I'd love to tell you that this morning was picture perfect. That she walked in, saw and recognized us and ran with open arms for a hug. But that would be far from the truth. And in the interest of remaining transparent, I'll tell you the real story...
lousy night's sleep, the entire family was up earlier than necessary so we had time for a leisurely breakfast downstairs. I'm sure I should have been hungry, but the butterflies in my stomach kept me from enjoying much of what I ate. Finally it was time to meet Amy in the lobby.
Just as Ian snapped a "selfie" of the two of us in the van, Amy got a phone call and her expression changed.
Apparently Natalie's train had been "delayed" and instead of arriving just before six this morning, it was to arrive closer to ten.
No choice though but to go with the flow, so on we headed.
Upon arrival we were the only family at the civil affairs office, but as we checked the paperwork, two other families joined us.
We were still expecting Natalie to be the last to arrive and then I happened to look out into the hall. Just like that, there she was. No longer a simply a picture but a living, breathing child.
It took what felt like forever to get Ian and Amy's attention, but they finally joined me near the doorway and Natalie walked in. And it all got fuzzy from there.
We came to find out that not only had she taken the night train, and it was late, but also the care package we had so carefully put together for her never arrived at her orphanage. So for the past two months while I've imagined her carefully studying our photographs, she's only been told that her mama and baba were coming. She had no idea what we looked like. Those things together created the perfect storm to frustrate and terrify a child who had never seen Westerners before.
It went from bad to worse and in that time we learned that she's loud, crazy strong and has a nasty right hook. And that's all we'll say about that.
How bad? Well, Amy decided that it would be better for us to fill out all the paperwork stating that we wanted to begin the harmonious period in our hotel room instead of staying at the office.
As Ian dutifully filled out all the parental information and wrote a paragraph stating why we wanted to adopt another child, our sleepy girl finally relaxed enough to doze off for a few minutes.
It may have only been about ten minutes, but that tiny little rest gave her a bit of spunk. And then just as I was getting ready to scold the boys for getting a bit wild with a foam pillow, one threw it too far and instead of the other catching it, it beamed Darcy in the head.
And her stoic face cracked into a little grin.
And then that "spicy girl" with the sparkle in her eyes began to emerge. Oh my y'all, we're gonna have our hands full with this one. Because this huge smile...
...came about from bonking her daddy in the head with a punch balloon.
Things started looking up at that point. She let both of us feed her some green beans, eggplant and rice.
She was amused by her new thermos.
And she began interacting with her new siblings...taking down her closest in age sibling with her wrestling moves...
...posing pretty with her closest in age sister...
...laughing with her oldest siblings...
...and giving her eldest sister a kiss on the nose.
|if there was ever, EVER, a moment i'm thankful we bring our entire family along when expanding, this is it!|
After a rough start, we have seen hope in where we are headed. Perhaps the initial chaos made us appreciate her smile even more.
Maybe today was picture perfect after all...