It was late at night when we arrived at the airport. We had no luggage. I found this to be odd. But I didn't question it. We boarded a plane.
There were other people there. Strangers, yet we knew them somehow. We didn't speak to each other, but smiled knowingly at each couple as we passed them down the aisle of the plane.
We passed the time dozing in and out of sleep. There was a movie playing. The flight crew served food. We didn't eat. We just stayed in our seats, clutching each other's hand.
The fight was long, yet it seemed as though we reached our destination in an instant after takeoff.
There were people there to meet us. They corralled us into a bus and whisked us off to our hotel.
Still no one spoke. There was a sense of nervousness in the air, anticipation. We reached the hotel. We were not taken to our rooms.
We were herded into a large conference room. It was a large group. Maybe thirty or forty other people besides us.
We were given lanyards, to be placed around our necks. At the end of the necklace was a square laminated piece of card stock. There were different colors.
On it was our first and last names, along with some words in Chinese.
We were separated into groups according to the color of our necklace. Blue, Red, Yellow.
Our necklaces were Yellow. The head of the agency was there. He stood up and made a speech. I couldn't understand his words. They were garbled. Like he was talking underwater.
One of the guides stood up and motioned for the Yellow group to come forward. The tension in the room was thick. People were crying. I was scared. I held on to Joe's hand for dear life.
He remained calm, as always. The guide lined us up, side by side at one end of the room.
At the other end of the room was a door.
The door opened and inside came Chinese women, one by one. In their arms they held babies. Beautiful, dark haired, almond eyed babies.
One by one the guide called out the names of each couple in our group.
One by one the Chinese women came forward and placed their babies into the arms of each couple.
There was crying. Tears being shed by both babies and couples. It was hot in the room. Sweat trickled down my back.
We waited for our turn. We were last. Things started moving in slow motion. It seemed they would never get to us.
Soon the couple next to us started to move away, their baby safely ensconced in their arms.
We were the last remaining couple. I surveyed the room. There were no more babies. The Chinese women were filing out of the room, through the door from which they came.
We were left standing in the middle of the room. No one noticed us or said anything to us.
I felt a sense of panic. "Wait!" I wanted to scream. " What about us? What about our baby?"
No words would come out. I turned to Joe. He smiled at me, seemingly oblivious to what was happening.
I motioned for the guide to come over to us. She was a young Chinese girl, in her twenties. She looked at me as if to say "What? Is something the matter?" No words were spoken between us. I motioned to the other couples and their babies. I jabbed my finger in our direction to convey the fact that we had not received a baby.
She looked puzzled. Then a look of understanding came over her face. She motioned to the next group of couples, the Red group. She indicated that we should get at the end of that line, that we would receive our baby then.
I held up my Yellow necklace. "But we're in the Yellow group! All of the other couples in the Yellow group received their babies! Why not us?"
She didn't answer. She just smiled an understanding smile and pointed towards the Red group.
I was beginning to panic. I could feel hot tears start to well up behind my eyes. I fought them back, as Joe pulled me forward, toward the Red group.
We stood in line with the couples in the Red group. Again, one by one the Chinese women filed through the door and handed off their charges to the couples in the group.
Again we received no baby. I could hold back the tears no longer. They flowed freely, as I motioned for the guide again, trying to convey the fact that once again we had not received a baby.
She look confused. She went over and spoke to the head of the agency. He looked over at us and with a look of sympathy, pointed to the Blue Group.
I was sobbing now, almost to the point of hyperventilating. We went and stood at the end of the Blue Group's line. Yet again each couple received a baby from one of the Chinese women, and yet again we were left standing, alone, in the center of the room.
After a few minutes the guides began herding the new families towards the opposite door, out of the room.
"No! We can't leave! We don't have our baby! Can't you see? Where's Sophie? I want Sophie!"
But still, no words would come out of my mouth. I was unable to speak. I was in a complete and total panic at this point.
One by one the couples filed out of the room. The head of the agency turned once before leaving and gave us a sad look, as if to say "I'm sorry."
I heard someone screaming. There was no one in the room but us. I looked around, trying to see where the screaming was coming from.
And then I woke up. And realized the screaming was coming from me. I was in my bed. Soaked in sweat, tears rolling down my face, my pillow soaked with them. My own screaming had woken me from this horrible dream.
I very rarely dream. And I almost never remember them when I do.
But this dream(shall we call it a nightmare?) left me feeling shaken, with a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I got up and immediately wrote it down, every detail that I could recall.
I'm not sure the retelling of it adequately conveys the panic I felt, the terror. It took me several minutes to calm my beating heart, wipe away my tears and try to go back to sleep.
Try, I say, because I never was able to drift off back to sleep.
I had a dream very similar to this awhile back, though not with this much detail. At least not that I was able to remember so vividly.
I think this post by Joannah brought that dream back into my subconscious.
It has been rolling around in my head ever since.
Maybe I just needed to work this out in my sleep.
This fear I have, that this adoption isn't going to work out. That at the end of this infinite journey we will still be childless.
I hope that I got it out of my system because that was not the most pleasant way to wake up this morning.
Tonight I'm taking a sleeping pill. :)
So I guess my three words for this week would be: