When You Wish Upon a Star…

Tariku?s room
..and when you perform the twelve Herculean labors of prospective adoptive parents, including attacking the hydra of international paperwork, facing the hell hounds of the home study, cleaning the Aegean stables for the house inspection and enduring an interminable wait (we waited exactly 361 days). After that, your dreams actually do come true, it seems.

I was on my way out the door (late as usual) to speak at CSULB on a panel about sex-positivity, when our case worker called me at home to tell me she had a referral for us- a seven month old baby boy named Tariku. Tariku?s pictures show a wildly gorgeous boy with huge brown eyes and his whole hand in his mouth. I printed out his paperwork and made Scott read it to me over the phone from Seattle as I drove to Long Beach, weeping my makeup clean off.

The next day Scott and I accepted the referral. We now have a son. And this next wait, as we anticipate the arrival of his court date in Ethiopia and then the day when we can finally travel to get him, is a whole new kind of difficult in my life. It lives balled up in my chest and unfurls every few hours. I have to stop and breathe so I don’t pick up a can of peas and hurl it at some innocent mother in the grocery store who gets to be there shopping with her child when mine is so far away. But it is not only frustration, it’s also a glow I carry around, a warmth, a wonderful secret. We’ve waited for nearly five years for this. I carry his picture everywhere- the son I?m waiting to meet.

Tariku means ?my story? in Amharic. This is what my Japanese friend Yoshi writes to me about the name Tariku:

?I am so surprised at your son’s name! ?Tariku? sounds like Japanese word ?Tairiku?, which means ?continent?. He must grow up to be a reliable man with a heart as big as the African continent!?