The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

March 19, 2012

Home stretch

On Tuesday, March 6, we found out that Will’s emigration permit—his EP—had been submitted to the Korean government for approval! This is the last big paperwork step before he can come home. After the long, long delay—no children have come home since spring 2011—the Korean government is saying it will expedite these EPs, approving them in about two weeks. Soon after that will come our Travel Call, the phone call from our social worker that will say, Buy your plane tickets, come to Korea, get your son. He’s ready for you.

All of this was shocking to us. We’d heard rumors that EP approvals would be starting again, but they’re submitted in batches, and because of when we received our referral, we didn’t expect to be in the first batch. For the past few months, we’ve thought we might travel in April, then maybe early June, then (fingers crossed) May. All of this was based on supposition and rumor and sketchy math, on online postings and wishful thinking. We had no idea what to expect. We’ve been disappointed before.

Then, suddenly, concrete information. His EP submitted. A travel call coming soon. Me once again standing up in my office, phone clutched to my ear, stomach flipping over. Something happening. Something real.

I felt a lot of strange things last week (to be honest, likely influenced by the fact that it was a certain time of the month). I felt elated and terrified and not ready. I felt a sense of mourning for my current child-free life, a sense of closeness to John as I realized our “just the two of us” days are about to end. I felt panicked about my annual reunion with my best friends from college, scheduled for the last weekend in March here at my house. I felt utterly and 100% unprepared. Then I felt worried that these feelings meant I wasn’t ready to be a parent, that something was wrong with me. What was wrong with me? This is what I’ve wanted for more than two years now.

I am happy to report that these feelings have shifted and largely dissipated. Creating two big lists—To Do and To Buy—and beginning to cross things off them was a big help. His nursery is pretty much done, and we’re well stocked in toddler gear, thanks to a lovely baby shower my mom hosted for me. We have hotel options picked out, flights researched, Stella care lined up, a printout of Korean phrases sitting on the coffee table. Is there still nervousness and fear? Of course. But the excitement—the sheer excitement to imagine holding my son, to imagine the first time he turns his head and smiles at me—I am giddy with it.

I’ve been reading the research and I know we will have some dark, hard times. A major trauma is coming his way, a major change for all three of us, and we need to be ready to support him as he works through it, and support each other as we do. But I think of him here, in our house, in my arms—and I realize that we’re in the home stretch, that it’s actually going to happen, and happen soon—and I’m just amazed, exhilarated. I’m smiling. I see John smiling, too (he tends not to worry as much as I do), look at him studying the Seoul guidebook, and I can barely comprehend that this process is finally coming to an end, and a beginning.

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