Adoption Stories

Published on February 8th, 2022 | by Leah Ongiri



We open the door in the morning  
It is dark and rainy like all mornings
The smell of wet earth 
rises like an easily kept promise 
from the front yard tangle we call a garden
The cold has evaporated
replaced not by warmth 
but by air that feels humid 

The kids retreat inside
We huddle and confer
The one who is never cold anyway 
is vindicated in short sleeves
The anxious one relinquishes the winter coat 
for a hand-me-down hoodie
The unpredictable one insists on a fleece jacket 
that will hoard all rain drops
They set forth again

Will you still be here when we get back? they call from the sidewalk
Yes I say distractedly
My attention has already turned towards email 
the possibility of a second cup of strong tea
waking the middle school child
which earrings I will wear if I bother to wear earrings today

Will we have dinner tonight? they are desperate 
in the face of my inattention to their deep hunger 
Yes I bellow repentantly as they trudge away placidly 
faces turned towards school life

The promise rises from me with ease
although it is not always a simple one to keep
I shout after them as they recede
I will be here. 
There will be dinner. 
There are apples and my favorite 
oranges for snack. 
I will check whether the pears are ripe!

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About the Author

Leah Ongiri is a queer foster-turned-adoptive mama of four who just moved back to her Portland, Oregon hometown after years in Midwestern exile. She is an amatuer potter and poet, and a Unitarian Universalist minister.

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