Day five was brutal.
We checked out of hotel Phenix and headed to the attorney’s office to sign all of the documents that allowed our agency to represent us in court. We had been prepared for this, as we also needed to officially name her. When it was time to hand me the pen, I was reminded to write her name in my best handwriting, capital letters, latin alphabet. I did so without hesitation and our translator said “You are ready! No pause!” and I said “buddy… I have been waiting for this for four years!” A bright spot in one of the hardest days I have ever experienced.
Rosie, however, didn’t know it was tough. She was elated to see mama and papa and while we entered with heavy hearts, it was impossible to not leave them at the door as we were met with a giggly, grinning, arm flapping baby who practically jumped into our arms.
For pockets of time, I was able to distract myself with our beauty and forget that I would soon have to hand her back to her caregivers. We went outside in the beautiful fresh air and we talked about America. I pulled out the book we had filled with pictures and reminded her of who everyone was. SO many brothers and sisters and she loved running her chubby fingers over their faces. I showed her her puppy and her house and showed her the window by her crib. I told her that we had gone just that morning and signed all of the important papers for court. I told her that I wished that she was less lovable, so that we didn’t fall so hard, so that leaving would not rip my heart in half. And then I thanked her for being so wonderful, because I could feel God’s grace every time I looked in her sweet face.
I was hyper aware of the passing of the time, and as we got closer to noon, my chest began to ache. I always knew this day was part of the sign up, but I never imagined it would be this hard. Baby was blissfully unaware of our deadline, and was so sleepy from so much playing and settled into Brian’s chest and fell asleep, in stark contrast to our first day when she couldn’t get comfortable with so much physical touch. At noon we smothered her in kisses and walked back inside. I pasted the phoniest smile on my face, handed my sleeping baby to her caregiver, watched the elevator close behind them and it took every ounce of self control to neither run up the stairs after them nor throw myself onto the floor and sob. If she had been awake, if I had to look into her perfect brown eyes and say goodbye, I think I would still be on the floor of the baby home. No matter how many times I had imagined it, no matter how much I understood that this was part of the deal, I was completely ill prepared for how brutal that moment was.
I sent my friend this picture and said “I just left my baby” … I guess because I needed affirmation from someone that this was the hardest thing and it sucked and it would be okay… even moms need moms sometimes. …and then I climbed into the backseat of our translator’s car and slid on my giant sunglasses and cried the entire way back to the capital. We were due at our NGO’s office to sign additional documents and discuss the order of events for the next months, which actually helped because it reminded me that there is work to do. I am good with a checklist. I am a do-er. When left with down time, I knew I would crumble.
Since we were back at the hotel that we had spent our first night in EE, we decided to head to the restaurant we had enjoyed our first meal at, and hoped that we’d be blessed with the same waitress. She is a GEM and we were thrilled to see her sweet face and chat with her about our trip to the mountains. We ATE like it was our last meal and walked around town to find some souvenirs for us (we had shopped for the kids in Rosie’s town). Baby’s country is orthodox Christian (we also visited a beautiful church in town, but I will have to try to post about that another day) and there was so much beautiful, Renaissance inspired imagery. Brian picked up two hand painted medals. I wanted something that I could wear during the wait, and I also wanted something Rosie could wear. Initially I had planned to try to find some article of traditional cultural clothing, but when we ended up at a small shop and I saw this necklace I thought it would be sweet to take pictures annually of Rosie wearing it, and when the owner told me that she wasn’t sure what the English name for the stone was, but in Bulgaria it was “rose” something, I knew it was meant to come home with me. I have loved having it and have worked it into almost every outfit, whether it matched or not. haha
The next morning we took a cab to the airport and I felt the ache in my chest grow the closer we got. Flying out of her country was agonizing. Watching the mountains where her little town lies getting smaller and smaller, and fewer and fewer, was harder than I can find words to explain.
As we landed in Germany, I forced myself to look forward instead of behind us. I knew there would be more tears, but I also knew that the best thing to focus on was what was to come, and what was within my control. I had seven kids at home who’s world had been rocked and needed their mommy. I had one baby in another country who’s world had been rocked, but now would return to her normal. Once we boarded the plan bound for America, I focused on the future.
See you soon, my baby.