I am sure many adoptive parents watch Discovery channels Adoption Story. I used to be addicted to it, just as if I watched birth stories repeatedly while pregnant.
I have two favorite parts, them meeting their child for the first time, and their welcome home. Nothing describes that feeling you get when you see your child the first time, I held back tears both times, but I wanted to weep with joy! Amanda was so thin, when we saw her the first time we did not recognize her as the baby whose picture we had been looking at for over a year. It did not matter; as soon as she wrapped her trembling arms around my neck, I was enthralled with her.
Getting to know this special and very sweet little girl has been such an unbelievable privilege for us, we are still at the “pinch me, I must be dreaming” stage of having her. She has been with us 6 weeks, her sleeping is now back to where it was in Estonia, she is eating more, gaining weight, and feeling more comfortable with our family.
She adores looking out the window, when she rides in her car seat (Thanks Georgiana) she takes in the landscape with a smile on her face, where I though she would be frightened, she is animated and engrossed. She is such an amusing little girl, making many faces to go with her countless moods; she makes us laugh when she goes through 5-6 of them in quick succession.
Amanda prefers being by herself, but she rarely gets to be, Meghan adores her, and yesterday they played a lot together, but this left Kara out, and Kara, though somewhat of a bully, is a sensitive little girl, and it wounded her feelings. She sat with mommy and daddy a lot, I think she is going to learn no one likes being hurt by her and it will bring a halt to that behavior. She is still such a baby and does not understand how her actions affect others. We adore both of our little ones, but they are vastly different from one another in temperament.
I am exceptionally sad for Amanda and Kara; their births were not celebrated with their family’s cooing and awing over them. Their adoptions were of similar response; indeed with Kara’s adoption Tom and Meghan were unceremoniously let out of the car as we, the facilitator, translator and I, sped away. Meghan had a stinky diaper…I left to go to the orphanage directors office to hand over our donation, seemed the timing could have been better, it felt like we were paying for Kara, but then the whole donation scenario (being told what we HAD to give, instead of us deciding) left a bad taste in my mouth. I had read stories of dinners and drinking vodka (not that we drink) to celebrate the adoption, perhaps it was because we do not drink that we were not invited anywhere. Instead of a dinner, Tom, Meghan, and I walked through the snowy streets to visit our newest family member Kara, despite the lack of joy from our team, it was a special day for us. We know it had a lot to do with Kara having Down syndrome, no one there could understand why we wanted her and not a healthy child.
We adopted Amanda as she sat in Tom’s lap, it was an incredibly serene experience and still my palms were moist, my heart fluttering. The officials were very kind to us and they did not seem sad that we wanted to adopt a girl with Down syndrome, they seemed grateful, relieved for her. Our facilitator shook our hands and tickled Amanda under her chin, you could tell he was fond of her, but as soon as the adoption was over Amanda and I returned to our apartment; Tom left to go to the embassy to fill out his paperwork. Do not get me wrong, we were let down, but not that much, we were new parents to a beautiful little girl, and that was a glorious feeling, one I suppose we wish others had shared with us. When something as stupendous as adding a new child to a family occurs; there should be trumpets blaring and lively celebrations to match the jubilation of our souls, it should not matter that the girls were not born to us; they were still our children.
I suppose I am disappointed that we do not get the banners flying, family packed welcome at the airport, though seeing my husband, son Terry, and our girls there lifted my spirits and I truly felt like I was finally home. I believe that they only do those sorts of homecomings for television, but I could be wrong, and if I am, I do not want to know.
It makes it hard to watch adoption story though, I want it to be more real, the quiet entrance many of us have into our new lives with our newest child. When I gave birth to five of six of our children, it was just my husband and I at their birth and at my insistence, so I suppose people are honoring that request now…LOL.
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