Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pi's Gotcha Day! (updated with note)

***Update Note: I am tempted to retroactively change this post. When I wrote I used the word "gotcha" without really thinking about it. After writing the post I read a post by an adoptee expressing negative reactions to the word, and I agreed it wasn't a good word. I wouldn't use it now. After consideration, I decided not to re-write my old posts. The blog reflects my journey: the good, the bad, and the unenlightened. Also, "Pi" is what Carl was calling himself for a while.***

I must call Pi and tell him "Happy Gotcha Day!" It was six years ago today that he was officially placed in our home!

Pi is special to me. I am grateful for all my kids, but there is a special gratitude for Pi. All the kids have enriched my life and I am grateful to and for all of them. But as it is Pi's "Gotcha Day" I am thinking about the very particular way he is special.

I am a careful and deliberative person. My college and graduate school, career choice and actual job, this house, my other children, even my marriage were all the results of ideas that first were casually considered, then investigated, then deliberated and finally decided upon. Oh, it might have been otherwise and I can think about the ways in which my life could have been otherwise, but when I go back and re-think those decisions there was nothing accidental about any of them. It makes perfect sense that I did what I did.

They make sense it the way that the major plot points of a book make sense. They are the natural results of all the plot points that came before. Of course that is what was going to happen. It could not have been otherwise. You could go back in time and change a hundred things large and small, and it still would have happened the way it did.

And that is the case for everything except Pi.

He was just a kid in my Sunday school class. He was my sons' favorite babysitter. I liked him, but I was not deeply attached to him. He was nothing more or less than this neat kid I knew.

We might not have gone to church that Sunday. We often don't. Sunday school was over and we had no obligations, but we went. He came over to us and told us that he was being moved and that he wanted to say goodbye to everyone at church because he thought this was the last time he would be able to see any of us. He was not singling us out. We were important to him, but no more so than several other families.

I sat through the service and heard an inner voice say, "Take him."

I had never thought of being a foster parent. It was not something that I had investigated and deliberated. There was nothing about my life so far that made this the next logical step. I had two children, already twice the average for women in my profession, and certainly all the children I intended to have. I had always wanted to have a daughter and had a few times day-dreamed about adopting a girl, but I knew those were fantasies that I would never act upon.

My first response to the thought was to dismiss it like all other crazy ideas. Become his parent! Sure I could do it. I could also quit my job and become a missionary. I could decide to take sky diving lessons the next day. I could do many wild and impulsive things, but I don't. I am a cautious and deliberative person. I don't take in stray cats; I'm certainly not going to take in stray teenagers.

But the thought would not go away, "Take him."

I told Hubby after church. I expected him to be the voice of reason. I expect him to tell me that sure it was a nice idea, but it was impossible. Our own lives were complicated enough. Instead he said, "I keep thinking the same thing."

And we did. We just did it. We jumped off the cliff. We acted impulsively..and not on a little thing. We did not decide for no good reason to go out for ice cream. We decided for no particular reason to become parents to a 16-year-old boy.

Most of my life is a journey that makes sense. Most of the people in my life make sense too. Of course they are here: my journey and theirs were headed in the same way. That our paths joined seems obvious and even necessary.

But Pi did not make sense. If all my children are precious gems, then all the others are gems that were handed to me. Pi though was one at the side of the path whom I might not have seen.

If I hadn't been paying attention, I would have missed him.

I called. We both cried.


  1. Happy Gotcha Day to you both. It's the anniversary of the day your life changed in a really big way.



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