There You Are

Meghan Walbert essays

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I held onto the bathroom counter with one hand, steadying myself. A thin, white stick was clutched in the other hand.


Nine months. I had nine months to prepare my mind, my home and my heart for our first baby.

It’s going to go fast, I thought to myself. And then our lives will change forever.


Five years later and halfway through our second home study, I press my palms into the dining room table as our foster care caseworker tells us we will be licensed to adopt in the next four weeks.

One month. I’ve got one month to prepare my mind, my home, my heart – and my firstborn – for our second child.

It’s going to go fast, I think to myself. And then our lives will change forever.


In the early weeks of pregnancy, I would walk through baby stores and brush my fingers over the impossibly tiny clothing.

My heart would ache to know whether I should drift toward the frilly little dresses or the miniature collared shirts. Pink on one side, blue on the other.

I would end each trip facing the one rack in the middle that held a small sampling of neutral tones, and I’d buy whatever I could – yellow and green cotton onesies, small hooded bath towels covered with ducks.

Who are you, I’d wonder, laying my hand across my belly.


I sit in the bedroom sometimes; the one we are preparing for our second child.

I sweep my hand back and forth across the teal quilt. I’ve never felt a quilt so soft, and I’m grateful for it. It feels special.

I look around the room and try to see it simultaneously from the eyes of a two-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. I study the way the teal is offset with accents of white and grey, splashes of bright reds, pale oranges and muted purples. I can’t decide whether it’s too feminine or too babyish or just right.

Who are you, I wonder, laying my hand across my heart.


I pictured the moment a thousand times. I would give birth, and my newborn son would be quickly wrapped and laid across my chest.

I imagined it in the way you can visualize a scene you’ve seen played out countless times on TV or in the movies or on your Facebook feed. I knew what the moment would look like from the outside. But what I couldn’t pinpoint was how I would feel.

Would I feel a surge of joy? Relief? Fear? Would I connect instantly, or would I feel like I was being handed a stranger?

I pictured the scene over and over in vivid detail except for one thing – I couldn’t see my baby’s face.


I picture the moment all the time. I will open the door and look down; my foster child will be standing in front of me. I will kneel down to make eye contact, and I’ll smile to reassure.

Will I know what to say or how to introduce myself? Will my cheeks flush with happiness for myself or sadness for what my child has had to endure to get here? Will I feel an instant connection, or will I see a stranger looking back at me?

I picture the scene over and over in vivid detail except for one thing – I can’t see my child’s face.


When my newborn son was placed in my arms for the first time, every single detail around him softened, blurred. All I could see was his face, which was somehow already familiar to me.

Yes, there you are, I thought, locking eyes with him.

And our lives changed forever.


The door opens and my eyes instinctively look past the half-dozen other people in the room and settle directly on my foster son, who is standing on the opposite side of the room.

He flashes me a brilliant smile and every detail of the apartment around him softens, blurs.

Yes, there you are, I think, smiling back and kneeling down.

And our lives change forever.


About the Author

Meghan Walbert

Meghan M. Walbert is a freelance writer, wife and stay-at-home mom to a spirited four-year-old boy. She blogs about life’s little pleasures - and its insanities - at .

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