I am sorry for the limited posts. Things have been busy since getting Phoebe. She likes to be held!
There was no need for an alarm clock on Monday, March 9. Phoebe’s Gotcha Day.
We arrived at the place where we would receive her. A mixture of emotions bombarded our group.
As we stood there waiting, all of a sudden a door opened and a small group was scurrying to a holding room. But I noticed that a baby was in a woman’s arms. I said, “There she is!” My mom happened to have her video camera on and caught Phoebe being taken into a side room.
I cannot explain or express the feelings I had when I saw her enter the room. We were so close to one another and yet so far away still! We could catch glimpses of the woman brushing her hair, kissing her, patting her back – truly loving her.
After about 15 minutes, the small group edged towards the door and began to walk towards us. It wasn’t the “official” moment I do not believe, but they brought her near us. I reached out and touched her. I then said, “Can I have her?”
I held Phoebe for the first time. She did not cry. She just looked at me, looked at Chad, looked at Joeli and Eden. She continually kept looking over our shoulder or around to find Joeli and Eden. She kept looking at us as if studying us.
At one point, the lady who was caring for her went over and tried to get her back, but Phoebe did not reach. The woman in Chinese said, “You don’t want me” and began to softly laugh, with actual relief. I could tell she was truly thankful that Phoebe seemed to be doing okay. She wept as she left the building. It made me sad for her and yet rejoice. My Phoebe had been loved and cared for so well. Someone would miss her and that is great for Phoebe.
After holding her, they took her from us and led us into a room where they explained the Harmonious Day. We had 24 hours to spend time with her caring for her and deciding if this seemed right. We signed papers that we would not abandon her, abuse her or allow her to be hurt.
After signing the papers, she was placed back into our arms. We walked out of the building and came back to our hotel.
Chad prepared milk for her. I fed her and she slept on my shoulder. While feeding her I was shocked by two things: 1. How tired my hand became feeding a baby with a cl/cp with the bottle they gave me and 2. She almost never diverted her eyes from mine. She seemed to be trying to read my mind and my heart with each sip of milk.
When she woke up after a brief nap, she began to offer us smiles here and there.
The harmonious period began. We have 24 hours from the Gotcha moment to care for her. During these hours, parents decide if they are moving forward with their final commitment.
We know that our journey has now truly begun.