Almost 4 years ago, I jumped on the mom blogger bandwagon to write a few letters to my then-baby Hannah. I revisited this one and this one today and smiled as I recounted our nighttime routines and how much I worried about leaving tiny Hannah when I returned to work. I remember these letters flowing easily. I imagined Hannah reading them as a teenager and rolling her eyes and then-maybe…with some luck-reading them as an adult with amusement. The letters weren’t an introduction. I write as if I’m actively getting to know Hannah, which I was.
Last week, Adam and I sat together to write another sort of letter. We wrote a letter to our son, an introduction of our family, and an announcement to Eli that he has a family and we’re coming-SOON-to bring him home. It’s safe to say, I’ve written A-L-O-T. Over ten years of college papers, a dissertation, and several years as a freelance writer. Still, I can say with certainty that this was the most challenging letter I’ve ever written.
How do you introduce yourself to someone you love so dearly but have never met?
How would you describe your family….to someone who will join it!?
How do you tell a little boy from a million miles away that you know it will be scary and sad for him to leave everything he’s known…but you will help him in any way that you can?
We had 600 words and 10 pictures to answer these and so many other questions.
In addition to the lofty questions, there are the practical ones! We don’t want to scare him or think that if we mention we love to swim and he hates it that he’ll have to swim! We wanted to use this opportunity to prepare him for this monumental transition but it was also a maddening battle of second-guessing. What if Obie’s bat-like ears and always-showing teeth terrify him? What was the best caption to describe our wheelchairs? Is having your own room a good thing if you’ve always slept in a room with other children?
So many questions and so many answers that we won’t learn until we get to know our sweet boy. In the end, we tried to capture a few bits of information about our family that might help begin to build his bridge to a new world. We shared how he has a little sister who cannot wait to meet him. We shared that he’ll go to school, can play games/sports if he likes, and is already loved by so many. Our letter was translated late last week and we’ve been told, today is the day. Eli will receive our letter and see our pictures. He will finally know that he has a family. He is so loved and we’re coming very soon to bring him home.
Since Eli can’t yet read, we know he’ll learn a great deal about us by looking at the picture book we included with our letter. Here are a few (not all) of the pictures, we chose to send. We also included a few pictures of family members and our home.: