The house we live in now is where I intend to spend the majority of my life. That’s a strange feeling. After I left my parent’s house I was in a constant state of moving, always thinking of the next place, unsure of what furniture to buy and then not buying any because, who knows, the next place may have a square dining room and I may want a round, not rectangular, table.
Paul and I have looked at hundreds of houses in the Seattle area. Perhaps I’m difficult to please but that’s a story for another post. There was one house that we almost bought. It had a style similar to ours, 1950’s era, modern architecture, with a view of the lake. It was badly in need of a remodel and while we waited for an architect to meet us, I asked the selling agent about the giant front porch swing that was sitting in the middle of the living room. He said the owner, an elderly woman who raised her children there, drove half-an-hour every morning to sit in this chair and stare at the lake. She planned to do this every day until the house sold.
Then the architect came rushing in carrying on about plans to raise the ceiling ten feet and remove the wall that separated the living from the dining. I couldn’t do it. When I looked over the old green carpets, I didn’t see dirt and ick, I saw kids in soccer cleats and muddy dog prints. I didn’t want to paint over this woman’s childrens’ growth charts. I didn’t want to be the one to take this away from her.
We’ve been in our house for nearly three years now and I frequently think about the past owners, especially when I’m working in the yard. That’s where I see their choices, their personalities most clearly. I also think about the future owners. Who will buy this house from us?
I wonder who will comment on the wear patterns in our hardwood floors, the path worn from the stove to the sink to the fridge. Who will frown at and sand out the dog scratches where her toenails raked around the corner of the cabinets frantic to get to her dinner? Who will curse me for the navy blue walls in my bathroom? Whoever it is, I hope they understand that this place, all of it, is my growth chart.
Have you ever had everything come together at once? A book deal (I just can’t use those words enough), completion of a big work project, a well-behaved (mostly) child, a memory full of holiday merriment, and a wedding to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. You’re filled with happy clichés. Everything is on the up and up. The sky is blue and the world is smiling with you.
Sure, you’re celebrating, but you’re hesitant about getting too comfortable in this happy place. You know enough to know that things will come around again. Not that everything will end in tragedy, but that there will be a natural, maybe even gradual, swing back to boredom, melancholy and/or irritability.
Then you get a call – a message on your voicemail from someone who shouldn’t be calling you, someone who, if she is calling, cannot possibly have good news. Just like that, the sky is not so blue. You’re reminded that things are not on the up and up for everyone. The world isn’t smiling with you.
Then you’re back in that familiar place of wishing you could do more to help and hoping that she knows she’s loved.
1. Talk to friends and friends of friends about their experiences.
2. Try not to get lost driving around foreign neighborhoods looking for a community center that will host the Journeys of the Love, Hope, Heart, Blessed-Child’s Dream of the Christ’s Open Adoption agency meeting.
3. Ask the social workers what programs/countries will let you adopt if you are single, over 40, in a same-sex relationship, and/or a cancer survivor.
4. Choose the agency that can answer your question.
5. Get fingerprinted, background checked, dig up the value of your house, find pay stubs, photocopy bank statements, get friends to write references, find your dog’s vaccination records, have the pet store where you purchased your fish sign an affidavit of its health, make a list of every illness you’ve ever had, dig up the name of your third grade teacher who could verify that indeed your favorite color was lavender, make a list of your stuffed animals and their names and how well you took care of each and every one of them, and promise, that if they could talk, they would guarantee that, if given the opportunity, you’d be the bestest mother ever. Click here to read the rest…