When you live 1500 miles apart, the first meeting is something that requires planning. It isn't just a question of hopping in the car and driving to the next town or across the state. It's a flight, a rental car, a hotel and advance planning.
I would have done all of those things in a minute if I had thought it was the right time. It never felt like the right time. L had told her sisters that I had found her, but she hadn't told anyone else. Not her friends who she has known for a lifetime. Not her nieces and nephews who she is as close to as a mother. Not anyone.
She loved me but the shame of relinquishing me and the fear of what others that she cares for would think about that relinquishment overshadowed her excitement of meeting me in person. Shedding that long-held terror wasn't going to happen overnight and pushing myself into her life wasn't going to be a positive way to approach the issue.
So I waited. Waited through weeks where all I wanted to do was hop on a plane and go meet the people that looked like me. Waited through months that were filled with self-recrimination and doubt of my own--should I have searched? did I do the right thing contacting her? did she wish I had never found her? Waited through a year and most of a second one of phone calls, cards, flowers and gifts that made it clear to me that I was becoming more & more a real person to L.
Finally, one day, I received a wedding invitation for a wedding of one of my youngest cousins. It was taking place in the same town that L. lives in. It was fate. It was kismet. It was my best chance to make this meeting happen in the least intimidating way I could imagine.
The scenario: I'm in town for the wedding. I've got family obligations while I'm there. We can make this meeting happen but we have defined boundaries--where, when and how to meet.
I called L. She was ecstatic & agreed that it was a wonderful idea. The ball was rolling.