Fifteen days ago, in a country about 2300 miles away from yours, hundreds of people gathered around a track throughout the day. In the morning, there were a lot of strollers, pushed by mothers whose hearts had been broken 14 years ago. The BOBS and other inferior running strollers were filled with babies and toddlers who had no idea what happened on September 11, 2001, in a third country across the ocean, or how much it had changed the world they were born into.
Every time I passed the track that day, I saw people running and walking around the oval, most with a full-sized American flag lifted high. For nine hours and 11 minutes, the track was never empty, never devoid of Old Glory. My throat lumped, my heart cracked, my prayers rose.
Because when you’re in high school and your country gets attacked, you fear for your life. When you’re a mama and your country is still fighting that same enemy, you fear for your babies’ lives — and oh, the fear is so much worse.
Next year, it’s going to be you in that stroller, running somewhere on September 11. You won’t fully understand it, of course; no child of today does.
But this is the country that you’re coming to.
We love kids. We love babies. We love those who cannot fight for themselves. We love our country, fiercely. As a demonstration of both, we bring children from other nations into our families more than any other place on earth, especially when those children have special needs.
We remember when thousands of souls breathed their last, simply because they were American. And we’ll never forget.
Even when we blow it (which, I admit, is frequently), our hearts are in the right places.
Abigail, I can’t wait until you become an American. Your second daddy and I are working so hard to make that happen. Very soon, a dossier will be en route to your country. When that gets approved, we will have a three- to six-month wait time until we meet you.
Meanwhile, we are working our tails off to ensure that money will not hold us back from making you our daughter, but what has surprised and blessed us beyond measure has been the way that our friends are, too. Tippi J Customs, a crazy-talented artist, is donating $25 for every pair of hand-painted shoes sold to your adoption fund when the customers mention your name or “Kupper” at checkout. A Reece’s Rainbow friend (who is currently adopting herself!) is donating all of her commission from a Jamberry nails party. Just Love Coffee Roasters is giving us $5 for every bag of java our friends, family and blog readers buy (ground or beans, in every blend imaginable. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense now. Your grandma Candi, aunt Jill and uncle Jonny will ensure that it does some day). And I have been picking up every single writing assignment possible, even though I’m also going to grad school, while Nickolas has been going TDY as much as he can.
Your first country is so important to us — your second daddy and I have been learning all about it and can’t wait to visit. We hope to get stationed in a city in America where a ton of your fellow countrymen live, because that way you can keep up your language and cultural skills. We’ve heard all about how beautiful your city of birth is from other adoptive families who have been there. It will always be a part of you, and now, us.
But you’re going to love being an American. Because America already loves you, already is working so hard for you. America will never forget the moms and dads and children who died on September 11, true.
But it also will never forget a little girl on the other side of the globe who is waiting for her second family. America will never forget you, because you are the reason we are great.