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On being adoptable

I first met Naomi Silver-Moon when she was seven weeks old. When you start to adopt a child, all the anticipation is exciting even though you don't know how long you'll be waiting. Ironically, the length of time between the original application and the much-awaited phone call was for me, about nine months. I got a laugh out of this coincidence, having waited the same period for my son the ''conventional'' way. Afterwards, I compared the two waiting periods, and found that there were more similarities than differences. The main recognition was that the births had been primarily mine, not theirs - new awakenings in my sense of things.

The call from the caseworker said that she had an adoptable infant girl who might be placed with us if we decided she was ''the right one for us.'' From my point of view, I didn't feel I was ''deciding'' anything. I was as certain the ''right one'' would now join our family as I was when I gave birth to Eli two years earlier. Whoever this child was, she was chosen already. I longed to meet her.

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I had talked to both children in my thoughts. After all those silent conversations, meeting a son or daughter for the first time is an interesting experience. When I met Eli he was all wet and naked and letting out a newborn cry. Naomi however was all clean and silent in a lovely, tiny white nightgown, tucked under a blanket, fast alseep.

The caseworker had warned us ''She's asleep,'' as she led us down a hallway, opened the door to a large room, and then left us alone.

I tiptoed over to the bassinette and peered in. ''Hi,'' I whispered. Then we just watched her sleep for about 15 minutes. Or maybe half an hour. When we left the room, I said to the caseworker, ''She's the right one.'' That was for her assurance. I had known long before. We brought Naomi home later that day. ''We invite you to rejoice in the appearing of Naomi Silver-Moon,'' the birth announcement said. ''We have all adopted one another.''

That was almost seven years ago. Centuries have gone by, as well as thousands of silent and audible conversations, much music, many skies, new views and perspectives. Waiting has been acquiring a different connotation.

For Naomi, waiting means until Thursday when it will be ballet class again. She is lithe and elegant in build for such a young child. I am amazed at her poise at the barre. Her bronze skin hints at her mixed heritage, but she is topped with an astonishing tumble of shining auburn curls.

She is striking, and people notice her. These days I am identified as ''Naomi's mother.'' We are interesting together. While we were shopping in the supermarket last week, someone spied that auburn hair, and inevitably noticing we didn't match, commented quizzically, ''Where did you get that beautiful hair?''

''The same place you got yours,'' Naomi laughed. I laughed too.

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The theme of adoption has been a happy one that continues and widens. Aren't there adopted cats, and dogs, adopted grandparents, aunts and uncles - whatever you need? There seem to be no limitations. As far as Naomi is concerned, you don't have to wait a moment. If you insist, she will write you an adoption certificate, but she would prefer that you adopt one another immediately as an act of faith.

Eli and Naomi are like any brother and sister. He teases her with a jar filled with his spider collection. She hides his baseball mitt in the laundry chute. But they team up when a stray animal roams the yard. Eli tosses his shaggy blonde hair, his blue eyes both flashing and frowning as he suggests hopefully, ''Maybe Mom will let us keep him.'' I am listening silently at the window, and hear a jubilant whisper ''I know! Make an adoption certificate fast.''

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