Tuesday, June 23, 2015

sweet & sassy

How do I even begin to describe a daughter I've never met but desperately love and want to hold?

I'm not sure, but I'll try.

Let's start with this: She will fit into our family well. Brad described her as a mix between Brody and Brecken in personality. She is sassy, but she will help another kid get up if he is knocked down. Furthermore, she is in a foster home with lots of older boys, so she will be very familiar with life as a little sister to boys. (She will also steal toys from boys and bop them on their heads with it!) She also LOVES red gatorade--a near-staple around here--and appear to be left-handed (just like me!).

When Brad met her for the first time, she was dressed in PJs we sent her a while back that say "I love to dream" with a fur neck-warmer wrapped around her. I think the nannies work very hard to dress the children well when their parents come visit, and it was an absolute thrill to see her in something I'd sent over for her (because you never know exactly what happens after you send them).


Their introduction happened quickly (so quickly that there's no video of it). Brad said she went right to him, despite the fact that--according to the nannies--she never went to men. I think the nannies did a great job of prepping her and making sure she knew Brad was her Papa and that he was there for her. I also think that all of our prayers about their time together helped make them bonding well.

That said, one of the hardest parts of his visit was seeing all the other kids who wanted to be held and get his attention, too. He said they seemed to know that Brad was there for Clementine, but he could tell they still wanted attention. He knew she needed him to be there for her only--so she knew she was special to him--but he also wanted so badly to give those other kids some love and attention.

After their initial greeting, she sat right on his lap and got used to him. He gave her the toy phone I sent her, and this is the first time she heard my voice (albeit on a toy phone from Target):



(See there? A little sass and a little sweet. I just adore her and her awesome little personality! This was my first time seeing it "live.")

Brad took some bubbles, chalk, and suckers for all of the kids at the foster home, and he said he opened the bubbles to share with all of the kids and gave her a bottle of her own. She held it and wouldn't let anyone else touch it.

She even fell asleep on Brad's lap that first day. (He is the Baby Whisperer, I tell you.) And when she woke up after a nap, she came right back out and found Brad again.

After a nice visit, Brad left the foster home and returned to his hotel. The nannies made sure Clementine knew he would be back the next day, but she already hated to see him go.

Brad's second visit took place right after the major stress of filing paperwork at the Embassy. The last text I received before trying to go back to sleep that morning at 4:51 (U.S. time) said, "I'm going to see C!" What a way to end that ordeal!!

She went right to him again and sat on his lap. She spent some time giggling as he tickled her, then played with some more bubbles. Brad said she is not necessarily affectionate and did things on her own terms, making sure the whole time that he knew she was in charge. However, she loved to sit on his lap, he treasured his gifts, and she fell asleep there again that second day.

I think it's pretty clear she loves him.



Brad's last day there had to be the hardest. He didn't get to stay there long, as he had to go pick up his airline tickets. Clementine also knew that he would not be back the next day (because the nannies weren't saying anything about his return "tomorrow"), and he could visibly tell that she was shutting down on him a bit emotionally. Her smiles for pictures weren't as bright and big either, and she had a tendency to look away.

Indeed, she was sad he was leaving, and when I think about her missing him the next day, it makes me incredibly said, too. I hope and believe that the nannies tell her he will be back for her "soon." He left pictures of family for her to look at, too, so hopefully that will help.

When we initially found out that I was pregnant and that Brad would probably make this trip, I was disappointed to be missing out on seeing her in person and getting to love on her. However, after seeing the videos and thinking about the goodbyes of that last day, I think it's probably best that it was Brad who got to visit and not me. He said he didn't cry when he left, but it was really tough. I have a feeling that my plane rides home with empty arms would have been full of sobs and sniffles, possibly even some true, full-effect uncontrollable ugly-cries.

She loved him--that was clear--and I'm so happy she got to feel special with her Papa there for her. Now we sit tight and wait for word that we can bring her home, where we can make her feel loved and special every day.