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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Day We Met

Think about the day you saw your newborn for the first time. Nine-month pregnancy and a few black and white sonograms as some kind of preparation. Then add a three-year pregnancy and a few across-the-world photos to that anticipation. We had no idea really what to expect when we met our little guy.

They brought us into the toddler room -- 15 kids and 4 nannies. We were able to spend two hours there. (Imagine being a sub in two services of Sunday school with toddlers.)  Then imagine that room with no toys and no chairs. NO chairs. That means no rocking chairs. Turns out that's not an Ethiopian thing...rocking chairs. Huh. The drapes were closed, the lights weren't on, the floors were bare...only little toddler-like beds.

At first, the nannies brought our little guy to us, standing him before us like an offering. At the same time, another little boy ran up to us, we thought for a big hug, since his hands were outstretched. Turns out, he smacked our cheeks rather hard with both hands.  Huh. When the nannies scolded him, he sat down at the end of the bed frame and began to just bang his head over and over again. Disturbing enough as it was, the nannies didn't rush to stop that action. Huh. One little boy sat off in the corner and just watched everything. Not crying. Not laughing. Not playing. Not engaging. Still others reached up for us to hold them and play with them and make them laugh the entire time.

Little Man was somewhere in between. At first, he just stood there looking at us. Intensely. No tears, no frown, no smile. Just looking. The cartoon bubble over his head might have said, "Who are you? Why are you here? And, why do you keep looking at me with a hyena-like smile that looks like you're ready to eat me whole?"

It was at least 30 minutes before they brought us a ball -- the universal language of little boys. (Big boys too!)

Then the smile came. Tentatively and not often, but it was there. He never cried when we picked him up, but he never laughed either. I wish I'd gotten it on video, but Brian does this whispery-thing to babies and when he did it while holding our little guy, that sweet smile came again and again.

Here's a clip of his amazing left-foot kick. You'll see some other little ones that we would've walked out with if they'd let us. Fortunately, we were told, most of them have forever families waiting to take them home soon.

Day One: that's what Little Man thinks. For us, it was day 1,095 going on a lifetime.


1 comment:

  1. So cuuute! I can't wait to meet him!