Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Meeting

("Hurple", Annalise's lovey, picked by our girls, named by Little K.)

As we walked into the K's home, we were greeted by Daddy K, Mama K, Little K (their 9 year old daughter) and the adoption coordinator. Annalise was no where in sight. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and sat on the couch.

Little K asked who we were. I wasn't sure what her parents had told her so I looked to Mama K. Mama K said we might be the baby's new parents. The word *might* pierced my heart but as I looked at Little K to shake my head yes, I realized that her heart was being pierced at the same time. She's had 8 months of a little sister. She obviously loves our girl. I made a mental note that we should be mindful of Little K's feelings. She asked if we were her parents, would we keep in touch. I said that would be no problem as long as her parents allowed it. She smiled and sat at my feet, watching me carefully.

Immediately, Mama K said she was going to get the "the girl of the day!" And soon I had 10 lbs of sweet baby in my arms. She studied me hard. She could tell I was new. At first she had her body very stiff. I coo'd to her and told her how beautiful she was. I held her so that she could study Brandon too. Soon Brandon and Annalise were playing with each other's hands. To be perfectly honest, I had wondered about her tiny hands but soon she was gripping Brandon finger with her thumb and pointer finger. She has quite a grip!

Soon she relaxed and molded into my body. Huge smiles that take up her whole face were starting to show. There were a few times that we were speaking with the other adults in the room and she'd poke me to make sure I was still paying attention to her.

Every so often, I'd hear "Stephanie?" and I'd look up.. a bit embarrassed that I had obviously gotten caught looking into my new daughter's face and tuning the rest of the world out. It was just us, staring at each other and taking each other in.

I'm not allowed to publish pictures. But I'll do my best to describe Annalise. She has very dark brown skin that looks fabulous in turquoise, coral and pink. She has very long, thick eyelashes and very prominent eyebrows. She has a ton of curly hair that Mama K puts a bow in each morning. She smiles easily. Her cry is tiny and unlike anything I've ever heard. We only heard her cry once in the 6.5 hours that we were there that afternoon and that was when she wanted to come back to me while we were eating dinner. *grin* She bats at toys, she can spin around on her activity mat using just her feet and head. She has an effective pincher grasp on her left hand. She also grabbed our fingers with a very tight grip as if to say "Gotcha!" She has no teeth yet. She is very tiny and is just starting to wear 3 month clothes.

You can probably see why I was in my own little world watching her...

Soon the birthparent counselor came. She shared some details about her birthparents that we had not known. Soon all the agency workers left us with the K's and we continued to talk about her medical history. Mama K has a thick notebook with details of every appointment, every test result, etc. I glanced through it but it was far too much to read in one sitting when I wanted to soak up every second with Brandon and Annalise. She told me that notebook will come home with Annalise. She also told me what she believes should be the next steps in her care.

I shared a little book I made with pictures of each of our family members. Annalise studied the pictures intensely. We also gave her a lovely that the girls picked out. Brandon and I slept with the lovey so it would have our scent on it. Annalise looked at it for a long time, taking it all in.

Brandon connected Annalise's feeding tube and held her as she ate. We also watched her eat some babyfood applesauce.

We shared dinner with the K family. We talked about our faiths and just general life. We laughed together. We felt at ease.

A bit after 6 pm, we left to go check into our hotel. After paying a toll, we found our hotel with no issues. We could see the Phillies stadium from our room's window. I took a shower and got dressed again. Brandon did the same but when he came out I was asleep on the bed. He gently woke me and we set out in search of our bank and a real Philly Cheesesteak. Afterwards, we headed back to the K's to meet our girl's favorite night nurse, Mama J.

Mama J was direct and to the point. You can tell that she cares for Annalise deeply. She gave us alot of pointers about choosing a nurse for our family and that was greatly appreciated. We left encouraged and hopeful. Brandon and I crashed into the bed and slept without moving.

The next morning, we drove into Trenton (and paid another toll!) to meet at our agency's office. We cared for Annalise as the K's updated their infant CPR certification just down the hallway. It was a little more awkward being in an office than in a home and I was instantly greatful that we had first met in the K's home. We took a lot of pictures of Annalise. Mama K took a picture of both of us with Annalise. Brandon took a picture of Mama K and Annalise with me. Brandon also took a picture with Little K and Annalise with me.

I kissed Annalise and told her we'd be back soon and to be a good girl for Mama and Daddy K. I blinked a few tiny tears back and I snapped her in her carseat to go home with the K's. We all hugged each other.

Afterwards, we had a meeting with the adoption coordinator and the director of the agency. Parts were tense but I had such peace during those conversations. We were asked if we were sure we wanted to proceed. We both said YES! and soon after we were signing paperwork to start the interstate compact process.

After another toll, (I told you it was a theme!) we grabbed a bite to eat and we were headed south to meet up with a dear friend, Susanna.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

How delightful to hear about your new little love! I love how you described her.