We will leave that room legally and permanently bound to one another as a family.
*Everything* will change in the court room and *nothing* will change in that court room.
YH will enter the room as a Korean citizen; he will leave as an American citizen.
YH will enter with the names chosen by his firstmother (including her family name); he will leave with those names still intact, plus two others.
YH will enter as a ward of our adoption agency; he will leave as our dependent.
YH will enter as an only child; he will leave as the brother of two incredibly proud older siblings.
I will enter the room as the mother of two, and leave it as the mother of three.
Of course I have been a mother of three for close to two years now--it was in early December 2010 that YH's tiny face first etched itself on my heart.
Over the last six months my feelings for this child have grown in depth and complexity. Loving him is work--the most meaningful, incredible work I have ever done. This is not to say that he is hard to love; anyone who has seen him smile falls a little bit in love with YH. Rather, providing the love that he deserves has challenged me to work harder at parenting than I ever have before.
Prior to taking custody the "work" was a largely solitary, academic pursuit. I bathed in the theoretical. I read parenting books, books on prenatal alcohol exposure, books on toddler adoption. I joined every forum and yahoo group I could find. It was my intention to stuff my brain with so much information it couldn't help but trickle down to my heart.
Then a real live little boy was placed in my lap.
A beautiful little boy, with a crooked grin and a lumpy head.
A beautiful little boy with myopia and enormous feet.
A beautiful little boy whose laughter is nothing like the rage-filled tantrums I had prepared for.
A beautiful little boy who resembles none of the worst case scenarios in my books.
And I was lost.
What do I do with this perfectly imperfect boy?
How do I meet his needs?
Why does he run to me and hug me tightly? Why does he pinch my cheeks and honk my nose? Why does he say "Mama I love you"?
When will the grief and rage come?
The marvel of YH's character is that *despite* the incredibly crappy hand that he has been dealt, he approaches each new situation with unbridled enthusiasm. He finds a friend wherever he goes. Every new food is an opportunity to discover something delicious.
"Mmmmm! MOM! Mmmmm!"
(and then he offers me a bite, so I can experience his joy too)
He does not hold a grudge. He shares toys willingly. He appreciates the beauty of a tiny baby and a friendly dog. Every flower petal is a thing of wonder and a large cactus will make him stop in his tracks and shout "WHOA!"
YH makes me want to be a better person.
So tomorrow afternoon in court I am going to recommit to being the best I can be for my family--my whole family. In truth this proceeding will simply change YH's legal status--but I choose instead to view it as my opportunity to make a promise to my husband, my big kids, and my littlest love.
I am going to appreciate how each one of my children brings something different to our whole: Miss A's athleticism, leadership and sharp intellect; Sweet Bubs gift for comedy, his sensitive heart and his gentle nature; and now YH with his joy for the tiny details in life, with his belly laugh that makes us all giggle, with his unbridled hugs for those he loves.
I am humbled to parent these children, to do right by them.