Waiting for The Call


Sheila Stewart Darst
Focus on Adoption Magazine

We discovered this poem in an anthology of adoption poetry from 1983,  Perspectives on a Grafted Tree. The book is still in print and available on Amazon. Sheila Darst wrote it when she was an expectant adoptive mother and dedicated it to her social worker, Deborah Bonnardel. Her description of waiting for an adoption match rings true almost three decades later.

everytime the phone rings now
my blood pressure soars
my heart drops to my left foot
and my scalp starts to tingle
and with all the serenity of a hungry cat
I say hello in a voice three octaves too high

I unconsciously hum cradle songs
and review old nursery rhymes
because in my bones
I feel the time nearing
as I study spring’s calendar
musing on days and dates.

I sit by a green sunny window
in my great-grandfather’s rocking chair
and am pleased as I look around
the new calico walls that everything is ready
and it reassures me and makes it real

the calico dog and calico cat
chase one another on a bright field
of yellow and green and orange and blue
and I try to imagine our child, our children

distant laughter circles the hall
and tiny feet run to me
in my imagination as I
sit and rock and write
and wonder and dream and plan

the old rocker squeaks a
comforting old song
and I think of all the children
rocked to sleep in its arms over a century
of all the stories it could tell
of all the family ties that it has bound,
and I am calmed by the infinite cycle of time
and the continuity of life

until the phone rings