
so i bought the parakeet. ($2.49, if you’re curious.) it’s not even a flying parakeet. it just sits there, looking parakeet-ish. i’ll tell you what we call it, if you promise not to laugh. it’s the hopeakeet. (as in, can you get the hopeakeet out of the cat’s mouth?)
the hopeakeet has sat on the desk while we slog through piles of pre-homestudy paperwork and domestic infant adoption training. the hopeakeet will travel in a pocket or purse with us to this weekend’s seminar on pre-adoption education and transracial adoption issues. it will sit on the nightstand when our adoption worker comes to do our homestudy next month. it has been gripped in both of our hands as we cry together, wondering if we will ever have a family and children who live with us, this side of heaven.
and someday, we will give the hopeakeet to our rainbow baby and we will say, “look. we chose you. we waited for you. we hoped for you. here is your story.”
i will continue to write about our grief journey as it parallels our adoption journey. we are on both roads right now, a road of hope, and a road of loss (which, in a way, is also a road of hope). we ask for your thoughts and prayers as we enter this new phase of our family journey.