Tuesday, August 22, 2006


She came to us yesterday afternoon around 4:30pm. I was a nervous wreck! I paced through the lobby waiting for her to show up. Donny and I ended up waiting outside, thinking that Pedro would be arriving in the front...but when we came back in, there they were, waiting for us! I felt foolish.

I hugged Ismelda and gazed at my daughter. My, how she'd grown since April. I said a small prayer, hoping that she remembered my face, my eyes, my voice. She rubbed her head against mine but held on tight to Ismelda.

We made our way upstairs in the elevator. It's always so awkward not speaking the language. I talked to Elvia, feeling badly that she could not understand a word of what I was saying.

We reached our hotel room and Ismelda handed Elvia to me. She fussed a bit and wanted Ismelda again. My heart broke for both of them.

I had written a note to Ismelda expressing my feelings toward her and asked Pedro to read it to her in Spanish. I expressed that I understood how broken her heart must feel. I told her that words could not express our gratitude for what she has given our daughter in this first year of her life. I told her that I would continue to show Elvia pictures of Ismelda and her family and tell her stories about the family that raised her while we were waiting for her to join us. I explained that we brought gifts for them, that they were the only way to express a small piece of our thanks and that we hoped they would enjoy them. It felt so trite, giving towels, clothing, school supplies, markers, crayons and toothbrushes as a "thank you" for loving, nurturing and caring for our daughter.

Donny helped Ismelda downstairs while I stayed in the room with Elvia. She was quiet at first and then seemed to warm up to me. I held her, sang to her, cried while I remembered the pain when Jolee left, thinking that Ismelda must be feeling a little bit of that same pain.

Donny came back up and we both sighed...this was it, she is ours! Pedro had given us her passport with her name...Elvia Beattie on it. Wow. After all of this waiting, it felt surreal to think of her as our daughter! We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and just "being" with her. Gazing into her eyes, playing with her, helping her to know that we were here entirely for her...that we were going to give her whatever she needed.

She began laughing and playing after about 1/2 hour. We were amazed! I truly believe that the connection she and I had made in April had made an impression on her and that she remembered me in some way. We were going to stay in the room and order room service, but decided to go to a restaurant in the hotel instead. She did wonderful at the restaurant, ate some bread and laughed and played for the entire time.

Sleeping was a bit tricky...I'm not sure any of us got more than an hour at one stretch...but Donny and I were, again, there for her and would comfort her and talk to her when she needed us.

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