I have discovered the need of certain survival mechanisms to make it through the adoption process. Most of them are quite silly and ridiculous, but would you really expect anything less from me? One such mechanism is calculating how many more months we need to save money to be able to afford to adopt a little brother or sister for Marcus. I know, silly. Particularly because Marcus isn't even home yet. However, it gives me some incentive to get me to come to work everyday, and makes me feel better about the time I am going to be at work instead of at home with Marcus. Only eight more months to have enough money! (Okay, so that will only work if we can get free trips to Guatemala to visit and pick up Marcus because I didn't bother to factor that part in.)
Yesterday while watching Oprah, I had this sudden flash of a daydream. I have let it materialize into a wild fantasy which of course I had to write out in great detail. Laugh if you want. But then sit back and admit that you all have these crazy fantasies too, you just aren't brave enough to write them out and post them on the internet. Only someone as silly and ridiculous as me would do something like that. So here it is:
There I was, lying on my couch, watching Oprah and the doorbell rings. A little irritated that I have to miss part of the show I make my way to do the door. I cant believe what I see. Standing there is Oprah with her filming crew! I start to cry because that is just what I do. Then I hug her. She asks me what I am doing and I tell her that I was watching Oprah! Then she tells me that someone informed her that I have a slight infatuation with Africa and elephants and she wants to see my collection. I give her a quick tour, saying little because I am so nervous and the cameras are rolling (and my hair is a mess!). Then Oprah tells me that she wants to make my dream come true and she has arranged to fly me to Africa for a safari to actually see elephants in the wild like I have always dreamed of. I have 20 minutes to pack. Because my mind always thinks way too logically I tell her I cant go without Greg. Then, getting off the Wildest Dreams bus comes Greg. He knew all about it! However, I tell her I cant go and just leave Peyote, my dog. Then Amanda comes off the bus! Oprah had picked her up and she agreed to watch Peyote while I take this trip. The packing frenzy begins and Greg and I are running around like crazy, throwing things into suitcases while Oprah barks at us, telling us things we cant forget to pack. "You have shorts? Throw in something a little dressy in case! Got sunscreen? Should probably put in a bathing suit too. Go go go!!" We all get on the bus - Oprah, film crew, Greg, Amanda, and Peyote. We make a stop to drop off Amanda and Peyote. Then we are off to the airport to get on Oprah's private plane. It is then that it hits me. I cant just go. I have a job! But my mind is put at ease because Oprah tells me that her producers contacted the HR department and arranged for me to take some time off work. But wait! I was supposed to meet up with Val in a few hours to go to Brian's. I call Val. "Umm... Val... Yeah... I am not going to be able to make it tonight... I am so sorry... But you are not going to believe what is happening. I am going to Africa! ...yeah... really! I am sitting here next to - you aren't going to believe this - next to Oprah! She came to my house and now we are on the way to the airport to catch a plane to Africa for a safari!!... No I couldn't make this up... Here, let me put Oprah on the phone." Oprah talks to Val for a few minutes and when she hangs up I realize I need to call my parents! Oprah tells me to hold off a bit, we are almost to the airport and I can call them when we are in the air. Could this really be happening? I look at Greg and he is just smiling seeing me so happy.
We get to the airport, drive right up to Oprah's plane, and quickly we all get out of Wildest Dreams bus and make our way onto the plane. (Of course the plane is draped with a banner that says, "Welcome to your Wildest Dream, Annie".) I have never been on such a luxurious plane. The seats are huge, leather with more leg room then I have in my own family room. We take our seats and instantly people are at our sides offering drinks, snacks, or even a meal if we are that hungry. I cant even think, let alone eat! The excitement starts to subside, just slightly, and I remember to breathe again. The plane begins to move, starts to taxi its way out to the runway, and in no time we are in the air and on our way. And that is about the time when everything changes yet again.
Oprah approaches Greg and me and explains that she is really sorry, but she lied. We are actually not going to Africa because she knows that that is really not my Wildest Dream. My Wildest Dream is something so much simpler yet something so much more dear to my heart than anything else in the world. I look at Greg for some clarification but he looks as dumbfounded as I am. He says he thought we were going to Africa. That is what he was told. Oprah says that no, we are going somewhere completely different. We are going to Guatemala to complete the adoption of our son Marcus.
My heart stops.
I am able to take one big cleansing breath and when I let it out, it comes out in a huge sob of joy that I never knew could have existed.
The rest of the flight is a blur. I cry. I laugh. I call my parents and Greg call his. I worry. We aren't ready! We hadn't packed any of this things!
don't worry, Oprah says. Everything is being taken care of. When we arrive we will be showered with clothing and diapers and anything else that we might need for our stay. And as we spoke, yet another crew of Oprah's people were at our house, unloading all the things we had registered for, assembling what needed assembled, and preparing the nursery so we could just come home with Marcus and enjoy being a family. The tears start again but I know that none of what I am feeling would even be comparable to the moment when Marcus is placed in our arms.
We touch down in Guatemala and take another bus together to the hotel where we are be staying. Like an instinct that only a mother could have, as soon I walk into the lobby my eyes move towards the woman that is holding my son. I just know it is her. And I know it is him. He is placed in my arms. I thought I was out of tears but there they are again. I am filled with love that I never imagined could exist. Greg and I hold on to each other and to Marcus and know that we would never let go.
But the story doesn't stop there. Oprah introduces us to our interpreter and we get to talk to the foster mom for a bit. Oprah tells us of the plans that she has arranged during our stay in Guatemala. The following day we have to go to court to make the adoption official. We have several days to just hang out and get to know each other and one day of site-seeing around Guatemala. And then we will return. Then she announces even more good news. She is giving Marcus a full scholarship to any college he wants to attend in the years ahead of his bright and fulfilling future. I felt surrounded by love and riches but really only had one thing to thank Oprah for. I hug her and thank her for making my wildest dream come true - I am a mother.