One of those parents would be me. Not having even met our Ethiopian-born children yet, I have worried for months about what size of shoes I would eventually bring for them to wear home. I have dreamed of shoe-less children walking the streets of Addis beside me; have envisioned boot-less children trudging through the winter snows after our arrival back in Canada (which is totally unrealistic as the snow will be long gone by the time they actually get here); have seen in my mind's eye children with permanently stunted feet because of the ill-fitting shoes their new mother put onto them. Oh the horrors.
I have actually lost sleep on this issue. How silly is that??!!
In particular over the last few weeks, as I try to anticipate and prepare for every possible aspect of our trip (another impossibility, I know!), I've been quietly calculating how to get a foot measurement from our children when we finally meet them, pre-court. I've added a tape measure to our list of things to be packed, and have had actual, ludicrous thought processes like the following:
I envision myself sitting on the orphanage floor in a room full of children (including my own).
We're talking and singing and playing with whatever they'd like to play with.
My brain is working fast, determined to get those darn foot measurements.
I start to sing some silly song about feet, and take off my shoes.
The children mime me, so that (to the dismay of their caregivers) they all start taking their shoes off, too.
I sing away, a slightly crazed edge to my voice, a desperate look in my eye.
I take out the tape measure I've had tucked up my sleeve until this moment of truth (here, I make a mental note to self that I need to wear long sleeves to the orphanage).
While I sing, I measure the length of my own foot, giggling a little (fits with the slightly crazed theme) as my foot gets tickled by the tape measure.
The children surrounding me want their feet measured now, too. Yes, victory is within my grasp.
I start to measure feet, inwardly a little half-hearted until it is my son, my daughter, sitting in front of me.
Finally, when faced with the most precious of little feet, I take an extra second to measure more carefully.
When I finally have those longed-for, dreamt-about numbers, I yell them out loud to Geoff, who is deafened as he sits directly beside me, pen now in hand (which he's taken from his sleeve) and poised to scribble the numbers down on the palm of his hand.
At last, I can relax, I think in my dream. I have them. They are saved. My children shall not be the shoe-maker's children...they will be adequately shod. I pump my fists into the air as the orphanage visit draws to an end. I have accomplished my goal.
This, people, is the kind of drivel that fills my head during moments when I am supposed to be sleeping. For anyone out there who might have thought, at one time, that I have my act all together, may this be the final proof needed that, indeed, I do not!
Oh, and I should add that while this issue was being discussed on the yahoo forum, one brilliant woman, with a single phrase, completely ended the conversation for me. With her words, I had that experience where the most obvious of solutions took all of the fire right out of me; kind of like a burst of the anxiety balloon. She said, quite rightly, of course, that the transition house would simply let the children wear their crocs when they finally left the home to join our family. Hmmm. Oh yeah. Right. Duh. Thanks Alicia.