We’ve booked the flights and make the hotel reservations. We’re off to California in February. No, it’s not another trip to Napa for M and me, although that does sound delightful. This time, the three of us will be heading to San Diego.
We’ll be staying in the same hotel from our last visit, the trip when K was born. We’ll be doing a lot of the things we did the last time – Sea World, San Diego Zoo, the beach – and yes, we realize now those things are way more appropriate for a 14 year old than a newborn. What can I say? We were 3000 miles away from family and friends. We did the best we could, and we all survived. I consider that a success.
K isn’t sure if she wants to see the hospital, but as with most everything on this trip, it’s her call. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to see it either. Yes, I clearly remember walking out of that hospital with the world’s greatest gift. Yet I can never forget the girl, not much older than my K is now, who walked out with nothing. But, if K wants to go, we go. This is her trip, not mine.
We almost went last year but then the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Orlando and that took precedence over San Diego. That decision sums up the place adoption holds in our lives now. K determines its frequency and importance and we respond accordingly. We’re a long way from the days when I obsessed over how to respond to people who told me K looked like me. Should I respond immediately that K was adopted? Should I wait til I get to know them better? Is a simple “thank you” appropriate?
Adoption is the way K joined our family. Although we are forever thankful for that, it does not define us. We will visit her birthplace and we will remember those terrified thirty-somethings who had waited forever and then become parents overnight. We will remember waking up in the hotel each morning relieved we had kept K alive for one more day. We will remember the flight back home with a two-week old. And we will remember how we become the awesome family that we are.