Meeting Your Daughter..For The First Time!
When Becky and I started adopting from Poland, a friend of mine, who had adopted several times before, sent a Facebook message that said, “Congratulations! We’re so happy for you. Now buckle up because you’re on an emotional roller coaster.” While I might not have been able to see it at first, it is a perfect description. We were excited as we marked off different pieces of paperwork from the “to do” list, nervous with the home study, lots of waiting, more excitement when the dossier was finished and mailed off, days spent willing the phone to ring with a referral and our hearts stopping every time we got a call. The worst feeling was when we actually got two referrals and had to pass on them. Nothing could really prepare us for the disappointment and, if I’m totally honest, the guilt you feel having to turn down a referral. Those feelings eventually pass and then you are back to waiting.
We were in a waiting stage a few weeks ago as we prepared to go on vacation with my whole family. Just before we left, Becky looked at my sister and said something to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if we got a referral with the whole family together?”
No one really gave it a thought until, near the end of the week, Becky got an email from Lina at Saint Mary’s, asking us to call. Our hearts stopped as she dialed. Becky’s parents had been able to join us for a couple of days and, so, my mother-in-law and I strained to hear details while my father-in-law desperately tried to get his cell phone to behave. We overheard a few words, enough to pick up that it was a referral for a young girl. We said that we were interested in the details and, still shaking slightly, Becky hung up and ran to tell my family who were a few feet away and oblivious to the potentially life-changing call we’d just received. The whole family celebrated, tears, smiles and handshakes. We knew this wasn’t a sure thing but it was something that the whole family was there for.
Later that night, Becky and I got a chance to look at the details. Her pictures were precious and adorable. When we read the paperwork, there was some thinking to do. Here is a little life, boiled down to basic details and medical history and that can look scary. Thankfully, we have a few medical professionals in the family who helped us look it over and interpret it to the best of their ability. We said we’d sleep on it, but I don’t think anyone in the house really did much sleeping that night. The next day, after a little chatting Becky and I knew that this was our daughter. With grins on our faces, we told the family. After more hugs, handshakes and tears, the ladies started talking nursery details and I went very quiet, overwhelmed by the enormity of this decision. While I wanted this with all my heart, the fact that everything was going to change became very real.
On the way home, we called the agency to accept while still six hours from home. Three hours later, our rollercoaster of emotion hit high gear. Lina from Saint Mary International Adoptions called us back to say that we needed to be in Poland in a week. Celebration turned into slight panic as I went into full planning mode. I had to let me boss know that I’d need more vacation time after just returning from a week off, plane tickets needed to be bought, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. I honestly don’t remember much of the week before we flew out. All I knew is that I was going to see my baby girl soon and I’d move heaven and earth to make it happen.
Before we knew it, we were an ocean away and amongst the excitement I was aware that my Polish was nowhere near what I had hoped it would be when we reached this point. Our Polish facilitator’s kind smile and constant assurance helped soothe nerves – at least until we found ourselves in a room in the orphanage waiting to see the door open. After what seemed like a lifetime, the door opened and a very sweet nun came in carrying the little face whose picture we had been staring at for a week. My heart stopped for a moment as I fell in love with this little stranger. As the others in the room chatted to us and worked to introduce our daughter to us, I just kept staring at her, taking her in. We knew she was small but she was tiny. Tiny and perfect and, as we found out when they got ready to pass her into Becky’s waiting arms, fierce. She is a real little person who knows what she wants. I know it’s that fight that has gotten her this far in her short life.
The next three days flew by too fast. We spent a few hours each day getting to know our daughter (she loves music, corn puffs and her momma, she’s still warming up to dad) and we soaked up every moment. Before we knew it, our whirlwind trip was over. It was so hard to kiss that little head and whisper that we loved her and goodbye for now. We cried while walking down the main street of the city until we forced ourselves to pull it together so we weren’t “those weird Americans” to everyone around us. We’ve been back home for a few weeks now and life seems to be settling back into a bit of routine. The rollercoaster has evened out for now. We’ve met our princess and can prepare her kingdom for her while we wait to return to Poland and make her ours forever. While I’ve never been a fan of real roller coasters in amusement parks, I wouldn’t trade this world of emotional loop-de-loops for anything and I can’t wait for the end of this ride, when we take the big plunge into parenthood.
To read more about the adoption matching process, please visit this page.