Several months back, I bought the greatest t-shirt from AdoptionBug.com.
Across the front, large and bold, the shirt pronounces "mom-to-be" and below, parenthetical and slightly less noticeable, adds "just waiting to find out when".
I've received more compliments and more joy out of wearing it than any other shirt I've ever owned, but today I'm putting my "mom-to-be" t-shirt into retirement.
I'm retiring it because I know when. I'm no longer waiting for the when. I know it.
I know that on September 5th, I will stand next to my daughter in a South African court and tell the judge - and the world - this is the daughter who is mine.
This is the daughter who is mine.
Every bit of her.
And me, the mother who is hers.
Every bit of me.
With each new event in the last weeks, my friend Emily asks how I'm feeling. I can never give her a one word answer - anxious, excited, nervous, thrilled, impatient, joyous...
I'm a tangled up ball of huge emotions I can't completely express and I can't completely feel.
I'm trying to think of the final details - a set of starter clothes to get us by until we know for sure what size she is in US sizing, toiletries, socks and undies, gifts for friends and family in South Africa, wrapping presents for the family birthdays I will miss while I'm gone, preparing a bit for Hannah's* birthday which will take place during our last days in South Africa, closing out my clients at work and prepping everything which will need to be accounted for while I'm gone.
It feels like an endless list with new items added daily, but accomplishing each feels like one step closer - one step nearer to the daughter who is mine.
Just waiting to get on the plane.
Just waiting to hold her in my arms again.
Just waiting to affirm to the judge and the world, this is the daughter who is mine.
*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all online activity regarding my someday daughter and her adoption.