Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meeting Rosie

Despite the 31 hours travelling and sleeping tablet, I slept very little Sunday night. It was hard to sleep knowing that I was in the same country as my daughter and would meet her in just a few hours.
When daylight finally broke, I got up and began to put together a bag for the day and then went to have a shower only to discover that the power had gone out and the generator hadn't been powered up yet. So, after a quick shower, I got dressed and was then pleased to find the generator running so that I could dry my hair.

We had a quick breakfast upstairs and then met Robel (our in-country guide who is a super amazing guy) and drove to the Hilton to meet Duni (the in-country coordinator for a couple of hours of paperwork and then lunch. Lunch was probably good and the Hilton was fabulous, but all I could think about was getting to the Transition home.

Finally, we were on the bus and headed to our kids. We had agreed beforehand that the Kulp family, who had been waiting for 6 months to pass court, should meet their child first. When we arrived, Duni went into the home to bring the first baby out, only to come back out a couple of minutes later with news that their little Micah was asleep. So, they went in to meet him with Robel going along to take pictures. From there, we were scheduled to go by last name alphabetically to meet our children. The Bartels were waiting, only to have Duni come back to say that their little girl wasn't there, that she had been taken for a medical along with the Rovang's daughter and my Rosie.

So, I stood there and watched as other families began to meet their little ones. Then, I heard a vehicle pull up and stop outside the gate. The gatekeeper went out, and I heard little voices. I hollered to the other families that I thought our kids were back, and sure enough, a line of little people began wandering in through the gate. Mom kept asking if it was Rosie, and I kept saying no. She would ask if I was sure, and I kept telling her that yes, I was sure. Then all of a sudden, there she was. She walked through the gate, I knelt down and she came right over to me. From the photo album we had sent, she knew who I was and called me Mommy. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. I handed her the stuffed bunny I had brought for her, spent a couple of seconds stroking her hair and then held out my arms. She jumped right into them and wrapped her arms tight around my neck. All of the hard times and waiting were over and that moment was just such sweet release. It was so hard not to just sob, but I didn't want to frighten her.
Thankfully, she kept her arms tight around my neck and couldn't see just how hard I was having to work to hold it together. After a couple of minutes when I could breathe and see again, I pulled back where we could look at each other. She loved playing with my hair and would alternate that with rubbing my face and kissing me. I
went to find a shady spot to sit, and she had a great time looking in my purse. I had brought some toys, and she found the balloons right away. She had a great time trying to blow them up. When she couldn't, she stuck it in my mouth. So much for trying to avoid transferring any nasties that she might have had! I just couldn't refuse. We spent a while playing balloons, and then one of the other Moms handed her a lollipop. She unwrapped it, gave it a good suck, looked at me and realized I didn't have one and promptly bit off half and stuffed into my mouth. Then, dragging out my water bottle, she had a good drink and wanted to give me a drink, too. I decided that the bonding was worth any risk involved and just let her praying that God would protect me from whatever nasties there were.
I got out my pictures from home, and she immediately grabbed them, pointed out Gareth and began to kiss his picture, saying "Daddy, Daddy". She did the same with each of the boys' pictures. After she had finished her lollipop and my bottle of water, she hopped up and grabbed my hand and off we went. She took me and showed me where she slept, took me to her classroom and pointed out her abc's and then sang them to me, and then we wandered into the home to see the babies. By this point in time, all of the injections she had had at her medical were catching up with her and she was more than happy to be carried around. She had a horrible case of conjunctivitis with lots of blood and pus, and she loved it when I got out some nice cool wet wipes to clean her face and eyes. She found my journal and ink pens and we spent a long time writing our ABC's. It was almost time for us to leave, when she got a panicked look on her face , said "Shinty" (need to potty), grabbed my hand and took off at a run. Back to the back of the property, where the rooms that house the older children are. Opening one of the doors, I was hit with the unmistakable smell and sight of a squatty potty, around which was evidence of some very poor aim. There was no toilet paper to be seen, and no soap at the sink. She had terrible diarrhea and obviously had bad stomach cramps. She looked so distressed and to be honest, so was I. Everything that I had heard from families who had travelled earlier was what a wonderful place the new transition home is. And, they are right. The children who come to the transition home are very fortunate. The nannies obviously love them very much, they get plenty to eat, medical attention, and schooling. But, what I hadn't heard was that the older kids sleep on thin mats over plywood bases on rusty bunk beds 2 or 3 to a bed and that hygiene standards still operate at an un-American level. I consider myself to be fairly well travelled and know that most countries don't crave an American level of hygiene and cleanliness, but it still came as a bit of a shock to see my daughter in those conditions. When I finally thought that she was through, I got out the gloves and wet wipes and cleaned her up. The look of gratitude on her face made me cry all over again. By the time I had her cleaned up, she no longer looked upset and she spent a long time kissing my face when I was through.

By this time, I could hear the bus and knew that it was time to leave. I so did not want to go. How could I turn around and leave her, having just got her? But, that is how the schedule works, so praying that leaving for the evening would give her a chance to process everything that had happened so far, I left her my journal and pens with a big hug and kiss and the promise that I when I came back the next day it would be forever.


  1. I love this picture of you crying! It just shows everything you had been feeling inside leading up to this and your joy at holding her. I had to "awwww" when you wrote that she immediately recognized you and called you Mommy. I'm just so happy for you.

  2. thank you for posting. the picture of you holding her is priceless. i am just sitting here bawling & dreaming of our day!