Engage

Dreams and Visions

Many moons ago when I had no kids of my own, I went to visit my sister who at that time had just one son. My four year old nephew had bunkbeds and he of course wanted Aunt Terri to sleep on the top bunk in his room with him. I obliged (how could I say no?).

Many moons ago when I had no kids of my own, I went to visit my sister who at that time had just one son. My four year old nephew had bunkbeds and he of course wanted Aunt Terri to sleep on the top bunk in his room with him. I obliged (how could I say no?).

In the middle of the night, I heard my sister come into the room to comfort him. He was up at his dresser trying to change clothes and crying softly–and apparantly had been there for a while before she heard him. He had wet his bed and instead of waking her or me, had tried to take care of everything himself. (I think he didn’t want his coolest Aunt to know he wet the bed.) My sister was loving and comforting, helping him change and get back in bed–all while knowing she had to wake up in just a few hours for work (she teaches school and had to wake around 5:00 each morning).

That scene broke my heart. Initially, I was sad because I hadn’t heard him crying soon enough to help him (remember this was pre-parenthood for me, back before your ears magically hear every little sound in the night!). Then, I was grateful thinking about the small but significant sacrifice my sister made in waking in the middle of the night to help him get things changed and get himself soothed back to sleep.

Hours later and still sleepless, the picture of my precious nephew trying to take care of himself in the middle of the night was still haunting me. Weeks later and still sometimes sleepless in the night, the picture of little boys the world over with some trouble in the night–a wet bed, a tummy ache, a bad dream–was still haunting me. What if there was no mommy in the next room to hear their cries? Who changed their sheets? Who gave them Pepto and a glass of water? Who hugged them and told them "it’s just a dream, your’e safe." What happens to those little boys for whom it is most certainly not just a bad dream and they are not safe in their mom’s arms?

Years later Darren and I were sitting at Quiznos in the Parks Mall eating supper and having our then usual conversation about kids. Were we ready to be parents? I was almost done with my Masters, we’d been married for almost 4 years…. but the little boys with no mommies were still haunting me.

And then I heard it being said OUT LOUD: "Maybe we should just adopt first?" But it was Darren who said it! It seems the little boys with no daddies were haunting him too.  About 18 months later we were in a little car in a little town in Russia, driving up through the ice to a not-so-little orphanage to meet our son for the first time. (In Russia they are called a "baby house" when they house children ages 0-3; our son’s particular baby house in his little town housed 300+ babies.)

I’m often asked, "Why did you choose to adopt?" And while much, much more went into the final decision, maybe I should begin my answer with: "Well it all started when my nephew wet his bed…."   


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