I flew halfway around the world to pick up my daughter and it made me realize how much I love my son.
6 plane rides, 60 hours in the air and airports, 14 days in horrible polluted Chinese air, 6 government office buildings, 1 7 hour bus ride to an orphanage, all for 1 little baby girl. My wife and I spent over 4 years in this process and we finally had our daughter. I was excited for her from the first day my wife and I spoke about adoption to when we brought her back to hotel room that first night we had her, laid her down to sleep for the night in the crib, and we all slept. But then we woke up….
The next morning when my wife and I started to engage our new daughter and begin to see her personality unfold, I was deeply struck with some of the worst stress and fear I have ever felt. Oh my God, what have I just done? What if this decision was awful? What about my amazing wife and son?
It has brought tears to my eyes every day since. I vowed to myself that my brother’s passing was the last time I’d cry, what could be worse than that. And that’s what hit me. What if I just ruined my son’s life? Or my wife's? What if my family will now be a complete mess? Of course this could happen anyway, regardless of our new daughter. But often, stress and fear is not based in logic or rational thought. I am supposed to be there for my son, to try to give him the world, help him be happy with himself, confident with himself, respectful of himself and others, to be fun, to be nice, to be honorable. And did I just ruin that by bringing an emotionally maladjusted little girl home?
Gunner is amazing. Sure he has toddler traits and does some less than desirable behaviors but he is 2.5 years old. For a kid his age, he is simply fantastic. He listens, he communicates, he plays quietly and creatively on his own, he plays happily with others, he playfully engages friends and family, he gets excited brilliantly at new things and fun things, he is cheerful and delightful, he is polite and sweet, and he is all these from wake up to eyes closing at night. He is our perfect son.
My wife tells me it’s the sleeplessness of last 19 days since I have gotten an average of 3 hours of choppy in-and-out sleep per day in this stretch. But it feels like a ton of bricks dangling, a guillotine swinging, a judge and jury, all hinged upon my ability to do right for my family.
When my brother passed, I would tell others who were also suffering all the clichés in the book, to help comfort…. yada yada yada all crap. Clichés are blanket truths applicable to all scenarios, which make them completely irrelevant to your own personal intimate scenario. Your pain is not solved by a generic coffee table book comment. I tell myself these clichés daily now, try to empathize with my new daughter's plight but there is only one hard sad truth of our first week home….
Our first moments with our new daughter....