Laila finally moved in Thursday for good. What a joyous day for us. She said she was so happy to be back. Her social worker brought her to us around 1:30 that afternoon. She had all of her worldly possessions in a Hello Kitty backpack. It's so crazy to think that everything she has fits into a backpack. I will buy her everything she needs and lots of things she doesn't. I will make sure she has clothes, toys, vacations. I can't give her those first 6 years back though. She has been in 5 homes before ours. She has faced alot of neglect and rejection. She hasn't been cuddled enough. She hasn't heard how beautiful she is enough. I can't change that but I plan to make sure her future is full of those things. I'm not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but everything I have is hers.
Clay and Elizabeth were thrilled to come home from school to find her waiting. We are registering her at their school on Monday. Laila is in kindergarten like Elizabeth but I doubt they will put them in the same class. There are 7 or 8 kindergarten classes this year. I'm also really happy with the diversity of their school. In Elizabeth's class of 18 children, only 5 are white. The rest are hispanic, black and asian. Our family fits right in.
I think I've stated in a previous post that Laila's last foster mother has gotten her a perm (relaxer). I really think 5 is too young for a perm. The chemicals are very strong and her hair is severely damaged and has some breakage. Even though I was a hair stylist for several years I mainly worked on caucasian hair. I had a few customers who were black but they were older women who just got a cut, shampoo and set. I really wanted to take Laila to a professional since there is already breakage and I want to grow her hair back out natural. Fortunately there is a salon just one mile from our home that specializes in natural hair and helping women switch from permed hair back to the natural state. I took Laila there today to see if they could do her hair.
First, let me say that the people there were so nice to me. I wasn't really sure what to expect. Since we've only had Laila for a short time I haven't really seen how most people are going to respond. I didn't know if a beauty salon full of black women would be supportive of our decision to adopt transracially or if they would think we had no business raising a black child. I thought it might be a bit intimidating. Nothing could've been farther from the truth. The stylist even complimented me on keeping her hair so moisturized and told me I was doing the right thing to grow it out natural. She was booked today but I am going back next week and we are getting her hair trimmed and styled in a cornrow ponytail to keep it looking nice while it grows out. Hopefully she can educate me more during our actual visit. I will be the first to admit that I don't know it all but I love to learn.
I also want to make regular trips to the salon because I feel like that is a big part of Laila's culture. Hair is a much bigger deal to most black women than it is to most white women. I want her to have memories of sitting in the salon, surrounded by people who look like her, getting her hair done and feeling like a princess. I watched the Chris Rock movie Good Hair the other day and it was like a wake up call that hair is one more way I can make sure she is actively involved in her culture. I want to make sure she doesn't feel like an outsider. I can't do everything but I can do what I can do.
The last couple of days have been wild but so fulfilling. I pray every day that God will make me the mother my kids need me to be. He has blessed me with my heart's desire and I praise Him for that. Have a blessed weekend!!