He will be nine in February. One video clip shows him haltingly climbing stairs and flashing a peace sign. Another captures a grin as he surprises the viewer with carefully worked arithmetic sums. We have known of his life for only 9 months, yet he has been waiting for a family for nearly 9 years. And next month, three of us will travel to China and return as four. Milo is coming home.
And...yes, I know. I have thought of each and every -- every -- scary scenario you might have imagined after reading the words above. And...yes. I know this won't be anything like our experiences in bringing home a baby or toddler. And...yes. I am afraid. If I didn't truly believe that the God of the universe didn't have a plan for this child's life, then I would stay beside my woodstove with a stack of library books and a safe plan for the remaining days of winter. Because none of this is safe and tidy. And I love safe and tidy. We weren't planning on this. Yet, here we are, laughing that the most scripted of all ventures -- an international adoption -- is our "surprise pregnancy." And...yes. I have thought about the impact on the children in my home. I don't know what the future holds. But, this I do know. Five children have saved up chore money, helped build him a bed, learned some basic Mandarin, gathered favorite toys and made space in their rooms, in their hearts, for a kiddo they have yet to meet. I am aware that he is already having an impact on them. And I am so grateful.
On February 11, we will fly to Beijing, bringing with us our Monte. At fourteen, he is looking me in the eye these days, and we are thrilled that Milo will first learn from him what brother means. Our bags are half-packed -- medications (that we pray we won't need), comfort foods, Monte's balloon-tying supplies, the start of our stack of books, including Chinese Cinderella by A. Yen Mah, The Crunch-Time Guide to Parenting Language for Chinese Adoption by LaMons & Diggins, and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I don't feel ready, and yet...I feel like we have been waiting for this day for years.
I wasn't thirty when we first applied to adopt internationally. We had planned, so long ago, to adopt from China. And, yet, my age was an issue...I was too young. As that door closed, Vietnam opened, and our MyLinh entered our lives and hearts. She will be nine this year. And ever since we first said "yes" to China, Milo has been waiting. Finally, we are on our way.