Five years ago today Sam’s adoption was finalized. For many, this moment is quite honestly more a of a formality than much else. A potent, and long awaited one, but normally, it is a given. We give it meaning. We invite others to join us in noting the event. We hand over our understanding of family, by definition, to the state for the day. (We grieve the omission of the birth parent’s name from the new birth certificate, and also welcome the appearance of our own.) We pop corks. We grab tissues. We exhale. We create ritual, or avoid it. We are surrounded by so much love.
We wake up the next day, and say; Was that it?
In our case, there was something more. But, because I am becoming increasingly aware of how Sam’s story and my story, are not one in the same, I am reluctant to say much more. He may feel rather resentful that not one part of his story, was his to reveal one day. (He knows that his mother is a writer, and that one of her favorite topics is him. But when will that stop being exciting, and start being intrusive?) One day, if he chooses to write about the story I told him, or his first mom shared, or maybe even his birth father, then he can tell you why our finalization was something more than just a forgone conclusion.
Last night we were reading our night night story. It happened to be a borrowed book, an ABC’s of Maine. The very last page, featured a pristine Maine scene of a line of skiers, all white, zooming down a pine dotted mountain. Under the heavy type set letter Z were the words Zip and Zoom. It was Sam’s turn to guess the picture, and the words (Chipper Chickadee, Jovial Jellyfish) and Sam touched the page and said; “zzzzzzzip and zzzzzzzzoooooooooommmm.” And just like that, my son read his first two words, without a damn bit of help from me. Almost five years to the day, that a probate judge read his new name out loud for all to hear, my son read two words on his own.