Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Six Months

Six months ago, we sat in the Civil Affairs office in Taiyuan and became foster parents. 

It was a very tense day.  Lifeline was supposed to deliver our paperwork so that we could hand carry the official documents needed.  

They forgot.

 I made several calls in the days before we left, and they kept assuring me that the papers were on the way and would arrive in time. Someone forgot to ever mail them. So,  I was promised that they would quickly send the paperwork ahead of us to China so that all the documents would be waiting for us when we got there.

They were not.

Fortunately, I had printed out copies of everything and Kelly had those in his backpack.  The official agreed to accept those copies until the original documents could arrive.

After a very unpleasant call to our adoption agency, that issue was set aside.  Then they brought Claire into the room. She promptly tried to run away.  She wanted nothing to do with us.  She wasn't going to have anything to do with the things we brought to distract her.  She just didn't want to even look in our direction.  We had to hold on tightly to keep her from leaving as we went down to get pictures taken for the adoption decree. 

In the picture shop, her nanny of 4 years was trying to get her to sit with us for a photo when her foster mama from her first 4 years of life walked in.  Things got a little confusing for awhile.  I remember new shoes, a bag of fruit and candy, and a glass of milk tied in a grocery bag,  being given to Claire. Then there were pictures and tears and I was holding a wailing child as we dragged her into a waiting van and pulled away as she screamed for her mamas.

All that screaming and crying created the need for a breathing treatment.  Finding some interesting things to see on the computer helped her get calm and stay still.
We needed a quick lunch.  It had been a long morning and we were running out of steam.   Our guide had only told us about a McDonald's and Pizza Hut.  Since we knew that Claire had been to McDonald's on field trips, that was our pick of necessity.

We made sure that Claire got some noodles for supper.  Proving that we could provide acceptable food was a good first step in helping her feel safe with us.
Six months later, she remembers those other mamas fondly.  She talks about how they had jobs to take care of children until their mamas could come get them. Then, those nannies will take care of other children.  Nannies love the children but don't take care of them forever.  Mommies keep on being mommies all the time.

I think I'm the mommy now. At least it sure feels like it when she crawls into my bed in the morning and pats my cheek, or when she says, "Wo ai ni, mama." at night when I'm tucking her in with 42 hugs and 18 kisses. 

                Six months isn't very long--but it is long enough for a lot of love to grow.

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