Tomorrow we meet with the caseworker for the boy who may one day be our son. A child who has no idea we even exist. Over the past few weeks I have tried not to think too much about him — to not obsess over the idea that we could be his parents — to stop myself from making something so uncertain real. But now with just 24 hours until the meeting it’s impossible not to feel all the feelings.
I am excited, anxious, afraid, hopeful, nervous, optimistic, nauseous, intimidated, confident, apprehensive, terrified and a hundred other words I’d list if I could find my thesaurus.
From the start all we were given was a basic narrative…and a photo. It’s the photo that gets you. It’s the photo that dares you to imagine a future of birthdays and Christmases and bedtime hugs. It’s the photo that teases you with a tomorrow that may never happen.
That photo. It invades your dreams. It speaks to you. It sometimes calls you Dad.
I have the photo on my computer, but I don’t look at it, afraid that I will go even further down the rabbit hole than I already have. Without the photo he’s just a collection of words; a story with a beginning, middle and an end. Without the photo I can close the book, put it back on the shelf.
Without the photo he’s not real.
Except he is real. And I’m in trouble because I have already imagined all the birthdays and all the Christmases and a lifetime of hugs. I’ve heard his voice call me Dad.
And that’s a problem. Because the caseworker might hate us. She might decide the other family is a better match, better suited to his needs. The simple fact is no matter how good we might look on paper or how well we might interview, we just might not be enough.
I’ve pictured a future with this boy — this boy I’ve never met. It feels real, but I know it’s not. At least not right now. But tomorrow is another story. Tomorrow it could be real…