Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Family Day!

One year ago we waited in a hotel room in Hohhot City, Inner Mongolia.  This was the culmination of 2 years of paperwork, much scrutinizing and nail biting, and lots of anxiety filled waiting.  The staff brought a crib to the room and I put sheets on and laid stuffed animals on the pillow.  And we waited.  We still weren't even sure if we would meet her that day.  The phone rang and we were told to come to the lobby.  There, on a red velvet couch, sat a woman holding a little girl.  The little girl had on a new clothes, a pink Minnie Mouse shirt, boys' pants with baseballs on the butt, and brown croc-like shoes.  She looked different than she had in the photo.  She had teeth and was bigger than I expected.  But it was her - my daughter.  The woman put her in my arms.  I had the same feeling that I had when Sierra and Laurel were born and placed in my arms for the first time.  A feeling of wonder and awe... this is our child.  I tried so hard to hold back the tears of joy (and a bit of terror!) that threatened to spill.  I didn't want to frighten her with my emotions.  She cried a bit and I held her, rocked her, willed her to feel my love.  Willed her to know that I was her mom and would always take care of her, be there for her, never abandon her.  Willed her to feel that she had a place firmly in my heart even though this was the first time we had laid eyes on each other.  Willed her to take comfort in the fact that I would dry her tears, kiss her boo-boo's, and overflow with joy at her smiles and laughter.  Willed myself to try to not think about any adoption "horror stories" that I had read and to have faith that Cadence would find her place in our family.

After some formalities, lots of Chinese talk, red thumbprints, and photographs, we all went back to the hotel room and took our first family photo.  Brad went back to the lobby to finish some things up while Sierra and I managed to elicit some smiles and few giggles from Cadence.  We fed her lots of Gerber puffs and looked over the description of her personality and daily schedule that the orphanage had given us - all written in Chinese!  We spent the rest of the day and evening crowded around her (overwhelming her I'm sure!) trying to make her happy.  Now that I think of it, that's still how we spend the day sometimes!

Another 11 days in China and then we head back home to make Cadence a US citizen and meet her adoring big sister, Laurel.  In the next year, Cadence had 2 surgeries, countless doctor appointments, lived in 3 different homes, and has adjusted better than I ever thought was possible!  She has fit right into our family.  She enjoys rough-housing and loves to make people laugh.  If there is an audience around she is more than happy to perform.  She is FINALLY starting to talk and has continued to move up on the growth charts and out of her clothes.  She loves to cuddle while we read books and gives wonderful kisses and hugs.  Everyday she amazes us with a skill she has learned or evidence of how stinkin' smart she is. 

I often have people ask me how Cadence has attached to us.  She knows that Brad and I are her daddy and mommy.  She generally prefers one of us over other people and is easily soothed by us. She is not so terrified of others to prevent us from getting a babysitter or make walking away from her seem like the world is crashing in.  She hasn't said it, verbally, but I feel like she does show us that she loves us and knows that we are her peeps!  I'm sure that I could scrutinize everything when assessing her attachment and begin to think otherwise.  Maybe she doesn't cry when she wakes up in the morning because she doesn't know that we will respond to her needs... or maybe she just likes chillin' a bit when she gets up.  Maybe she shows off for others thinking that they might take care of her at some point... or maybe she just likes an audience.  But I truly feel in my heart that she knows that she is ours and we are hers.  Happy Family Day, Cadence.... we all look forward to so many more and all that your future will bring!

She is finally in my arms... there were days I never thought it would happen!

My attempt at remaining calm!
Our first family photo! (I had a picture of Laurel in a locket on my necklace)

I'm always amazed to think that this blank, shut down face we saw the first few days now looks like...

... this!  Love, love, love!

Family Day 2011

1 comment:

  1. It is hard to believe it has been a year! We celebrate our 1st year family day on the 13th for Keaton. Happy One year family day to Cadence and your family!