Then we got the word from the people over there, via the people in the Midwest, that, um, maybe we should be writing every week? To each kid, individually? And sending them each a copy of the book? And adding a bunch more photos to our letters? It was worded relatively politely, considering what raging idiots they must have taken us for. My only excuse is that we'd gotten our only bilingual friend (in that language) to help translate it, and that was kind of an imposition, and took awhile, and we were thinking we'd have to do that every time. But it turns out translating weekly letters from us is part of what we're paying them to do. And to be honest, that does help me feel better about the large sum of money we just disbursed to be sent to the overseas law center that our agency works with. I know enough about language and translation to know that even doing a half-assed job with our simple, kid-friendly writing is going to take someone a fair amount of time and effort. Don't get me started on the time I agreed to translate someone's poster-presentation paper for a conference she went to for her masters degree for what turned out to be about fifty cents/hour.
I like to write. I have been obsessing about our kids more or less constantly since we first got our referral. I was raring to go. My husband, however, does not think of himself as a writer. He also keeps starting conversations about things OTHER than the kids (but thankfully is never thrown when out of the blue I blurt something like "We need to get sheets" or "Swim lessons!" or "I wonder how the weather is there today?") So I was happily surprised when I walked in the door the day we got that email and he said, "Hey, do you want to write the kids tonight? I was thinking I could write Oak and you could write Willow, then tomorrow we can write the other one."
Because he's not so confident in his writing, he asked me to sit with him while he worked on his letter. It started out something like this, "Dear Oak. How are you? I think about you every day." That's pretty much when my eyes welled up with tears. He wrote on, talking about things he likes to do, things he hopes to share with our son, and ended up with "I promise we will always love you and take care of you." I was so undone by this. I know my husband is a tender, tender man. I know that just because he doesn't talk about and verbally process all his feelings doesn't mean he's not having any. (Side note--my family found out he existed the day he asked me on a date, when I called my sisters to announce how excited I was. His family found out I existed two months before we got engaged. His explanation? "Nobody asked.") I felt so honored to watch as he bravely put his love down on paper for a small boy we have yet to meet. He thinks about them every day. He knows we have no idea what life will be like with them, what demons they may fight, how long it will take them to trust us, how many ways they will test us or push us away. And he is promising to love them, no matter what, simply because they are children, now our children, and they deserve to be loved, no matter what.
It is so corny, but so true--watching my husband become a father makes me love him even more.