Hi everyone. First of all, Yankee and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your prayers and sweet comments while we were in Thailand meeting Little Miss. It was so touching to us, and we are glad we have been able to share our adoption journey with you.
I have to let you know that due to our agreement with the Thai government, we are not allowed to show face photos of our daughter till she is legally ours. In Thai law, we have a period where things are provisional, and now that we are back in the states, we will have a social worker visit and do reports at our house at the two, four and six month window. After those reports are filed, we will be able to apply to be her legal guardians and change her name to have our last name.. Let’s just say all of this the paperwork isn’t finished, but the long wait it is so worth it
I will never know the feeling of going to the hospital and giving birth, but I can say the moment I saw my daughter in person, my heart melted. I cannot imagine being a mother any other way, and I am so grateful for our daughter and how I became her mom. She might not have my height or look like me, but that is the last thing I even think about when I see her. When I look at my daughter, words cannot describe my love for her or how I want to protect her.
My mom did a great job telling how things went in Thailand so if you missed it, read her summary here. Otherwise, here are some of my words on the process.
We met Little Miss with two other families at the same time they met their children, and it has been so nice to meet these families and go through the same emotional roller coaster. We really enjoyed both families, and their children are adorable. We have a special bond with them. On the first day when we were at lunch with our children, we were sitting across from one of the families, and the new mom was holding her son. She looked at me and said, “Isn’t this the best feeling?” Yes, yes it was. The process to meet our daughter was gradually spread out over a few days.
On the first day I was so excited and nervous. I started crying the moment she cautiously walked into the hotel room where we all were sitting on the floor waiting. Her social worker brought her right to us, and she just looked at me and then looked over at Yankee. The social worker explained in Thai that we were Mommy and Daddy and showed her the picture book we made her months ago. At this point, Little Miss along with the other children, were all crying. I was also a hot mess as I was tearing up with excitement seeing my adorable daughter for the first time. Right off the bat, the social worker had us pick up and hold our children. Little Miss was not pleased, and she continued to cry, but I loved every moment. This was it. I was a mother, and I finally was able to hold my daughter for the first time.
The same day we were able to meet Little Miss’s foster family. I can’t even write how this was so special to us, and I am so grateful we were able to make that visit. I look forward to telling Little Miss all about her foster family, and the special people that raised her. We feel this was an important part of her story, and we have been showing her pictures of her foster mother. She smiles and loves looking at them. We have pictures of all of us together, and she points and smiles. I learned this was only the second child that the foster mother had fostered, and it was the first that the child was placed for international adoption. The foster mother was older, and Little Miss called her grandmother. In Thai it’s “Ya.” The foster mother also lived beside her two sisters-in-law, and Little Miss also called them “Ya.” So, my daughter had three grandmothers doting on her for almost two years. How lucky was she to have so much love.
The foster mother wanted to know more about us and asked for us to send pictures when we get home and in the future. I promised I would send her pictures. It was the least I could do. She was concerned for Little Miss and only wanted the best for her. I felt bonded instantly to “Ya”. Asking questions, we learned lots about our daughter, and it was fun hearing stories that we look forward to telling her when she gets older. We were able to tour the grounds where she lived and play and even meet her playmates. She does like to chase dogs and cats, so I am thinking she will get along great with Gracie. Plus, I learned I have a little dancer on my hands when the music starts playing. Again, this was so special. I am so thankful we had this opportunity. Oh, and she has started to break out some dance moves which we call the Stevie Wonder. #adorable
The following day the social workers brought the children back into the city, and we went on a shopping adventure. We needed to buy diapers, shoes, and a few of her favorite snacks. This was the day that we learned she loves to be held but only if we are standing up. The moment we bent down a few inches to sit, she cried. So, standing it was. The social workers said don’t worry, and that it was normal. At one of our hotels the staff knew we couldn’t sit, so they had a high top table for us to use. When they saw us, the set the table for us, and Yankee and I took turns standing and eating with her. Not sitting was making us nervous for the long plane ride, but after four days and lots of play, we were able to sit and hold our daughter. Now that we are back home, she has regressed some, and we are back to the standing versus sitting for a big chunk of the day. Our Charlotte social worker said to not worry about it and that she needs comfort and reassurance. All you adoptive mammas out there should have told me that I needed to lift weights. That’s the one thing I wish I had done beforehand. I think I am on my way to Michelle Obama arms! If you start with an infant, then your arm strength develops as the child grows. All of a sudden I was carrying a 26 pound child around, and my arms did get tired and sore.
In Thailand we had to have an interview with the adoption board. These are the folks who approved our adoption, and this was one of the final steps. Nineteen families were there that day for the interview (they only meet twice a month.) We were the first family to go, and there was a panel of maybe nine people. They all had our huge file of home studies, references, and everything about us translated into Thai. When we entered the room, they asked us to sit, and I explained our not being able to sit. They were fine with that. It seemed as if they had seen that many other times before. Little Miss cried the whole time they asked us questions, but they understood the grief and changes our daughter was going through. The last thing one lady on the panel asked me was if I was happy. I don’t know what it was with the tears again, but I smiled, cried, and said, “Yes, I haven’t been happier.” She told us congratulations and thanked us for adopting.
Once that big step was finished, we headed to the US Embassy for her Visa interview. We learned her travel visa would be ready earlier than expected! (She was issued a Thai passport and needed an American travel visa to be able to enter our country.) We still had a five day wait, but we were able to change our flights to come home a few days early.
Once that step was complete, we left Bangkok and headed to a resort in Hua Hin, which we arranged before we left home. We traveled by van with another family, and it took us about four and a half hours to get there. (Thank you traffic.) Hua Hin is a beach town, and our resort (we stayed at the Intercontinental) was just gorgeous. I told Yankee it was just like one of the places that they would stay on the hit show, “The Bachelor.” Little Miss did not like the sand, but eventually with lots of playing and toys, we got her into the pool, and she loved it. Plus, it was so hot. It felt like 116 degrees, so, the pool was very refreshing. We learned our daughter LOVES to drink the juice from young coconuts, and she loves watermelon. The girl gets so excited for these things.
At this point we are now home, and there are still lots of tears, but she has started to show her personality. Yankee put together this sensory board that she LOVES. She will be smiling and laughing but she will catch herself having fun and start crying. It is a process and she has to go through grief. We heard all the stories about her chatty personality, and it has been so fun to see it all come out. We Skype with my parents every morning, and they have already seen changes in her, and she has spoken several English words. We wanted to get settled in at home before having visitors, but Mom arrived last night. She returned Gracie whose world is about to change.