I know expectant mothers are supposed to talk to their baby while it's in their womb, so that the baby becomes familiar with the mother's voice. You're not in my womb, but I still want to talk to you. I still want you to become familiar with my voice, to know the hopes and wishes I have for you before I ever meet you. My belly may not be growing, but my heart sure is. And so I've decided to write these letters to you, my baby, so that someday you can see what your journey into our family means to me.
Isn't it strange that there is still so much we don't yet know about each other? I haven't seen your face, and I don't know your name. You haven't heard my voice or felt the warmth of me singing you sweetly to sleep. I don't know if I'll be able to carry you on my hip, or if you'll be tall enough to wrap your arms around my waist. You don't yet know that you can trust your heart in my hands. And yet despite all of these unknowns, the idea of you is already alive within me.
For the past few months, baby, I've been chasing paperwork. Paperwork that will bring me closer to you. Now all of those papers are completed and neatly stacked in a pile, waiting to be mailed off. Finally, with all of those papers out of my way, I've allowed myself to really see you clearly. To feel you. You're with me everywhere now. Do you know how many songs on the radio remind me of you? The other day I was driving through the hills on the way home from Massachusetts, and Mumford & Sons came on (someday you'll love them). I had the windows down and the wind was whipping through my hair. I sang along at the top of my lungs. "And I will wait, I will wait for you." I looked like a nut and I felt like one too. But I was happy, and I felt you with me. I hope you like music baby, because our house is full of it. Your daddy and I can't wait to hear your little voice singing along with ours.
Speaking of your daddy, do you know that he and I talked about you on the night we met? It's true. We swiveled on our bar stools and talked until 2AM about life and all of our big "someday" plans. About you. I always go back to that moment in my mind, not only because it's when I knew your daddy was the man for me, but also because it's when we both realized our shared vision of the family we want to create.
There are so many people who are excited to meet you. You have family all across the country- from Oregon to Iowa to New York- who are eager to welcome you. You have three little cousins who can't wait to have dance parties with you, and an older cousin who will teach you how to fly model planes. You have a Nene who will surely cry the first time she sees you, and will spend the rest of her life spoiling you. And then there's your Auntie Ann. You'll spend many happy afternoons running around her house and giggling in her kitchen. There's lots of love waiting here for you baby.
As hard as it is to wait for you, I don't want to wish away your time in Ethiopia. I've been wrestling with that lately. As badly as I want to hurry up and bring you home to us, I also know that in a way, you're already home. Ethiopia will always be your first home. Your time there now is so important. Your country, your people, your first family... it's all being stitched into the fabric of who you are. That is something that I hope you will carry with you always in life.
I want you to know that one of my greatest wishes is that I could somehow meet your birth family. I wish I could embrace your mom and shake your dad's hand. I'm sure I would have tears streaming down my cheeks. I want to hear their stories and see their strength. I wish they could tell me about the day you were born, and that I could reassure them that we will take good care of you. I wish I could thank them for sharing you with us, and tell them how sorry I am that life isn't fair. I want them to know that we will always be part of the same family and that we plan to keep their memories alive in you.
And now, baby, it's time for me to end this first of many letters. I have to go round up the neighbor's chickens and feed their barn cat. I sure hope you like animals, because I'm already anticipating the day you can join me and help with the chores. Your little feet will crunch crunch crunch on the gravel beside mine as we walk out to the barn, hand in hand. Until then, I'll keep talking to you. Keep your ears and your heart open baby, so that you can feel my words sinking in.
Loving you from afar,