Thursday, June 16, 2011
Remembering Trip #1
Angelina is now 17 mos. old. - I can't believe how quickly she is growing! How much she has changed in the short 2 1/2 mos. we've been home! I find myself reflecting a lot these days on our time spent in Russia, with Angelina.
I remember the referral pictures we received. Angelina was bright-eyed and smiling, she looked like a cherub. In December, we arrived in Russia to meet her. A caretaker carried her out to us. She was wearing a red, velvet dress with a pink bow headband and light pink leather sandals. She looked so much smaller than in her pictures. I remember focusing in on the petite baby being carried out to us and thinking "Oh my goodness, is that her? She is so small!" The handed her to us and led us into an office, to become acquainted with Angelina. During the first few moments, we all just looked at each other. Angelina was 10 1/2 mos. old. She was inquisitive, just learning to walk, and very, very sweet. She wasn't interested in most of the toys we brought for her to play with; we were the focus of her attention. I remember feeling a bit bewildered - I didn't have any children, and frankly, wasn't sure where to begin to get to know this child. Angelina sat on my husband, Eric's lap. She began playing with the buttons on his shirt. She was so curious about those buttons! At that moment, I touched the fine, brown hair on her head. I just couldn't believe we were finally meeting the child we dreamed about for so long, the reason we went mad over paperwork and other requirements for the last year. She was real and we were together! From there, our love for each other took root. Each visit during that trip was better than the last. By our third and fourth visits, the 3 of us were in our own world; we were already becoming a family.
After our third visit, we informed our agency representative that yes, we wanted to adopt this child, Angelina. We knew she was the child we were meant to parent. The morning of our fourth visit, we met with the social worker at her office. She shared with us the details surrounding Angelina's biological family. I openly wept; it was just so sad. Then we signed the first of many Russian documents required in order to adopt Angelina and headed to the baby home to visit our baby for the last time on this trip. During that last visit, I held and kissed Angelina repeatedly. In my mind, I was "loading her up" with love and affection that I veinly hoped would sustain her until we returned.
That trip was nearly perfect; in fact it exceeded our expectations. We left Russia with hearts full of love for that child, wondering how we were going to bide our time as we waited for our court date.
I gaze at the child who is now our daughter, and am filled with a sense of gratitude beyond words. When I hear her stir in the morning, my heart skips a beat with the anticipation of seeing, holding, smelling my child. I no longer feel bewildered by this tiny person who now occupies so much of my world and my thoughts. And with each passing day, I become more assured of my position as "Mom" in Angelina's heart.