I call you “Sam” in my head.
Like, I should buy some sheets for Sam’s bed or I wonder if Sam would like this book.
I needed a way to easily identify you, and “Sam” is where I landed.
When you’re pregnant, you refer to your child as The Baby. It’s gender-neutral, it’s fast and it flows off the tongue. You decorate the baby’s room. You get a craving and you call out, the baby wants Skittles!
Do you know what doesn’t flow so well? I want to get this for the kid we plan to adopt from foster care. Or… I wonder if the child who is placed with us will fit into this car seat.
Those phrases are clunky, impersonal. They make you sound like a faceless person. But you’re not unformed; you already exist. You are out there somewhere, living the early years of your life.
You might have really long legs or thick eyelashes. Curly hair or olive skin. You might be shy or gregarious. You might be a boy or a girl.
That’s why I liked “Sam” for you. It’s versatile, flexible. I think it sounds strong, too,which I suspect you are. You’ve probably had to be.
I needed to name you, if only temporarily. It didn’t seem right that you didn’t have a name. More truthfully, it doesn’t seem right that I don’t know what that name is. I’m your mom, you know. At least, I will be one day.
When I was pregnant with your brother, your dad and I wondered who he would be. Now, I wonder who you already are.
I should know whether you go to bed late or wake up early. I should know whether you like your syrup poured on top of your pancakes or in a little pool on the side for dipping. I should know whether large crowds thrill you or over-stimulate you.
But we’re not there yet. I can’t know these things yet. There is still much to be done before we are ready for you. There are training sessions to attend, home studies to prepare for, fingerprint clearances to collect.
You haven’t yet been matched to us. We haven’t yet learned your story or locked eyes with you for the first time. Yet, you exist. You are out there somewhere.
Are you ok?
When I was pregnant with your brother, I worried I would make a mistake. That I’d accidentally run a red light or I’d eat too much tuna.
I struggled to trust myself with such a big responsibility. In the years since he was born, I’ve learned that the harder thing for me is trusting anyone else with my child. Will they watch him closely enough, will they set enough boundaries, will they show enough love?
Now that I know in my heart that you exist, I cannot stand the thought of you out there somewhere without me, without your (forever) family.
Where are you?
Who tucks you in at night? Who pours your milk for you? Who do you cry for when you trip and skin your knee?
Does anyone laugh when you act silly? Does someone tell you they’ll guard the door at night and only let the “nice shadows” into your room when you get scared?
Are your cheeks getting enough kisses each day?
I may not know you, but I miss you.
I worry about you.
I love you.
So you see, I had to name you, Sam. Not just for ease of conversation. My heart demanded it. You deserve it.