Day 6: Meeting my daughter

It is so hard to choose a moment to relive, whether to re-experience a moment in order to choose better or to soak in the glory of promises-fulfilled.  I’m choosing to enjoy the glory.  I met my daughter on September 27th, 2010.  We arrived with five other families at our agency’s transition home having just met on the plane the day before.  I don’t know how to adequately explain what it is like, meeting your child amongst strangers who, like you, are meeting their children.  We knew nothing of each other except this adoption bond, our children having shared the same cribs, loved by the same nannies, all suffering the same loss.  We all awoke early that morning despite our jet-lag and gathered in the hotel lobby to await our transportation from the agency.  Hours passed, and we took turns calling the few agency numbers we had on hand and received no answer.  We moved to the stairs outside the hotel and waited there, Deanne smoking her electronic cigarette, our husbands leaning towards the street to watch any passing car.  Finally, a minibus arrived with a driver who spoke very little English.  He lurched along these Ethiopian roads, u-turning in the midst of traffic, politely sounding his horn with each infraction.   In just a few minutes, we turned onto a dirt road and stopped in front of a brown gate.  A door man all in green greeted us.  We arrived during nap time, and all the children were sleeping.  The nannies were kind enough to let us meet them.  We entered a small room with about 10 cribs, all the children sleeping on their bellies.  I thought I saw my daughter in the first crib.  I was also looking for our other referral, little M, so I stopped at each crib.  The nanny directed me back to the first crib and confirmed that she was my little Lulu.  She told us that M still lived at the orphanage across town.  I leaned down at eye level, wanting to watch her but not wake her.  She lifted her head and grinned at me, her two teeth showing, and immediately buried it in her blanket.  A moment later, she looked up again, still smiling.  She pushed up on her arms, and I lifted her to me, held her close.  Finally, I held my daughter.  If you haven’t waited 3 years to hold your daughter, I really don’t think I can explain.  I held her a few moments and passed her to her daddy and had the honor and pleasure of watching my husband become a father.  All this time, five other families were growing, right next to us.  This is hallowed ground.  We mamas spread out on the floor, counting fingers and toes, ears to our little ones chests, tracing birthmarks and examining rashes.  Lulu talked and growled, reached for toys we offered, grinned and laughed.  Eventually, she fell asleep sitting up in her crib, sucking her thumb.  We had court the following day, and she became ours.  We love her so.

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