I’m typing this as out Dolly is laying here next to me sleeping in her little crib. After waiting for her for so long, it feels absolutely surreal to have her here.
Just like every one of our children’s Gotcha moments, hers was emotional, amazing and so painful. We arrived at the government offices to find the elevator broken, so we had to climb six flights of stairs. That wasn’t the painful part, well, not for her anyway. It’s one of those moments I want to remember because it was like the final push to get to her, me sweating so much more then I should have climbing what seemed like an endless number of stairs to her. After my day on the Great Wall, my legs burn from climbing.
She was waiting for us when we got there. Wearing about 18 layers of clothes because the Chinese always do that so the babies don’t catch colds, and talking happily. In the last few months, when I imagined this moment 1000 times, I worried that I would get to that moment and somehow, I wouldn’t recognize her. I guess I’ve stared at her little picture a few times, because I would have recognized her anywhere. I had to bite into my tongue hard to stop the ridiculous tears that burned my eyes. The last thing she needed was to be handed to a weeping stranger. She is amazingly beautiful. So perfect and so tiny.
I reached for her as people all around me began to speak to her swiftly in Chinese, telling her something and then “mama”, something more, and then “mama” again. Just as I has prepared myself for, she stiffened immediately as she looked at me, reeled back and SCREAMED for her nanny. I like that she screams words I can recognize sometimes, like “ayi” the Chinese word for nanny, but most of it is just babbling.
It was then that I noticed she is audibly wheezing. In a very scary way. I immediately told the guide, who had no flipping clue what wheezing is, to listen to her chest. She did and shrugged “she has cold”. My first sarcastic thought was “well, I guess the 18 layers of clothes didnt do their job, now did they?” Then I lost my crap. Just internally, and only because I began thinking of all the things besides “just a cold” that could be causing this wheezing. SO many very bad things. I thought about it all the way to the office to have her passport photo taken, where my tiny, but very mighty girl, continued to scream the entire time. She screamed all the way back to, and into, the hotel. She continued this for two very long hours. She didn’t want a bottle and she only ate a tiny amount of the noodles and baby food I tried to feed her. Finally, I gave up. She must be so scared. We’ll work on eating again tomorrow.
Thankfully, after we spent an hour in the steamy hotel bathroom, crying (me too a little) she is breathing easier, which wouldn’t be happening if her heart were failing and her lungs were filling with fluid. I think she really does have a cold. God, please let this be a cold. She doesn’t have a fever and she only turned slightly blue with all that screaming. I’m going to play dumb and ignore what I can’t do anything about. I’m going to pretend that I’m blissfully ignorant of her fragile health, watch her carefully, and work on getting to know her better. It makes me feel in control, so don’t judge me please.
Her little heart is so sad right now. Do you know what finally calmed her? Not the singing, not the rocking, not the Chinese music I played on my iPod. This is so sad. Are you ready? She finally calmed when I laid her in her crib. Alone. She whimpered, rolled over, played with her hands and stopped crying. She’s used to this, to laying in a crib. She’s not used to having a mama who wants to hold her as she drifts off. It nearly killed me to do what I did next. In an attempt to finally get her to stop, I gave in and let her lie there. Against every mama/attachment t instinct I have, I set her down. As I even type this, my hands are shaking and I’m crying again thinking what it takes to get a child to a point where she hates being cuddled, where she’s more comfortable laying in a very hard crib and falling asleep alone.
I did the best I could and laid down next to her as she drifted off, reached my hand through the bars, just inches from her face, and stroked her little fingers. She protested at first, but finally gave up the fight, probably because I wasn’t scaring her with my endless chorus of Adele anymore, and let me touch her, and make eye contact with her, as she fell asleep.
When I texted FPD this picture later, I told him how amazing she was and how all I can do is take baby steps with her, to slowly work my way into her little broken heart, just the way I did with Bubbly. So, that’s what we’ll do tomorrow, that and a whole bunch of adoption paperwork.
who ate ramen and M&Ms for dinner, in a very steamy bathroom, and doesn’t feel a bit bad about it. In fact, she’s pretty sure it was one of the best meals she’s ever had.