I have a lot of writing to do - to talk about what it was all like. The phone call, the trip to Virginia, meeting Verity for the first time, the revocation period, these first 5 weeks. But I can't yet, I don't have the brain space, and everything is just rattling around fresh and raw and amazed.
What I can say, what I can say over and over and over again - because it keeps becoming really obvious everywhere I turn - is that people are wonderful, and we have so very much to be grateful for as 2012 comes to a close.
Newtown, CT is so much ugliness that I can't even speak about it, it's heart-shatteringly awful. But even as the news rolled in about that I felt I could speak with confidence about the light in people. They positively glow.
2012 was hard for us, heck, the past 5 years have seemed hard. I began to have a complex about the universe being out to get me, us, because in this one piece of our lives we could not reach comfort. We felt kicked, and kicked again, and then kicked some more. But that's gone now, the universe doesn't hate us (and no, cosmos, that's not an invitation). I know this because I saw the way people rallied around us when we needed them.
When we got the call and went into full-on panic mode, our community came forward. Friends scrambled to get our dogs to the vet, paperwork faxed, our house taken care of, my cat fed and (ack!) litter changed. Family and friends, and friends of friends - DOZENS OF THEM - donated to our adoption fund, making the scary scary expensive last minute travel doable. We could breathe because of the kindness and generosity of those around us. People offered lodging, and reached farther into their own circles to find us help. We drove pell-mell towards Virginia secure in the knowledge that whatever we left in our wake here at home would be taken care of, because people here loved us and were willing to show it.
Our daughter Adeline was safe and in incredibly loving arms with Ben's parents, with extra visits and love from the honorary Aunties. I knew whatever she needed she would have, because of that community. We missed her in a visceral way - the longest we've ever ever been gone, but we knew she was loved, and that made it doable.
When we got to Virginia and holed up in our hotel for the most frightening week of our lives, a woman named Patricia, whom we had never met - a friend of a friend of a friend - came to our hotel and loved on us, and arranged meals and little gifts for us every night of our stay. Strangers made us hot meals, sent clothing for Verity, cookies, little presents. Strangers who had no reason in the world to help us. We were all alone in that city and she made us feel like old friends, and when I needed to find something in Portsmouth, she made sure I knew where to find it. I feel certain she would have done whatever we needed her to, even with 4 children and a busy community of her own to tend to. She admired our daughter and heaped encouragement and support upon us. She was on fire with goodness and I will never be able to repay her kindness.
When we returned home we were met with a house that was so clean and good smelling. Festooned with pink streamers and ribbons, and snowflakes and pictures made by our dearest friend's children. There were gifts, and chili and rice and cornbread, and cards, and a banner that said WELCOME HOME. We felt so welcomed.
People keep saying that Verity is so lucky - as though she somehow benefits from being saved by our little family. This makes me laugh, because domestic adoption of newborns doesn't work that way - there was a long line of people that would have swept in to be Verity's parents if we hadn't said yes. Many of those families are probably wealthier or happier or better adjusted than we are, although I like to imagine that they weren't the Right family, because we are. I insist when they say she is lucky that no, we are the lucky ones, because Ben and Adeline I believe that we've won the lottery, we feel like we robbed a bank and they are letting us keep the money. This beautiful soul encased in the sweetest little brown baby is in our family now. Could we be luckier? But there is something that gives me pause in all of this. Maybe Verity is lucky - not because she was adopted - because let me be clear that we did not save her, but because she has brought out the very shiniest aspects of those around us. She has champions in every corner, and her first weeks seem to hold all of the auspicious signs that come with being born a Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac. She is lucky. All by her herself.