"He came to us unexpectedly. After lots of doors had been closed in our faces, finally one was open. We held our breath and kept our hearts in check. Then, just seven days after we were told yes, he was there, in our house and in our arms. I remember sitting with him that first afternoon on the swing set under the silky oak tree. From way out behind the railway track and the low curving hills beyond, the afternoon sun sent sharp slanting beams of light across us. Cuddled in my lap, rocking with me on the swing, was this chubby, quiet, smiling eighteen-month-old stranger. Yesterday he had not been my brother. Now, suddenly, he was."
I wonder what went on in his little baby mind. I wonder how it felt to be whisked out of his foster family -- the only family he had really known -- and into a new one. In this new family, Mum had a different face and there was a regular ongoing circus of three big sisters and one big brother, all looming close and ready to cuddle, to tickle, to laugh, to play. He loved Dad's beard right away, and was all smiles and appreciation. But he resented the mummish things Mum had to do for him, and it took a while for his truest self to come out, the self that loved to wrestle and growl and was all-boy. We didn't know how much of him had been held back, waiting -- perhaps tentatively, perhaps in shock -- until he truly settled in to this mad new world and his personality could relax and ripen.
It's crazy now to think of it, that in one day someone could join our family and our history would be different because of it. But every year on the ninth of July* we take time out to remember it (tonight, with Tain's choice of Indian) and make cheesy toasts in honour of Tain's adoptaversary. We are so glad he's here.
*So I guess July-in-New-South-Wales has been good for at least one thing, after all.
* * * * *
Katie -- it's nice to know I'm not the only one who finds July a bit of a nothing month. And it seems such a great month to be an American!
Elisabeth -- turning to letter-writing is a brilliant way to work yourself out of a corner when writing an article. I might have to try it myself when I get stuck!
Caitlin - craftycrackpot -- hopefully soon there'll be a real letter headed your way, too. I've embarked on my huge pile to reply-to, so I've made a start!
Hannah -- you're delightful. xx
Carla and Alastair -- Carla, I love your blog comments! And you should keep your eyes peeled, because I just might write one of my blog letters to you. You've inspired me!