ashal emmanuel’s adoption story | part 2
when we were told on tuesday morning that we wouldn’t be able to meet our son until thursday afternoon, i was devastated. we had already missed the first week and a half of his life – his birth, coming home from the hospital, the time after birth when the baby’s face changes so much, first bottle, transition from meconium to normal poop, loss of his umbilical cord … so many missed milestones in only a week and a half. this tiny baby already had a history in which we, his parents, had no part, and i ached to envelope him into the love of his forever family and never let go. each hour felt like an eternity of separation from our baby.
but really, it wasn’t that much time. the rest of tuesday and wednesday were spent notifying friends and family, getting our legal and financial ducks in a row, updating my drivers license, meeting with our doctor to discuss the adoption (required by the agency), packing to leave, and freaking out. (mostly the latter.)
wednesday morning we tackled the boxes of baby things, untouched since being hurriedly packed up after sky’s birth. we had thrown clothes and accessories into boxes, barely looking at them, and that morning was marked with tears of ambivalence as we sorted through precious artifacts, selecting a few to bring. our friend anne, another adoptive mom, brought lunch, a baby outfit, and an encouraging presence.
somehow, by late wednesday, everything was packed and ready, and our friends jared and joi took us to the airport.
robert, our florida contact, texted us on wednesday night …
our one job on the plane was to come up with a name for the baby, which we did in between calming episodes of seinfeld. the conversations pretty much went,
“i don’t know, do you?”
“do you like my name suggestion?”
“let’s watch another seinfeld.”
during our layover in phoenix, i managed to use the internet access to find a list of popular haitian boy names, in which we found ash’s middle name. by the end of our flight we had a tentative name for our baby: ashal (ah-SHAWL) emmanuel.
somewhere in the southeastern united states the sun rose, and it was thursday. the day we had awaited for 4 days since learning about our baby, 12 days since he was born, 8 months since we began the adoption process, 12 months since we lost sky … 8 years of waiting for a child.
i was convinced that the plane would crash before the universe would actually allow us to become parents, but despite my dire predictions we landed safely in ft. lauderdale.
dazed after a night of no sleep, we checked into our hotel, hoping for a nap and a shower. for various complaint-worthy reasons that i will not waste space complaining about here, these things did not happen. and so, exhausted and slightly dirty, we left our hotel to complete a few last minute errands before our early afternoon appointment.
i was far too antsy to sit still, so i took bad pictures of strange birds while joel installed the carseat. i have a clear memory of the birdsong being much louder than i’m accustomed to. perhaps miami birds are particularly strident.after the eternity that was thursday morning, we finally arrived at the agency in north miami.
(the white car is our rental.)
the sun was too bright. the birds were too loud. our hands were shaking and our voices querelous. we were about to have a baby.