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.

April 3, 2012

Will call

The phone in my office rang just after 9:45 a.m., and I recognized the area code. Our social worker. And at that instant, I knew. It was The Call. Travel Call. Will was ready to come home.

I’d been stalking my online adoption group all morning, and a few other families had already received their calls. John and I didn’t know if we’d be joining them, or if we’d still have to wait a few days or weeks. This process, oh, this process. There have been so many twists and turns, false starts, false hopes. The lack of information and the conjecture it forces can be exhausting. But we knew one indisputable fact—that Will’s emigration permit had been submitted a few weeks earlier—so we knew that receiving this phone call was only a matter of time.

“Are you sitting down?” our social worker asked me. “This is your travel call!”

I didn’t expect that I would cry, but I did. It just washed over me. I could barely respond to her. I just gulped big breaths, turned my back to my office door, and closed my eyes against the tears.

It was really happening. The end, the beginning.

“I hope those are happy tears!” she said, and I assured her that they were, and I listened to her tell me that we could book our flight and hotel, and that I needed to send her our itinerary, and to call her with any questions as we prepared to leave. “I’ll let you go so you can call John now!” she chirped. And I did.

That day, as I walked home from the train after work, the air was cool and crisp, the spring sunset golden. The new lime-green leaves on the trees seemed even more beautiful than they had that morning. It was Thursday, March 29, 2012. Two years and four months after I mailed our initial application to adopt a baby from Korea, we finally know the day on which we’ll meet our son: Monday, April 9, 2012. On that morning, we’ll be driven to his foster family’s home, and the front door will open and we will see him there.

I can feel my heart beat a little faster when I type that.

The range of emotions I’ve experienced in the past five days is truly dizzying. I’m brimming with joy and happiness, I’m shaky with fear, I’m extremely excited and slightly overwhelmed. It all feels surreal—that’s the most apt word, I think. To realize it’s my last week at work for months. To pack tiny socks, a bib, diapers, baby wash. To say out loud, “I am leaving for Seoul this weekend.” To see an ad for a TV show on April 15 and think, He’ll be here at home with us when that airs.

Will is coming home.

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