Images are a powerful and integral part of my life. Images perceived with my physical eyes are just as potent as the images in my rather over-active imagination. At times this make-ableeb (my pronunciation for make-believe when I was a Mr. Rogers watcher) world exists as a completely real-to-me parallel universe. Images are realty, vitality and therapy.
When I knew that I was going to meet the parents of my… of one of the dearest boys in our House of Dreams I was less than happy. (Gasp!) I know, I know. I could blame it on being overwhelmed and fatigued from the move. That could have been a contributing factor. More than that was that nasty selfishness that got in the way. I wanted the kid to stay with us. He literally lights up the room. I didn’t want to have to face the change. If you want to know the absolute bare bones truth I was sulking because I wanted my adoption to be happening instead of theirs. Horrendous jealousy trying to rear its head again.
I forced myself to be a good host when I met them on Monday. I probably failed miserably. We will just blame their coolness on fatigue from their travel, the stress of meeting their child for the first time, maybe some Frenchness and just outright culture shock. There are so many factors swirling around in moments like these.
As I left the House of Dreams Monday night I knew that things had to change – fast. I had to act fast. Repentance breeds creativity. After God and I got things settled an idea hit me. I had spent Monday morning emailing tons of photos to the parents of one of our kids adopted earlier this year. (If pixels can be weighed in tons there were literally tons of pictures.) It was fun to be able to do that for them. The disc we sent with them didn’t read on their computer. I am so grateful that we have a constant contact with that lovely family so far away in Europe. So as I pulled up to my own home sweet home I had the idea of getting developed the pictures we have of J.D. for this, also lovely, French family. They had brought pictures of their life in France to show their son and us, so I knew they would appreciate pictures of their boy’s life here in Bolivia.
That evening I let the images of this little man be therapy to me. The tears came as I cropped and labeled, copied and saved. As I prepared the file I prayed for him, them and us. I decided to start treating them I hope to be treated when my time comes. I scoured even the most obscure folders on my hard drive to be sure not to miss one stray shot of their son.
The next day I got the pictures developed. I was a bit disappointed that I could only find 28. The sweet boy has been with us for almost three years. Note to self – take so many more pictures of the everyone.
I entered the home with my package. After the double kisses on the cheeks I pulled it out and handed it to them. Then we sat draped with a dozen kids as I told them about their son. They made me think hard to be able to write names and dates on the backs of the pictures. I gladly did so. They asked about special friends and made their French mouths pronounce the names. I pointed out that his favorite color is yellow, in almost every shot he is wearing a yellow shirt. J.D. smiled and pointed as we went through the pictures. His friends laughed as they saw themselves beside him in the images.
It was a good time. I was genuinely very happy for them. It was real.
This is something that I want to do for all the adoptive parents. Really, though, I will be doing it for me. For me images are realty, vitality and therapy.