Our neighbors recently set up a real-deal trapeze on their property. They did it primarily so their kid’s Boy Scout troop could get their trapeze badge, but they kept it an extra week and shared with the neighbors. After experiencing it all, from cinching the safety belt so tight I thought I might stop breathing, to letting go of the trapeze and swinging out my arms to be caught, I saw some parallels to the adoption process.
Chalking up: Before climbing the skinny little ladder to the platform, it is important to chalk your hands so they don’t slip.
Before adopting, it was important for me to make a list of all the reasons why I felt like our family was being led to that decision. Over the past few months, when our number stopped moving, my resolve was kept from slipping by going back to that list.
“Ready . . . hup!”: First they told me to put two hands on the steel frame of the platform while they hooked me into the safety harness. The person on the trapeze slid their hand into the back of my safety belt and once they had me held securely, they told me to let go with my right hand and let all ten toes overhang the edge of the platform. They swung the trapeze bar up and I grabbed it with my right hand.
Next, I let go of the frame with my left hand and reached for the bar. I think this was the scariest moment of all.
When they said “ready,” I bent my knees, and when they said “hup” I took the jump from the platform.
That feeling, of jumping off the platform clutching the bar in my hand, that’s kind of how it felt when we mailed off our paperwork. We were committed, with a considerable amount of time and money invested in the process by that point. We were ready, and “hup!” we put it all in the mail.
The first, basic move we learned involved jumping, swinging my knees over the bar, releasing my arms and reaching up, then grabbing back hold of the trapeze bar and letting my legs hang, then allowing the man holding the rope to my safety harness let me down easy as I turned a back flip to the net.
Letting go: Once I learned the basic knee hang move, I was ready for “the catch.” An experienced trapeze artist swung from a bar across from me. The elements had to work just right. He had to be swinging at just the right time to catch me when I let go, and I had to be ready to let go, and I had to have good “presentation” with my hands pointed just so he could grab my wrists. I missed it twice before I made it. That feeling of being held, of letting my knees slip from my bar and swinging from the arms, started with letting go.
There’s a lot of letting go with the adoption. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of control. And there’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of things that have to happen at just the right time for our number to move.
The splits: When Russell-the-rope-holder said I was ready for a new move, the “splits,” I wasn’t so sure. He explained it, I practiced, and then I did it. It was awesome, the first-day-of-summer sun setting, me swinging upside down in what was, sure enough, the splits. I was surprised, and excited, and so thankful for the experience.
The adoption got hard for a while. We wondered if we could do it. The waiting. The uncertainty. Worries crept in. And then our number inched forward. Not very much, but on June 4th we moved to number 54. On June 11th it moved to 53. Then on June 15th it moved again, to 50. And June 22nd, just as we were sitting down at the theater to watch the new movie “Brave,” we checked our email and the number was down to 48.
And it feels a little like swinging upside down in the sunset, doing the splits, these little number jumps. Surprise. Excitement. And so thankful for the experience.