We finally had her. What's funny is that at that point in our lives it felt like an eternity to receive our daughter. In reality (especially by today's standards) our time frame was very reasonable. It was about 6.5 months from the time that we decided to adopt until the time we had Taevy in our arms. I think it was just because she was our first and there was so many unknowns with whether or not her adoption would go through, that the process was so difficult on me.
The day after we received Taevy I got to go and pick up my mom at the airport. Only one person was allowed to go inside so I walked into the unknown-to-me airport hoping I could figure out where to go. From the luggage area you could see people flooding in from outside to go through immigration. I spotted my mom. I was maybe 40 yards away from her but of course she was absorbed with a huge closed in crowd and trying to figure out how to get a visa upon arrival. Finally she got into the actual line for immigration. From there she spotted me. It MAY have helped that I was waving to her like a mad woman! When she saw me I held up her granddaughter above the crowd so that she could see her. My mom got this great picture of me holding Taevy up like a prize (but I don't have an electronic copy of it)!
It was good to have my mommy with me. At the same time, I was feeling very possessive of Taevy and felt like I had to "prove" that I could do it without my mom's help. There were some tense moments when my mom saw me doing things "wrong" and I didn't want to hear about it. Thank goodness she forgave me, probably realizing that I was an emotional mess.
Taevy grieved. I know that there is this MYTH out there that babies always attach well and don't really go throw grief. HOGWASH! Taevy hurt. She really felt abandoned and alone. I remember the pain I felt as I supported her through a 2 hour tantrum in which the look of horror on her face broke my heart in two. I could do nothing to help her.
She had good times and bad times the rest of the week in Cambodia. Looking back on it, I think even during her "good" times she was actually just checked out from the entire experience. We have lots of pictures of her looking off into space with her mouth open. It didn't help that she had a horrible double ear infection. One thing that seemed to help her was going out of our air conditioned "Americanized" hotel room into the hot humid air of Cambodia. We had a balcony that was a God-send. When nothing else worked we could walk outside and you could see the familiarity wash over her face. Her home's sounds. Her home's smells. Inside the hotel room she was in another world that she didn't know.
I wish I could say that we did a lot of cool stuff in Cambodia, but we really didn't. About the coolest thing we did was go to the Central Market. We also went to visit the Palace. Because of the fact that we were bringing Taevy home while the country was closed to adoption we were told to be very discreet. We weren't to talk to anybody about the fact that we were adopting her. If the asked...we were just visiting. Our agency didn't want any publicity. And honestly--neither did we. There was definitely a big sense of guilt that we were getting our baby out when hundreds of other families had to wait for the moratorium to end. It was quite some time before I came "out of the closet" about that to other Cam. Adoptive parents.
Our odd foursome got ready to head home. It was interesting in Cambodia trying to explain that our parents were there, but they weren't married! My mom...Eric's dad. We all got to ride home together. Taevy did wonderfully despite the fact that were told she would probably cry the whole way home because of her ears (the doctor expected her eardrums to burst on the way home). She never acted like she was pain. [We found out later that her lack of pain response was one of the first clues that Taevy had some issues going on, but at the time we saw it as her being a "perfect" baby.]
The first several weeks home are a complete blur to me. I know my mom stayed with us for a while. I know that she made us "Calico Ham Casserole" and that I couldn't eat that dish again for years thereafter. You know when you are just coming down with a stomach bug and the last food you ate before the bug hit just sounds GROSS for a while? No stomach bug--but the mixture of a new baby that was 12 hours off on sleep pattern, my jet lag, and me learning how to be a mom for the first time was NOT easy. That casserole just sounded gross for a long time after that! LOL! I think I started coming out of the fog after about three weeks.
Taevy was 5 months 3 weeks old when we were united with her. She was crawling by the time we got home. She was standing at 8 months. She was walking at 10 months. She abandoned the bottle at 11 months. By 12 months she was singing her ABC's and counting to 10. Just an amazing child. Her infancy went by so quickly. By the time she was 18 months old she was "big sister" and I no longer saw her as a baby at all. [Of course now I realize that she was still SUCH a baby!]
Thanks for hanging in there with me while I wrote out Taevy's adoption story. There is more to her life story that I think I will share at a later time. Taevy is our most sensitive child, which is her gift and her curse. She has had to work very hard to attach to us, to work through some post-traumatic issues, and sensory issues. She continues to work hard and I believe with all my heart that she will have a successful future.
P.S. I just heard that Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter was killed this evening after being run over by her older brother. What a tragedy. Please pray for this family, who has done so much to bring awareness to the orphan crisis in this world.