I spoke with my new case worker, Andrea, and the Ethiopian team leader, Lisa, this morning about whether I should up my age range or not.
Lisa started by asking if I had talked about this with my family and friends, and what their thoughts were. "Everyone, with the exception of one person, says go for it -- raise it to 24 months."
The one person, Lesley, my best friend from Baltimore, said "don't compromise on what you want."
And Lisa focused on that. "This is a person who knows you better than most, right? If you raise your age, we want you to be in a place where you're not compromising, you need to be comfortable with the decision."
She told Andrea that before my adoption wait, the process to have a baby goes back three years, with 13 failed attempts. And that's when I was completely caught off guard with my emotions and started to cry. It was foreign to me because I haven't had a "baby cry" in so long, and yet it wasn't entirely unfamiliar. "You've been through a lot, and you're still going to mourn what you gave up. And figure out how you were able to stretch emotionally from giving up having a biological child to adopting."
It felt good to have someone acknowledge that of course it still hurts. I don't think people get that. Or they do and they just don't know what to say, so its easier to ignore. And I told her that the fact that I was giving up a biological child wasn't it. It was the chance to experience pregnancy, to carry the child, to hear the first cry, to be the first one to hold it -- and that was what started the real tears -- because I hadn't expressed that in so long.
So we talked about how I did make the jump from infant to one-year-old. And I guess it's because I accepted that I would miss some milestones, but that there would be so many more that I would be able to experience with a baby, even if it's not an infant. Possibly first steps, first words. Possibly, not guaranteed I know, but still possible.
And then I told her that I have a three-year-old in my life -- my nephew Andrew -- so I know what three looks like. And I know how absolutely yummy he is. But then I admitted that maybe he was even yummier a year ago.
And she said, "you've been in his life for the past three-and-a-half year, you know what it took to form him to where he is now. Can you accept not having that? Not having impact on those years? Now certainly, you'll have lots of way to impact and form and influence and be the mom...."
And I knew then, what I kind of knew going into the conversation, but needed to talk out. I've stretched myself already. I have whole-heartedly embraced adoption and can't wait to get my hands on my baby, but that's what I want -- a baby.
And so, I thanked them for the therapy session, ended my call, checked the mirror above my desk and took a deep breath. Zero to 18 months, it stays.