City Lights

I don’t have to write letters to my children anymore, because they are already over the excitement of seeing their own names on the blog.  Besides, instead of writing me back, they drew me pictures which they showed me on FaceTime and left on my chair at home.  That’s makes correspondence a little challenging.  At least we tried!  They are so funny.

Already, I write about them less, because they are getting older, and so have more of a say in what is shared or not, and mostly it is their story to tell.

I went to sleep at about 830 last night, and slept until 6 this morning.  I was so tired!  This was really hard work!  Besides carrying books, I am way too introverted to be meeting a gazabillion people and chatting them up all day.

That said, I really did try hard, and met some amazing people.  The exhibit booth next to me was another book – that one an adoption book from the baby’s perspective – and they are Jewish!  He was a prison chaplain, so we had lots of sharing.  They were very nice, and taught me a lot about selling books, and maybe I helped them a little, and I am really glad to call them my new friends by the end of the week.

Others who took the book that were fascinating to meet were caseworkers trying really hard, attorneys fighting to make a difference, someone from the State Department, some Senators, a few physicians, someone from the Dave Thomas Foundation, someone from the Creating Families show, people on the National Adoption Council, and all kinds of others that are doing amazing work!

And there I was, doing autographs for them!

It was the strangest thing, and so humbling!  One of my new attorney friends said I should be taking my picture with all of them, but I was uncomfortable with that and don’t much like pictures anyway, and wanted our moments to be authentic.  Also, I know they are super busy and doing real work and I didn’t want to take too much time.

I just felt it, and thanked them, and autographed their books and handed them over.

It was kind of surreal.

But once the books were all sold, and once people had all figured out it was just easiest to get the book on Amazon so that they weren’t even needing help ordering it from the website anymore, then I was done.  My back was hurting so bad, and my eyes could not see.  My blurred vision is really bad sometimes, though the redness hasn’t come back in a long time, so I am grateful.  The pressure hurts, though, and I wish they could find what infection is going on and get rid of it.  But that’s better than cancer, right?  So I don’t want to murmur about it.

I am getting old is part of it!  My gray hairs are filling in my temples, more every day.  I think I better get wise fast if I am going to look so elegant and clever some day!

I came back to my room early tonight, and not able to change my flight any earlier, of course, so will just take the time to rest.  I will be very glad to get home tomorrow, but it won’t be until late after the children are asleep.  Then I work the 24 hour Sunday shift at the hospital, so I still won’t see the children until after school on Monday!  Then I leave again for my annual week in Utah, and so my heart is heavy for missing them, no matter how funny they are on FaceTime. Maybe more so because of that.

I had to call Nathan back an extra time tonight, though, because I got scared!  My eyes could not see well enough to read scriptures, and I had already listened to some talks, and needed to lay and rest my back.  So I flipped through the television a little, which seems like a treat since we don’t have it at home, but the only thing on were crime shows.  I do so much forensic work that this is always interesting to me, but one was more about the drama than the crime and really spooked me!  Right as I was getting nervous enough to turn it off, people (who I assumed had been drinking) came whooping and hollering past my door!  It startled me so much I jumped up to the window of my room, and watched the lights of cars driving by to calm down as I waited for Nathan to answer the phone.

My hotel is on the corner of Canal and Bourbon street, so there is plenty to see!  Goodness.  I have not felt it wise to go out by myself after dark, both because of exposure to that which is not good for me and just for safety sake, so I have enjoyed my rest these nights.

But I know Nathan is there, working hard all day – he has finished two interactive plays in only two weeks – and then picking up all the children and working hard all evening with them.  He is doing so great, and talks to them so gently, and being so patient even when they are little punks.

Minions, I say.

I learned a lot about post-adoption issues from this conference, so I am excited to share things with Nathan and get more ideas and resources to help as we try to race these children best we can.  There is a big movement to stay connected to biological families, as much as it is safe and not disruptive to development, so it felt good we were doing some things right.  Other things we are doing right, too, so it is a relief to gain some confidence, even though there are still so many things for us to learn and all of it to practice.

I just want to speak more kindly to them.  I do try, and it’s not that I am mean.  But we have had to be so firm for so long about different boundaries and enforcing structure and routine and behavioral plans of therapists who don’t have to live with us… this has given me a new taste of the impact of therapy on families, by the way.  I appreciate those things, and know they have helped us in season, and I know they still need to experience the natural consequences they choose and that result from their behaviors and interactions, and I know it isn’t my job to be their “friend”, but a parent with limit setting and boundaries.  But oh!  I do love the tender moments, and sometimes get tired of being the bumper pad in the bowling alley, just trying to make sure everyone gets some pins knocked down.  Sometimes I just want to play, to relax, to enjoy their company and not miss these treasured moments that we will never get back – especially since now I am back at the hospital and away from home on tour for the book.  They are what is most important, no matter what.

And my sweet Nathan.  I was so proud to share about him and to tell our story, and people who got the book early had already read our story by today, and everyone came by crying and congratulating us and in awe of our story.  Because it really is that magical, and he really is the exact right one for me, and we really have been through so much.  But mostly we just are happy because we choose love, which means choosing to work hard, and choosing to serve, and choosing to do the things that bring blessings so rich as the love we have.  He is amazing, and I love him, and I miss him.

Even in the city lights, which make me think of our time in New York together, that week before we got married… which makes me imagine how hilariously different it will be when we go back again someday with the children, when they are a little more ready (and toilet trained).

I don’t know how we will ever do it, this raising of our family.

I just know the spirit of God is with us, and we just live today.

Tomorrow will happen soon enough, with city lights faded like the echo of a memory.

Posted in Life permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Comments are closed.