I think I woke up with a sense of excitement. I remember feeling nervous, but not completely. Just unsure about the unknown…
I know we went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. But I was too amped up to eat much.
I remember methodically putting things in order. The diaper bag and all its contents. The clothes I had been carefully worshipping over the course of five years. The bottles I was sure she would love. The toys I thought wouldn’t over stimulate, but instead would fascinate and entertain her. Putting them in order and organizing our hotel room. Making up her bed with things I thought she might like. A stuffed elephant. A rattle with dangling teethers. A warm and very pink blanket.
I showered. I prepared myself to meet my daughter. Tried to make myself look nice for her. Anton was there – organizing paperwork and preparing cameras. Calm. Nervous. A combination of the two.
We met our guide and the other eight travel families in the lobby of the hotel. Bright and early. It was really remarkable how much tension, excitement and palpable feeling was in the air amongst all of us.
We boarded a bus and sat in complete eagerness and raw nerves. There was quite a bit of picture taking, even on the ride over. There was anxious chatter among the families. Nervous laughter. And I sat, looking out the window…wondering how my life was about to change again. Remembering how much it had changed just a year and a half earlier with my amazing little son. Wondering if this would be the same. But feeling like all would be well. That she, Keira, would be fine. Too young to know and all that. Too young to be overly anything, really.
Every step took forever. I remember getting off the bus and feeling rather “been there, done that” with the experience. Thinking I knew what to expect. Thinking I was prepared. Which, as it turned out, was really foolish thinking. I had neither been there…nor done what I was about to.
Walking into the building, riding a cramped elevator, walking around corners or through a hallway. Into a small conference type room. All of us filing in and moving to certain spots. Hearing each name being called and each family moving forward to grasp hold of a new life. And finally, Anton saying “here she is” before I could move into place.
At first, I thought “is that her?” It was hard to tell. But then the cheeks – you couldn’t really mistake those delicious cheeks. It was her, and she was beautiful. And so very unhappy.
we’ve come to a portion of my remembering wherein I will only say that this story was written in great detail last year. You can re-live our bonding experience by clicking the following links:
It was a difficult journey for us. Riddled with pain and adjustments. Covered in love from home, comfort from our travel families, and the great commission we gave to ourselves which pretty much equaled just getting through and getting back home.
Still, I get to look at these pictures today with such greater perspective. And a remarkable love for a remarkable little girl that lives deep in my heart. Someone who grieved deeply, because she knew what love was. And I am so thankful. Because she loves deeply today.
I look at that pain in her face – fear, grief…and I wish I could soak it all up for her. On the other hand, I know deep in my heart – it was her journey. Just like mine was to love her.
And I remember this day with a sense of bittersweet emotion.
So lovely, because she became part of us
Sad, because she grieved so much…so hard
Lovely because we finally had our sweet little girl in our arms after so long
Sad, because she rejected us on so many levels those first weeks
Lovely because I believed in my heart it would get better
Sad, because of everything she lost that day – things I don’t think I can ever give back to her
Lovely….so lovely…because of everything we all gained that day – despite the pain and sadness and brokenness we were all feeling.
And today? Well, that’s for tomorrow. I’m happy to show you how Keira is doing one year later. Excited to show you and tell you all that she has accomplished. Happy to be her proud Momma.
But for today, I’m just remembering how much it cost her to be here with us. Remembering the pain this day brought all of us. And the great joy that this day ultimately represents. Because painful though it was, it was most notably the day we became the family we are today. And that’s so worth remembering.
And how much we love her. Remembering that most of all…
Happy One Year Home sweet baby…I am moved with compassion for your life and your loss. And so thankful to God above for sending you to me.