So, here is the long awaited second post about the day we met Mary Alice. After our computer crashed taking all of our Taiwan travel pictures with it I thought I wouldn’t get to do this post. Just in case you missed it: The Day: Part One My wonderful hubby revived the computer enough to sneak the photos off and so…here you go! Finally, after exactly 4 months…
I opened the door to the home…or maybe Matthew did…I am not sure, it has been awhile…
We walked through the door and I heard it slam behind me…a distinctive slam that I can still hear when I close my eyes and focus, the slap of wood against wood…the metal screen vibrating against the frame…the spring near the hinge springing back into place…
The two men who came to pick us up slip in behind us but I am not worried about waiting on them…I have a baby to meet.
I look around and see a room I have seen in countless first family photos; the couch, the piano, the pictures. The room is empty. For some reason I expected to meet her here so a little off balance I press on. Through the door into the kitchen/dining room. Everything is quiet, the babies are napping.
Someone is sitting with their back toward me, they turn and there she is, I think. I think it is her but I question, she looks a little small…not quite like the pictures, she is pouring sweat. It is hot, isn’t it? I wonder what I am supposed to do? Pick her up, study her face, remember this moment? Then I remember what a fellow THOGL mommy said, “Don’t think about what you should do or what you are supposed to do. This is your daughter, don’t pressure yourself to do anything in particular.”
All of these thoughts speed through my brain so quickly that I don’t even register them until later in quiet moments once we arrive home.
In a blur, she is in my arms.
She feels so fragile, so tiny and helpless. Not knowing quite what to do and starting to feel a little overwhelmed I hand her to Matthew. Yup, I get my baby and hand her off.
She isn’t looking at either one of us, in fact, she is looking at everything but us. Bev tells us, “She’ll often ignore you in the beginning..” Good to know. (the only reason I know she says that is because I have it on video!)
I watch Matthew awkwardly holding her and realize that he doesn’t know what to do either and all the sudden the switch flips, “THIS IS MY BABY! GIVE HER BACK!” Thankfully I only yell that in my head but I swiftly take her back, hearing giggles around me as I start to reconnect with reality, there are at least 5 or 6 people sitting around watching this and one person filming it!
Watching it back on the video, all I do is look at her and laugh kind of manically at everything everyone talking to us says. All I remember is thinking is, “is this real?”
I snuggle her close and rock her for a little while and hand her back to Matthew so he can actually spend more than 30 seconds holding her and so that I can answer the increasing questions with some semblance of sanity. Shortly after I hand her off, Matthew gets the first smile.
Mary Alice starts to get fussy (she is very late for her nap…they kept her awake to meet us) so someone kindly suggests that we head outside to rock her under the gazebo.
This is the first time I allow myself to cry. The tears start jumping out of my eyes, down my face and right onto the face of my daughter. She is crying too so it doesn’t really seem to bother her. I start to sing Christina Perri’s song A Thousand Years, a song I had dreamed of one day singing to her, and she begins to quiet down. Her eyes and breathing begin to get heavy, as well as my tears. Matthew and I just keep looking at each other in wonder. We honestly had given of hope of ever arriving at this day.
Alicia came out with lunch for us and Mary Alice perked up a little, just long enough to cry a little more and for us to sneak in a few pictures. What we didn’t know is that one of the men who drove us up from Luo Dong was also adopted. He watched us snuggling Mary Alice from the kitchen and realized for the first time how much his parents loved him from the very second they met him. It was an emotional moment for everyone watching.
Once Mary Alice fell asleep we brought her back into the kitchen/dining room and laid her down to take her nap.
After we laid her down, Bev suggested Alicia take us down to the lake nearby to get some ice cream burritos and to get some fresh air before Mary Alice woke back up.
I don’t honestly remember much about that walk or the walk back. I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground though.
When we got back she was still asleep and this picture was taken:
I don’t think I have ever been more full of joy. I was a mom.