At 46 years old and with my first-born heading off for college this fall, the last thing I had expected to be doing over the holidays was putting together a baby bed.
Earlier this year I shared with readers our plans to adopt a little boy in China. Peanut is the name we affectionately call him, because he was so small when I first held him in my arms over a year ago (a wee lad at just six pounds at six months). Since then, we have fought with paperwork, embassies, governments, agencies, each other, and our patience in order to bring him to his new home in Austin, Texas. This past week, I brought that fight to the crib in preparation for our family of five to grow to six.
Peanut’s paperwork has been expedited recently and we will meet with our adoption agency this Thursday to plan our travel to China to be united with my son. At 46 years old, I feel like a first-time dad all over again. All this contemplation of a new child and my place along the space-time continuum has caused me to evaluate my perception of life in general. I would like to imagine that ‘life’ is a series of well-planned events that fall neatly into place due to my actions. I would like to believe that the road ahead of me is predictable and one that is paved by cause and effect. Thankfully, it’s not. In fact, life is the most unpredictable and unimaginable journeys, and to embrace that is a weight thrown fast off my shoulders. At 46 years old, I am blessed to have had my road detoured and I am a better man for it.
Very soon, my wife, three kids and I will make the journey to China. We will set out to unite with a boy who was once left alone and abandoned. In a strange twist of fates and happenstance, I ended up at an orphanage in Xiamen 16 months ago to volunteer for a couple of days. There, in the corner of a small room filled with other abandoned babies, was a little fellow who could not be consoled and who cried with little pause. Because life is unpredictable, I was asked to hold him and perhaps because I held him in just the right way, he stopped crying. And for several hours that I had not planned for, I fell in love with a son that I never imagined I would ever be a father for.
Last week, I got that crib put together and in proper working order. When I finished I took a brief moment to admire the bed and chuckled at the prospects and the unpredictable journey ahead. Now I am ready to place my son in that crib, to bring him home to his family and to look forward to being a 46 year old father, once again.