My first day with Holden, as in the day I became a Mom and get to take care of him and love him forever, went unbelievably well. As in, better than I thought possibe, as in, I'm expecting my sweet boy to have a breakdown any second because up to this point, he has been amazingly resilient.
Can you believe I spent a whole day with a two year-old and no tears were shed? There was not even a hint of whining. How is this child so perfect? No seriously, I am so convinced at his perfection. I think he is the best at everything and every little thing he does is adorable. Even when he burps, it is perfect and adorable! I told Laura that I will probably think his farts are the best ever too. Watch out teachers of America, I can already see myself as one of those obnoxious parents who comes storming into your classroom in a blind rage because their child is perfect, and clearly the fact that they have just pooped in the corner and smeared it all over every child's artwork is all YOUR FAULT. I mean, what other explanation is there?
How did a post that was supposed to be lovely and beautiful and life-changing start off with poop in the first paragraph? I don't know, but we're going with it. It kind of represents how I feel as a new Mom. I feel like I have been given the most incredible, beautiful, perfect gift, and my biggest fear is that I will mess it all up. I am continually on my knees asking God to show me how to do this.
The day started off with a long cab ride. I kept myself busy trying to scribble out a thank you note to the staff at Vathsalya Charitable Trust (the orphanage that oversees Holden's care and files all the paperwork for his adoption). I think sometimes I intentionally procrastinate so I can keep myself busy in the moments leading up to a big event. It prevents me from becoming a sobbing mess. I was all excitement and joy as we got out of the car.
Laura and I walked up to the third floor where the offices are, and sweet, little Holden was there sitting on the couch right in front of me. I went over with a big smile and told him it was so good to see him. I am very cautious around Holden right now. I feel like he is this fragile, little faun that I don't want to startle. What I wanted to do was whisk him up into my arms immediately and squeeze his eyeballs out. What I actually did because I thought it would be better for him was kneel down in front of him, talk in gentle, slow tones, and pull some toys out of the elephant backpack I brought him. Within a few minutes, Mary Paul, the orphanage director and one of the kindest women you will ever meet, was calling us back to her office. I picked Holden up and just said, "It feels so good to hold you again." We went over some paperwork, and then I received the most wonderful gift from VCT, a scrapbook of photos from Holden's time with them. There were many photos in the book I had never seen before. Holden just loved flipping through the pages. We will protect and treasure this book forever.
We also took pictures with Holden's foster mother. More on that later. This incredible, beautiful, sweet woman deserves a post all her own.
One of my favorite moments of the day came when I realized that Holden knows I am his Mama. I still can't believe this part of our day really happened. I left the room with a spunky little girl named, Shilpa, because she managed to get a little mess of something on her hands. As I held her hand out and walked off to find a way to clean it, Laura was still in the same room as Holden. She said he kept leaning over and looking out the door to where he could see me down the hall, and would say "Mama". He kept looking at me, then up at her, the. She said, "Yep, that's your Mama... Go see your Mama" Holden started crawling toward me, and Laura called out to me and told me what had just happened. My heart was this big, melty pile. I looked at him, and said, "I am your Mama." I wanted to scoop him up into a big hug, but another little rascal decided it was her turn for some attention and kind of blocked my attempt ;)
For a much better take on the story, check out Laura's blog post: http://intiric.blogspot.in/2013/04/today.html
Before we left the orphanage I thanked Mary Paul and hugged her and told her how very much I appreciate all of the hard work VCT does, and the way they make finding loving foster homes for their children a priority. I told her that Holden is a happy, wonderful boy because of the work they do and the love of his foster mother. We both teared up, and she said, "thank you for noticing all the work we do, because not many people appreciate that." It made me so sad to hear that, and I realized how easy it is for us as adoptive parents to just demand, demand, demand, without ever saying thank you. We always want more info, more pictures, we want to know what's taking so long. Meanwhile, the sweet women at VCT are buried under a pile of paperwork, taking little kids to court, trying to recruit and train more foster mothers, and the list goes on.... They have no more control over the speed of India's government agencies than we do. I promised Mary to send pictures and find VCT on Facebook. I also assured her that we would definitely be back and would show her what a wonderful, young man Holden was becoming.
Little man fell asleep on the car ride home, and I laid him down for a nap as soon as we got back to the hotel. He slept much longer than he usually does, but he had understandably had a big day. I kept sneaking over just to watch him breathe. Knowing my little boy was sleeping peacefully in the same room as me, knowing that I get to love him forever- it was just (and still is!) such an amazing feeling. I kept saying silent prayers, thanking God for this beautiful blessing that I don't deserve.
When Holden woke up, I could tell he was nervous and confused. He looked at me, thinking, "you're not my Ammina. She's the one who gets me up after naps..." I just held him and said, "Mama's here." Then I pointed at him and said his Indian name, then pointed at me and said, "Mama". I tried to make conversation with him in happy tones, then we played cars on the floor. I was sure the tears were coming at any moment, but they never did. He played very quietly and timidly at first, then gradually warmed up to me again.
Laura brought us take-out for dinner, and Holden ate like a champ. He does seem to have a little trouble chewing up chicken. I swear he still had chicken bits lingering in his cheek a few hours later! I'm gonna have to do some finger-sweeping on this boy.
We played with all sorts of things including Laura's wallet and phone. She is such a good sport! We both wondered when Holden would give us a great, big laugh. He is so quiet and serious sometimes. Not too long after that I was chasing him around the room as he crawled around on his hand sandals (a genius invention, I will show you a pic later), and I would get him and tickle him. He started laughing like crazy! It was the sweetest sound I have ever heard. It got to the point where he would collapse on the floor and start laughing before I even got to him. Love this boy so much.
Laura said goodbye for the night and we planned to Skype with some family. As soon as I sat Holden on the bed for skyping, he just collapsed. He lifted his head a few times and gave a wave, but he essentially said, "I am wiped!". Little guy was ready for bed an hour early. He is still sleeping peacefully beside me - most beautiful sight in the world.
Daddy arrives really late tonight!! Can't wait!!!!