The Day I Met My Daughter

I wrote this the day we met the Princess, age 9 at the time.  We waited six months from being chosen to be her parents to bringing her home.  We weren't allowed any contact with us during that time.  She found out about us approximately two weeks before our arrival.  Our first meeting was our first contact, other than a photo album and letter from us that she was given the day she was told about the adoption.  She had two failed adoptions and 13 (known) placements prior to us.  We met her on Monday and she was with us permanently starting that Friday.  We flew into Texas Sunday morning and met her the next day.  Being in a hotel for 24 hours a ten minute drive from her after waiting to meet her six months was TORTURE!  We were both so scared, anxious, nervous and excited to meet her (she was feeling the same).  The first moment I saw her in person will be forever etched in my brain.  She looked so small and scared.  Her eyes were so big and dark and her hair was so greasy (the caregivers had been greasing it to prevent lice).   Her case worker introduced her and said, "She's really nervous."   I looked my little girl in the eye and said, "Your Dad and I are really nervous, too!  And scared!  We'll all get through this together."   And we still are getting through all those tough feelings together.  Revisiting those early days makes me feel extra smitten with my daughter.  For more about our family and adoption experience, visit www.teamcrazycakes.blogspot.com

May 17, 2010

What a day!!! Hubby is crashed out asleep and I'm not far behind after I finish processing!

We went to the ranch at 11:30 and were surprised when L greeted us at the door to the administrative building! We thought we were chatting with her worker for a while and then getting her. Her CASA was also there. We all went to lunch at Cici's pizza. I got to chat with the worker a tiny bit while husband and L played video games. CW told me Leslie was very nervous and crying when she went to pick her up. She doesn't want to leave her younger brother who also lives at the ranch. Sh told me she bribed L saying we would take her shopping at Walmart. I needed sunscreen, so Walmart was fine.

After lunch L went with us and worker and CASA went their own ways. It became clear in Walmart that either the CW  had told L we'd buy her toys or that's what L took from it. She was very disappointed that we said no. We did let her pick out two games to play at the hotel this week, though and told her she could get some stuff when we get back to Florida. She started crying as we left Walmart and it turned very fake by the time we got back to the hotel. Loud wailing with no tears. She said she wanted to go back to the ranch and would run away if we didn't take her (with with her sitting barefoot firmly on the couch, obviously not on the verge of running anywhere!) She said she was going to tell CW how mean I am (not hubby just me) and ask for a new family. I called her on the fake crying and told her we'd talk about going back to the ranch when she calmed down.

The plan was to bring her back to the ranch just in time for bedtime. Once she knocked off the fake crying, we agreed to bring her back after school lets out (she was allowed to miss most of the day to meet us) and the other girls were back at the cabin. That made her feel better. She tried on bathing suits I brought her and the 3 of us stuck our feet in the pool and hot tub and talked for a long while. We made a plan for the rest of the week. Tomorrow is swimming day at her cabin, so she asked if she could swim with her friends for the last time and us pick her up at 4 instead of 2 (we said sure). We talked about her staying with us on the weekend and us all flying home Sunday. She did talk a bit about not wanting to leave her brother and we reassured her we'd help her keep in touch. Then she had a snack and watched Garfield with hubby while I updated the case worker on the plans to bring her back early. I gave her a little silver necklace that is the same as one I was wearing. She started calling the hotel room "our room" and asking questions with possession like "my new school in Florida".

Then we went to the mall to get sunglasses for her at Claires to use at the pool the rest of the week. We took her to the cabin at the ranch and she was very excited to introduce us to everyone and show her room and the stuff she needs mailed to Florida.

One little girl asked her if I'm her mom. She glanced at me our of the corner of her eye and then shook her head yes.

So we met her at 11:30, we're alone with her at 12:30 and left her at 4. Tomorrow is 4 - 7 and we're just going to bowl and have some dinner.

I think it went pretty well, all things considered. I described the meltdown to her caregivers at the ranch and they said that is what her tantrums look like. They aren't often, but are loud. At least she's not holding back!

Her brother is a year younger than her - 8 years old. They haven't lived together since they were preschoolers, but have been at the ranch together since Dec. An older sister is also there, but she doesn't have the same issues about leaving her. She said it's because he's her only brother and the youngest so she wants to be there to take care of him. The CW, casa and cabin caregivers all say that her brother is not attached to her at all and does not care that she is leaving.

So there's the story of day 1!

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