Friday, September 4, 2009
Happy Anniversary My Darling Girl
Four years ago today, in a hallway across the Pacific Ocean, in China, a beautiful little girl was placed in my arms. She became our second daughter, finally, after many years of prayer and dreaming. She was terrified, and covered with scrapes, scabs and bruises. She was soaked in sweat but spotlessly clean. I did not recognize her from the referral pictures because her hair was longer and her nose and forehead were so scraped and bruised. I was rather shocked but I asked the orphanage director what had happened to her. The caregiver pantomimed climbing a latter and falling off and pointed to Ahnalin and said "very busy girl." Hm....yep! Just an hour later, in the hotel room, she fell off the bed and slammed her head into the nightstand console. I should have known then that my girl was to be a very active girl!
Ahnalin and I fell in love with each other within those first few seconds. She took one look at me and sobbed, "Mama, Mama." Maybe she was calling for her nanny or foster mother, but she locked eyes with me and it was all over at that point. She had her mama and that was all she wanted. She would have sold Daddy up the river for quite a a few months after that, because all she wanted was her Mama.
I had heard that it was best to keep the babies in the outfits they came in for a while, so that they would feel comfortable. But she had her own ideas from the start. She DID NOT WANT to even look at Don. And since he had a horrible migraine, he went to get a massage and left Ahnalin and I in the room to get acquainted. I gave her a bottle and two of these yucky fish crackers that her paperwork stated were her favorite. She played with her stacking cups for a while and then she crawled over to the the suitcase and started pulling things out. So, I decided to put her in something pink. She loved it. Pink and pretty clothes got her smiling right away.
After Don came back to the room, the three of us went downstairs to the restaurant for dinner. Ahnalin ate so much watermelon that I thought she would be sick. I had ordered Chicken Curry and found it very tasty. Apparently Ahnalin's foster mother must have pre-chewed her meat for her, because Ahnalin pulled my mouth open and took meat out of my mouth and put it in her mouth. It was shocking to me. She had her mouth wide open as she was doing this, saying " AWW AWWW" so that I would put the chewed up chicken in her mouth. She continued this type of behavior at meals for several months after we got home. She eventually realized that we had enough food in our house and started to relax about eating.
After we got back to our hotel room, we called India, and Don's parents, my parents and then Mimi to introduce them to Ahnalin. We waited until it was 5:00AM PST, though it had been so tempting to call them earlier. After that, we changed Ahnalin into her jammies and I sang to her. That first night, I sang "Baby Mine" to her for the very first time. I also sang "Twinkle Twinkle", "Jesus Loves Me", "Great is they Faithfulness", and "Wonderful Merciful Savior". To this day, those songs are her favorites. Ahnalin snuggled in and fell asleep.
She slept all night that first night. She woke up the next morning calling to me "Mama, Mama GO Ball!". Yes, at 5:00 AM on our first morning together, at the age of 12 months, our Chinese daughter said her first sentence in English. I never heard her speak ANY words in Mandarin until years later. I still have so many unanswered questions about her foster family. They simply must have spoken English in the home because she knew exactly what she was saying. She wanted to go play! Right then!
So, I got her dressed and we took her to the hotel playroom where she was thrilled to play with lots of balls. She walked that next day for the first time with us. I suspect she was walking before we received her, but I will never know for sure.
Later on our trip, we purchased 18 different gifts, each chosen for their age appropriateness for her aoption anniversaries. This year, we gave her a set of 4 books with simple words and pictures that also had the Mandarin words along side the English words. Ahnalin LOVES her books.
Ahnalin is crazy in love with her Daddy now.
Ahnalin is holding a "Get Well" picture that her China sister Kylie sent her yesterday. Kylie celebrates the same adoption anniversary that Ahnalin does, and we all traveled together.
We are so grateful for our precious Ahnalin. This has not been an easy road at all, but we are a family and that is the most important thing.
Happy Anniversary my Darling Girl! We all love you so much.