I have spent a decentpasty of this vacation week dealing with various government agencies, and reliving some of the process we went through for Pipo's adoption. Six years later, we are still trying to make him a citizen of this country. But that is a story for another day.
I haven't spoken much on this blog about the technical part of Pipo's adoption. We didn't plan it, we didn't use an agency, we didn't follow the normal process, and because of all this it has been a long and difficult journey. It took almost a year to be granted the medical visa needed to get Pipo here from Haiti. It took a long 6 months to be granted formal guardianship after he arrived. It took a very long 5 years for the adoption to become legal. And who knows how long it will take for my son to finally be recognized as a citizen of the country he lives in now.
Going through this process puts me in a very grumpy mood. I hate the cold brick courthouses, the grouchy, overworked clerks, the dusty old files and paperwork that I need to search through. I was thinking about all of this as I lay in bed this morning, and wondering why it all puts me in a bad mood. I love Pipo, but this paperwork puts me over the edge.
That's exactly the problem. The paperwork that tells people he is my son. The government officials whose decision it was for him to become my son. The perfect strangers who hold those decisions in their hands. It's not right. Laws and paperwork and formal decrees are not what makes him my son.
He was my son the day I heard his name. He was my son the whole time his picture was on our refrigerator, waiting impatiently for him to arrive. He was my son when he stepped of the plane and into my husband's arms, a scared sick little boy who didn't speak a word of English. He was my son while I sat by his side in the hospital that whole first week he was here having scary test after test performed, and stabilizing his health so he could come home and join his new siblings. He was my son as I watched him build a relationship with each of those new siblings. He was my son when I walked him into school for the first time in his life, holding his hand and reassuring him it would be fine. He was my son during every rage I held him through, letting go little by little of all that anger bottled up inside at the unfairness of everything in his early life.
He is my son now. He is my son every time I take him back to that same hospital for his many, many doctor's appointments. He is my son when I stand behind him for over an hour re-doing his hair. He is my son when I make him do his homework. He is my son when he runs to hug me after winning a wrestling match. He is my son every time he asks me "what's for dinner?".
I know he had another mother in his early years. And I know with all my heart she is up there somewhere, incredibly proud of the young man he is becoming and giving me the blessing to be his mom now, here on earth. She has the right to give me that blessing. They don't. He's my son.