The memories I swore would stay so sharp forever have dulled in the past twelve months. Like a beloved painting hung too long on a sunny wall, the day we got Lovebug has faded some in my mind.
I remember floating to breakfast in the hotel. The ride squished into the too small car with two suitcases and a stroller. The cold. The blue sweater I was wearing. The smile on Hubby’s face.
We missed the turn.
We found the building.
We signed a paper. (I have no idea what it said.)
We chatted idly with the social workers through our translator.
It felt like we were moving in slow motion all morning until a car pulled up out front and the world kicked into high gear. I watched her walk up holding her foster mother’s hand. I stood absolutely still drinking the scene in, because after almost five years I could not believe this moment had actually arrived.
She was wearing big boots and she was bundled so tightly in all her layers. She ran around the office amusing all the social workers. We could tell they adored her. I couldn’t believe she was running– she hadn’t been walking when we met her five months previously.
I figured we would be there for a while saying goodbye, but the next part happened so fast. Lovebug was put in my arms by the foster mom and she patted me on the back. We didn’t share a language, but the look we exchanged spoke an entire conversation. I have no idea what I could have said to show the depth of my gratitude. She had held my baby when she was sick. She had faithfully taken my girl to every doctor’s appointment, every physical therapy session. She had taken her to the beach for the first time and dipped her tiny toes into the sea. She taught Love how to walk and run. She had fed Lovebug and fattened her up. She had read to her and played with her and fed her bottles with a loving touch that Lovebug didn’t know in the orphanage. Her face blurred through my tears and then she disappeared down a hallway. Instead of making a big deal of saying good-bye to the baby she had grown to love so deeply in thirteen months, she ducked out of the way and let me take over as mommy.
Lovebug was not interested in the car seat (read: screaming bloody murder), so we rode the four hours to the capital city holding her on our laps. She fell asleep on me for over an hour. She looked at the books we brought and ate her snack and was so content and happy for the whole ride.
We stopped for lunch and I ordered her some soup. I dropped bread into it like the foster mom had done with her soup that summer, but Lovebug was much more interested in running around the restaurant and charming all the other customers than eating!
The whole day felt like a fairy tale ending. I knew the journey was just beginning, but it felt amazing to be holding Lovebug and to know that we would never have to let go.