Saturday, 27 October 2012

11 Days-How this differs from last time...

We leave for China in 11 days…

I remember last time we were 11 days from leaving for China, in 2008 when we traveled to adopt J.  We were excited but also anxious.  Just saying “we’re going to China” was so exciting.  We had packed and repacked, changed our minds a million times about bringing this, that or the other thing.  While the excitement continued to mount, the pressure did too.  Imagine the anxious days just before you became a parent-those days when you wonder if your child will be born healthy or not, how you’ll know what to do, how your life will change, who you’ll be able to call on for help, how you will learn aaaaaaaaaall the things you need to know how to do-change a diaper, feed your child, even how to hold him or her- and all the other questions new parents ask themselves.  Now combine that with the stress of having to be in a foreign country as you try to answer all of these questions.  Imagine if you’d had to leave for the hospital knowing that you have to have to have everything you “might” need in a suitcase that weighs less than 40 lbs.  And add to that the fact that your child could very well have eczema, diarrhea, lice, fever, be teething, not like to eat, not like to drink with the bottle(s) you've presented to him or her, be constipated, or a whole ton of other issues that you’ll have to resolve from the items you've brought.  Now up the ante-Imagine if everything you had to bring for you, your spouse and your new unknown child for 2 ½ weeks had to fit in 2 suitcases not exceeding 40 lbs each…

So THAT was stressful.

Now- how do I feel about our trip this time around?  Let’s see.  Firstly, I already know the awesome, amazing, thoughtful, kind, reasonable, sweet kid I’ll be traveling with (fully recognizing that my descriptions of her are likely to change a bit-or a lot-during this trip), and I also know her current excellent (knock on wood) health status.  I know how to deal with her basic needs, and I know what makes her tick (and ticked off! Ha!) and I can talk to her to prepare her for what is about to come.  So in terms of uncertainty, I can focus on the real uncertainties a trip of this kind exposes us to.  We know this will be a sensorial experience and a half!  The sounds, smells, images and physical sensations we will experience will be so very different than they are at home.  And isn’t that what makes a great trip?  

So all that to say that I’m excited about being 11 days away from our trip.  And while I recognize that it is likely to come with some pretty impressive challenges, this will definitely be a very different experience than last time.  I expect I’ll have to “think on my feet” a lot more in this trip, and address issues that are much more emotional in nature.  But in the grand scheme of things, that’s progress, isn't it?  The way I see it, it means that J’s basic needs are fully met.  Once you can stop worrying about basic needs and can move on to emotional fulfillment, you’re in good shape.    

I know there will likely be tired and hungry tantrums, emotionally overwhelmed meltdowns, and feelings of loss of control.  But there will also be, I hope, feeling of overwhelming joy, amazement and elation, as well as , if we’re lucky, one or two moments of feeling that we are exactly where we should be.  I still have the butterflies when I get to say “We’re going to China”.  So there are definitely some things that will be exactly like last time….  J

No comments:

Post a Comment