Today we met with Olivia's foster family. We started the day at 7am - Yay! We were able to somewhat sleep in. We went for breakfast with our new friends - Andy and Jeanne - who were also adopting their second. They are great people and we are so happy that we were able to meet. We ended up going to Paris Baguette again because of the nice space for Olivia. We got back to our room around 10:30 and relaxed for a bit before we set out to meet Olivia's foster family.
Our experience is with our visit with the foster family was beyond what we ever imagined. We never had any doubt but it's clear that they went over and above the call of duty in Olivia's case. They loved her/love her so much. The moment they saw Olivia it was totally emotional for all. FM (foster mom) and FD (foster dad) were both in tears and wanted to hold and touch her. We got to the lobby of the SWS and were waiting for Martin because he had forgotten something in the apartment. As we were waiting they had walked in. I was so excited. Olivia on the other hand had no idea what was going on. They couldn't believe their eyes. They were laughing and crying. Just an overflow of emotion. Martin arrived and foster mom gave Olivia a gift. It was the cutest pair of mittens.
We know that usually meetings with past foster families took place at the office of the SWS. But we really felt a connection with this family. We owed them a lot, and we wanted to spend more time with them, and for Olivia to spend more time with them. So we invited them for lunch, and they graciously agreed. We went down the street with Ms. Park to a great Korean restaurant. Throughout the whole lunch, FD kept filming Olivia - just eating, singing, doing her thing. It's like they wanted so much to capture this short time with her. Not to forget her face and her mannerisms. Olivia was great. She was slow to warm, but eventually became the star that she is (always making sure we were close by still). By the end of the lunch, she was high fiving and giving hugs and kisses to everyone. She also did a command performance of "ABCD, Twinkle Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider" and of course to set the festive spirit " Jingle Bells". They loved it.
Martin and I talked about the experience afterwards. Today the roles were reversed. Meaning, we were on the side of trying to get Olivia comfortable with the FM and FD. We got to see how it felt on the other side. You could see in their eyes that they wanted to hold her and pick her up, just like the first time we met Olivia at their house. We felt the same emotion. And just like how we were very hesitant not to overwhelm her in the beginning, they stood back and took her cues. We found a deeper respect for what foster families do, and how difficult it must be to say goodbye to a baby that you've become attached to. In William's case, he was with the FM for 9 months. What a bond they have created and we can just imagine how difficult Thursday will be for FM. We know deep down it's their job, It's what they sign up to do. But, saying good bye to a beloved child is always hard no matter what. All in all, it was such an amazing experience that we will cherish.