The Wait and Again: A 14-Year Journey to Adoption
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I believe from deep within my core that the instant she entered my arms, she understood that she was home. As I gently received her and placed her next to my heart, I whispered in her ear that I would hold her forever. And now, almost four years later, she will often announce, “Mom, today is holding day”—and every time she does, I still hold her and every time, I still think about that first promise.
She arrived without tears, but also without a smile. I found myself waiting yet again. And the minutes became hours and the hours became days. No smile. I remember on day three when I was even funnier than usual, she looked up at me and for less than a second started to smile, then quickly looked away with that almost-but-not-quite smile following her gaze, then fading away.
She wanted to smile but intentionally held back. In that moment I understood that she had to make sure that this was for real. She had to be cautious, and that caution was probably one of the early instincts she learned to survive.
But then, finally it happened on day five. We were sitting together in the same chair in an ‘Italian’ restaurant in the White Swan Hotel, where she began a neverending love affair with mozzarella cheese. She just smiled. It was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. We all smiled and then laughed for hours and days and now years. That long wait truly ended, especially for her, with the sweet surrender of that first smile. She was at ease and at peace.
It took her 14 months and me 46 years to find our “forever family.”
The above is excerpted from CARRIED IN OUR HEARTS: The Gift of Adoption: Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents by Dr. Jane Aronson with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin. Copyright Jane Aronson 2013; the book is due in paperback on April 17.