An interesting thing happened on the way home from work the other day. ~ I’m gonna lose some readers with this ~ I was listening to NPR radio when something got my attention so much that I felt I was meant to blog about it.
Now for all of you that are going to comment on how it is a sign of old age that I am listening to NPR on the way home instead of something to help me unwind, relax. Don’t worry–I am already afraid of this.
The story was on ‘All Things Considered’. It was on a Winter Song List of people who wrote in on favorite or most inspirational songs and NPR got to pick a winner. The collage of songs caught my attention. The winning song, and story behind it, made me take notice and actually pull over to write down the author, the title to the song, and the winning contributor so I could follow-up when I got home.
The winning song was Brandi Carlile’s “Dying Day.” It’s an upbeat acoustic song about a writer longing for her love that is far away while she is on the road. Its a real catchy song in its own right but it is not what drew me in. Take a listen while you read on . . . .
You see the author of this winning story on NPR was locked in an adoption. She was going to adopt a darling 5 ½ month little girl from Ethiopia. She was on an international adoption trip where she had the opportunity to meet the potential baby she wanted to adopt.
For those not familiar with international adoptions, usually you sign on for an adoption program, you state what types of children you are willing and not willing to adopt, factoring in everything from race to birth defects to parental drug use and so on. Everything. The agency eventually matches you up with a child and you have to make the long trip to meet the child to see if each one is compatible with the other. Then you talk to the government agency, fly home and wait to hear if you have been approved or not.
The potential mother was Joanna Woodbury of Wauwatosa, Wis. and I’ll let her take it from here or you can listen to the episode here:
“It was awesome, and probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, all in one,” Woodbury says. At the time, the little girl the couple was applying to adopt was just 5 1/2 months old. “We got to be with her for about 45 minutes. I held her for 20, and then she fell asleep. We had to put her down and leave the room, and then take a 4 1/2-hour bus ride back to an Ethiopian court and say, ‘Yes, we want to parent this child.’”
A few days later, they were back in Wisconsin, where there was nothing to do but wait to hear that the adoption had been finalized. It would be a trying 11 weeks before word came through — and during that time, Woodbury says, she found a new appreciation for “Dying Day.”
“I was in the car listening to this song, which has always been a favorite of mine, and all of a sudden the lyrics just meant something different,” she says. “The lyrics are, ‘I just want to kiss you, and I’m going to love you till my dying day,’ and that I should be there to take of you and I can’t be. … It’s all about longing and a little bit of hurt, and just waiting until you get back to that person. And that’s how I felt.”
I got it. I knew exactly how she felt. In fact, I couldn’t even listen to that song without tearing up a bit. If you are a parent you probably know too. Now, if any of you are followers of my blog you have to know how I feel about my two little girls. They are a gift from God that have far exceeded my expectations of what being a Dad and raising two toddlers could have ever been. But I think only a few may have guessed by now that our kids are adopted.
My ‘Dying Day’ moment, similar to Joanna Woodbury, was not pre-adoption though. We met our potential birthmother in a meeting prior to the adoption She was beautiful inside and out, as was her mother that came with her. We waited another 10 days ourselves until we found out we were finally going to be parents.
Parents with 10 days to prepare!
But it was so much more before those 10 days. I found out in my early 40′s that we could never have children; Think about it, could never have children. Ever. We tried the IVF procedure several times and while hopes and prognosis always started off high they always ended in tears and silence.
And so, sitting in my car, on the side of a busy roadway, I knew exactly how Ms. Woodbury felt. When we finally were able to receive our new daughter, then about 2 ½ weeks old, we were the happiest people on the planet. But as all you parents know, the magic is only just beginning at that point.
You see I got to stay home on my company’s FMLA plan, to be Stay At Home Dad for the first time, actually seven years ago next Wednesday. I was left with our new beautiful daughter who just slept and ate and pooped and occasionally smiled. And I knew I was going to love her until MY dying day.
Actually, in reality my song was Jimmy Buffett’s, “That’s What Living Is To Me”. The lyrics went,
“..the world’s too big to understand.
Be good and you will be lonesome.
Be lonesome and you will be free.
Live a lie and you will live to regret it.
…that’s What Living Is To Me.”
We had this new tropical DVD version of this song at the time, possibly one of the most scenic videos ever.
We had just gotten back from vacation about 3 months earlier and I was still riding the tropical high. Knowing that my daughter was going to grow up loving Jimmy Buffett just as I did (she has little choice living close to the beach) I would play the scenic DVD for her as we passed the days at home. And when this song came on I would pick her up and hold her gently close to my chest until I could smell her baby’s breath, slowly dance to this song, and quietly sang in her ear,
“That’s what Dylan is to me.
That’s what Dylan is to me.”
So, like Joanna Woodbury, we found our little girl(s), or did they find us? We will continue to love them until our Dying Day. Being flesh and blood means very little to us. These girls are a precious gift to us from God and some very special Angels. That’s what Dylan and Skylar are to us.
“…Oh I miss you
and I just want to kiss you
and I will love you till my dying day.”