Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Take the Baby and Run

I heard the most amazing story from one of my clients today:
"My husband was born in Raleigh, but his parents are from Lebanon. About five years ago we decided to adopt a Lebanese girl. The Muslim faith forbids adoption, and the government is very much against children leaving the country. We made arrangements for the adoption through the Cyprus embassy in Lebanon, because the American embassy is a fortress and only has barely enough people there to do absolutely what is necessary and no more. Their policy is to only have as many people as can be squeezed into two helicopters within five minutes.

"So, the Cypreans do all the administrative stuff on the Americans' behalf. So, we made arrangments for the adoption long before we ever set foot in the country. But I stand out in Lebanon, not the least reason because I look terrified and like I don't know what I'm doing with this little baby girl in my arms.

"We still had to get her out of the country. To avoid questions, the nurse brought Grace to me five minutes before we walked through the doors of the airport terminal. (The nurse was a nun; no doubt the mother was an unwed teen who was spirited away to a convent in the city to avoid disgracing her family.) We had our American passports and visas, but our daughter had a Lebanese passport, and there were bound to be questions. We had to go through six -- count them, six -- checkpoints between the terminal door and our gate. At each one were military police with AK-47s, and at each one we have to answer questions. At any moment one soldier could decide that we look suspicious, and all our plans could be unravelled. And then we would be stuck in Lebanon, because once I took the baby I couldn't leave her.

"Somehow, finally, we got to our gate, and got out of the country. Unfortunately, in order to use the round trip tickets, our itenerery required us to go back through Lebanon. I begged my husband: "I can not go through those checkpoints again." So he trolled through Cyprus looking for a travel agent with enough English and connections to get us directly out. A small fortune later we had tickets directly to London, where we caught the last leg of our flight back to the US.

"My husband is planning to go back to Lebanan with his brothers soon. He asked me, 'Do you want to come, too?' I said I would only go back if I could take another baby back with me. He said he would write often.


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