Over Christmas break Lauren attended a ski camp out of town for 2 nights. 10 inches of snow fell the morning they were suppose to leave to come home. The night before, I confirmed her ride home with a trusting parent.
The day I expected her home, Lauren called that morning and the first words that came out of her mouth were, "come and get me! So and so's dad is not coming now because of the weather and I don't want to be stuck here!" She had great anxiety and desperation in the tone of her voice.
As her mother and one looking forward to her returning home, my heartstrings pulled hard that morning. My first instinct was to get in the car and go get her. But it would be too much of a risk with the current weather conditions.
After consulting with other concerned parents, we began making plans for our kids to stay one more night. I spoke to Lauren on her cell phone several times throughout the day with updates on the weather and lodging preparations.
I offered her as much reassurance and encouragement I could throughout the morning. During our last conversation together, her cell phone went dead but she was ready to settle in and accept the fact that she will not make it home. But being 'cut off' from one another, I could no longer give her comfort or reassurance.
Then, early that afternoon, I got a call from another parent who just received word that the team decided to drive home after all. They had just enough seat belts between all the cars. This caused most parents to become even more anxious, those who had teenagers driving and those, like me who has a child riding with teenage drivers. Not that I don't trust teenagers - it's just that they don't have as much experience driving in this type of weather.
Well, after much concern, our team arrived home safe.
I keep thinking about Lauren's words of panic that one snowy morning: "Come and get me!" When I received her phone call, I hung up and cried. Sadness overwhelmed me. I can't forget my feelings from that day.
In the past few months, each time I think about our son, I am almost always on the verge of tears. I think about how hard it is to wait, not knowing his condition, not being able to communicate with him and I don't even know his face.
I think about the transition time when he will not have anyone to call daddy or mommy. This is the time he will spend in an institution with several other children who are also waiting for their forever family.
Our agency has a list of children waiting for families. Most of these children have medical concerns or are older, making it harder to find them a family. For one, there is a sweet 5 year old boy living in our agency's orphanage in Addis Ababa. He has been living there for 3 years. He has autism. During his 3 years at the care center, he has watched more than 700 kids leave with their forever families. I often think about this child and wonder how many anxious moments he has had waiting for his family. I think about how he doesn't have anyone to call family and he doesn't have anyone to call at all to come pick him up.
Friends of ours adopted a toddler boy from China. A few months after being home with him, he asked his father why it took him so long to pick him up.
After we receive the referral of our son, it will be 3 more months before we travel. This wait for a referral has been hard and now I'm starting to understand why adoptive parents say that the wait time between referral and travel is even harder. Once we know our son is waiting for us, I hate to see him wait much longer.