Forever Family Day....This is a long one!
Well..needless to say..we didn’t really sleep the night before. We actually were awake after only 6 hours of sleep. We woke up about 4:30 and talked for a bit about what the day meant, our expectations (none), and our hopes. We decided to get up and head down to Starbucks before waking up the grandparents. I think we were just pretty anxious and the fresh air would help us get distracted. We got our coffee and scoped out places to eat for breakfast. We came back and got ready for breakfast and we all left to this cafe called Caffe Lucci. Already by then my tummy was turning...3 more hours.
After breakfast we walked around a bit trying to figure out what was around the guest house area. Got some things for lunch because we knew 1:00 was around the corner and we didn’t want to be late. Sooo..bought some bread and peanut butter ($9.00!) and headed back to the apartment to get ready. I straightened my hair, we ironed the clothes thoroughly. Wanted to look our very best. We went to the grandparents room with the gifts in hand and gave them the camera and video then we went over to the SWS building beside the guesthouse at around 12:40 (a 1 minute walk from the guesthouse).
Of course...lunchtime (12:00 - 1:00). We waited in the lobby. Tried to watch a bit of the Olympics on the TV but couldn’t focus. My tummy was not right. My hands were shaking. We were trying to keep up a conversation to keep distracted but our eyes were on the clock. Every now and then we would see nurses carrying babies up and down the elevator. They were most likely going to the nursery in the hospital. Can’t help thinking which nurse was the one who was taking care of Olivia when she was born.
Okay...12:50, let’s go ask for Ms. Bang of the SWS. The lady directed us to the 7th floor of the hospital. We squeezed into this tiny elevator not breathing. Got off on our floor and on the left was the SWS office. Immediately, Ms. Bang greeted us at the door. I just wanted to run up to her and give her a big and thank her for all she’s done. But of course, that was not proper and so I shook her hand with both of my hands really hard. She told us to have a seat and she would call for a taxi to bring us to the foster family’s house.
The office wasn’t what I imagined. It just looked a room full of cubicles with social workers talking on the phone or on the computer. On the other side of the room, were 2 rooms. The first room we recognized right away because it was the “photo” room. This was the room where Olivia’s pictures and DVD came from. We laughed as we recognized all the toys she was playing with in the DVD and pictures. While we were waiting, we were ALL taking deep breathes. There were occasionally bursts of nervous laughter. Martin gave the presents to the Ms. Bang and for the staff at SWS. She must have been used to all the gift bags. Oh well..they all deserve it.
While we were waiting, Ms. Bang handed us a note from the foster mother. A letter to Olivia’s parents. There we read about how much love and care she had for Olivia, and she wished us the very best. I was very touched about her devotion and love she had for Olivia. When was the taxi coming?
Finally, I look up and see Ms. Bang put on her coat. The taxi was here. OH MY GOSH!
We hoped into this black minivan. Again...deep breathes. We hopped into the van and we were off. Ms. Bang reminded us that we have a 1 hour visit. Plus..the 1 hour to get there. ugh. The ride there was super quiet and super hot. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was shining and it seemed like it was a beautiful spring day. During the drive, we recognized some of the streets we have visited the day before. I actually thought it might have been better to take the subway. hahahha Finally we turned right off the street and went up a steep hill. This must be it. We reached an apartment building that was on top of a hill and got off. Breathe. We got into another tiny elevator and Ms. Bang pressed the 2nd floor button. We got out of the elevator and there it was. Apartment 203. She pressed the doorbell and the door opened.
As soon as the door opened we were greeted by many family members. hahaha I recognized the foster mother right away from the pictures. She was tall and slim just like the photos. She was wearing jeans and a yellow sweater. There was foster grandmother too. I’m thinking she was the mother of the foster mother because they resembled each other. Then....in a blink of an eye. Olivia came strolling along with her walker just to see what all the commotion was about at the door. I couldn’t believe it. There she was. With her spiky asian hair. Drooling. And somewhat curious and nervous about all these new people. By this time, we were still outside the apartment, bowing in respect and greeting.
We finally walked into the apartment, took our shoes off, and went to greet Olivia. She took a couple of steps back and because of the walker she went a feet back. hahahaha Ms. Bang and foster mother just rolled her back closer. She was anxious, but not so much that she would burst into tears. Martin and I just gravitated towards her and everyone in the back just disappeared. There she was...just staring at us. She wasn’t as massive as we thought. Her hair was definitely longer and she still had that curious look. She was beautiful. Our beautiful baby girl. At that moment there was nobody there, it was just Olivia, Martin and I.
Although she seemed curious about Martin and I, she was constantly looking back to see where foster mother was. Respectfully, she was in the kitchen with the rest of the family to give us our moment. We can’t thank her enough for giving us that space. martin reached for her hand and then she flung it out of his reach. Didn’t want to be touched just yet. I took out a stuff animal to give to her and she wasn’t ready for that. Tossed that on the couch. ahhahah We continued to be in her space, talking to her and playing. She was definitely interested and I think she was thinking there was something familiar about our faces and voices. At least that’s what I had hoped. She would move back a step and then foster mother (FM) would push her back. Every time she would get a little closer.
FM(foster mother) got up and went to get some snacks for Olivia so we could feed her. Yup...those melt-in-your-mouth balls again. The ones that I had seen in the video and thought were a choking hazard were in my hands and I was offering it to her. hahahah Would she trust me to feed her? Would she let me close enough to put it in her mouth? And she then took them. YAY! First step of trust. Feeding.
She was starting to get a bit fussy and the FM gave her a plastic bag to play with. I thought..hmmmm...that’s all she needs. A plastic bag to play with and she was happy. She was strong. I was yanking on the bag and pulling it and she was pulling it back. hahahha All this time while we were playing with her, Ms. Bang and FM were talking. I could see that Ms. Bang was asking her questions and she was writing them down. Thank goodness because I had brought my book of questions to ask but my main focus was Olivia. I didn’t want to waste time talking about routines. I want to play. ;0) But Ms. Bang was so wonderful and she took the initiative.
Then the moment. Martin came right up to her face and kissed her. She didn’t move back, she didn’t cry. She just stared into his eyes. (ugh..i’m teary eyed just thinking about it). Again and again Martin would come in close and kiss her or kiss her hand. At one point she had her whole fist in his mouth. HAHAHAH. I laughed and thought “Ugh...daddy’s little girl”. From then on there was no doubt in my mind that everything was going to be okay. We continued to play with her and when we tickled her she was laughing with glee. It was hilarious. In the back, FM and Ms. Bang kept looking back to see why she was laughing so hard, and I think for FM it was very reassuring for her to know that Olivia would be okay. I truly felt like a mom the moment she smiled at me, as if saying “Hi mommy! Finally you guys are here.”
The hour seemed to fly. We were so wrapped up in Olivia’s world. Thank goodness we had a camera person and video person to capture the moment so we can watch it over and over again. We said our heart-felt thank-you’s to the family. We gave FM a big hug. Foster dad was okay with a handshake. :0) I will be forever grateful that Olivia had these months with these wonderful people who took such good care of her. The foster family had said that they were going to give us a memory stick all the pictures they took of Olivia while she was with them. What gift! We took pictures all together with the family and foster family. What a moment. We hugged and kissed Olivia and promised to see her on Wednesday.
We walked out of the apartment and Martin and I hugged each other so hard. We looked at each other and laughed. It was if we didn’t breathe the whole time we were inside. This time I couldn’t breathe because I was so happy. We went outside took a picture of the foster family home so she could remember this was her home too while she was in their care.
The ride home was so surreal. We were so full of excitement and anticipation. I was exhausted. hahahah It hit me all at once. We played with her, we talked to her, we kissed her. We were finally taking our daughter home. We had millions of questions for Ms. Bang in the car ( well I did ) because I didn’t remember a thing she told me during the visit. ;0p We got back to SWS and we set a time to pick her up. Wednesday, February 24 at 11:00. This is when she would be finally in our care and we can start our lives.
We got to the apartment and Martin burst into tears. I fell to the couch. It’s time.