I started writing a ‘memoir’ as therapy while going through IVF. Originally more of a journal, it morphed into a memoir story of sorts. I’ve chopped and changed it numerous times – had it critiqued by a writing teacher/agent and even submitted an old version to a publisher in 2006 after they responded promisingly to some sample chapters (but they didn’t’ go ahead with publishing….PHEW….because I rejigged it all again in 2011 when we lived in Canada and ‘completed’ it again in April 2012). It’s been sitting the metaphorical ‘bottom drawer’.
I’m still not sure it’s the story I want to tell, but I do think it could help or inspire people going through infertility, the long adoption process or just struggles in general. So we will see what is to become of it. I’ll bravely push the publish button on some excerpts on my blog, and I’d love if you could let me know what you think. All feedback welcome.
So here goes with the first short excerpt:
‘Forever Day’ is an expression we borrowed from other adoptive parents because it sounded so perfect for a day filled with such promise of permanence. We would be a family bound together evermore by bonds of love.
It is unconditional love that binds one to another so that the ties will never break. It’s not necessarily blood, which ensures an eternal connection, but gives no guarantee of everlasting affection. It is not the vows of marriage, when divorce is an escape clause and commitment comes with provisos.
Unconditional love is a love that joins, not shackles. It is a love that unites, not trusses together. It’s a love that inspires and motivates, not compels and obliges. Unconditional love does not force itself and demand loyalty, nor does it seek exceptions or make excuses. It’s not contrived by circumstances, but is constant regardless of them.
To love unconditionally is not to have to try hard, but to try as hard as you possibly can. Always. Forever.
Unconditional love, given and received freely in perpetuity, can forge a permanent bond, can weave an invisible red thread that will never break.
Such undying love is most often exemplified in the relationship between parent and child – the devotion that springs eternal, regardless of the vicissitudes of life.
But on Forever Day, thoughts of an invisible red thread were pushed aside in the pain of the present, in trying to form that initial thread of parent-child attachment, and in Qichun Jiachang’s gut-wrenching anguish as we were guilty parties in severing the ties of her past.
All the pain I felt over our eight-year journey to this day must have been condensed, for her, into twenty minutes of trauma. Agony, concentrated like venom. All the pain I felt over our eight-year journey to this day was forgotten, for me, in those same twenty minutes. She was an antidote, my elixir.
‘Forever’ made a new start in 1,200 seconds, give or take.
The room was spare and small, hardly big enough to contain the emotion. We sat on the hard timber benches that were its only furnishings, save a trestle table for official business and a water cooler. It was like waiting at a bus stop.
The faces in the room – Jon’s, five other mothers, five other dads and two big brothers reflected my own angst as we awaited Forever’s arrival. The Chinese looked nervous too. If the mounting anxiety could have been measured in decibels it would have registered the ear-splitting pitch of a jet engine.
At 9.34am I breathed in charged atoms.
And then the babies were brought in and Qichun Jiachang was the last (and loudest) of the six to make a noisy entrance into the deafening room. Sorrow in stereo played out in a chorus of crying, whilst my guilty heart sang with juxtaposed joy.
If you want to read on about the day we met our daughter click here.
If you want to read about the ‘worst day of my life’ click here.
If you want to read about the day we met our son click here.
If you want to read about ‘that first time’ (not sex, but at the infertility clinic), click here.