This is a week of anniversaries, of remembering. Two years ago we were in Korea, meeting our youngest son. Last Saturday was the anniversary of getting on the plane to Korea. Monday was the anniversary of meeting him for the first time. This Saturday will be our second family day.
But today? Today’s occasion is different, and somehow even more special. Today marks the day that Matthew has lived with our family longer than he’s ever lived anywhere else. Today is a day of permanence.
This isn’t an occasion I’m going to discuss with Matthew. Not right now, although as he gets older and feels more comfortable with his story, we will go there. (For now, the fact that he talks about being born in South Korea and being adopted is a huge thing.)
As I’ve come to learn with nearly every milestone in adoption, an occasion I’ve looked forward to with happy anticipation also brings sadness. I’m so happy that we have been able to provide permanence for him. And I’m also quite angry for him that it has taken 4.5 years to have this kind of permanence. It makes me sad to think of the first 6 months of his life–such an important time for attaching and bonding to someone, anyone, and he was let down. I think of the wonderful home that was provided by his foster family from the time he was 6 months until he was 2.5 and I feel terrible that he had to leave that.
But here we are. This is forever.
As the years go by, I see him settling in. It helps that we are a family big on traditions. At Christmas, I imagine him thinking–I remember this. We put a tree in the living room. We ride that train and meet Santa. Jingle the Elf visits us. We wear special pajamas and that one–that one right there is MY stocking. We get down the music box that Nuna gave me in Korea. We do this every year. I get it.
Or on vacation–Okay, we always drive to this same house. We turn in and drive over the rocks and over a bridge and I know this house! There are toys in a basket and I always sleep in THIS room. There is the pool and we drive to the beach and I remember. We do this every summer. I was here the last time we came and next summer we will come again. Together.
I won’t go all cliche and say that time heals all wounds, because it doesn’t. And while we’re on cliches, love doesn’t always conquer all, either. But I do see him healing. And in a way, time and love are both playing a part.
So today, I won’t mention this anniversary to him, but I will make him hoddeok as an after school treat……and I will pray that he feels the safe and warm feeling of forever in his heart.