One year ago today I walked into a large orphanage and was unceremoniously handed Jo. The worker carried her facing away from her body, like an object she was moving from one place to another. She was handed to me and i felt....numb truthfully. I dressed her and tried to snuggle her, she didn't smell all that nice but she seemed happy to be being held. We made the long drive back and i fell asleep after making sure that Aunt Lindee would keep an eye on her.
The time in country went both slowly and quickly, but that numb feeling didn't really wear off. I was sad to see her banging her head or rocking, but it was more a sadness for "any" kid that you would feel if you saw them having those behaviors. The flights home were much easier than i thought, and my heart started to thaw when we were on the long flight.
Jo had a bad reaction to us trying to lay her down for a nap and put a seat belt on her. She silent cried big fat tears and Lindee and i both cried along with her. What in the world had been done to her? What had she been through? In the customs line a very nice woman asked if the girls were twins and then told me how cute they were. Unfortunately for her, i then burst into tears and cried onto Deb's shoulder that i was SO glad to be HOME. Poor lady.
I don't remember exactly when i went from feeling like i was babysitting or still kinda numb to complete and utter adoration for Jo. She was so desperate for any attention and kind word. She would have gone home with the mailman if he offered. Anyone would have done. Anyone who would hold or seemed nice was fine. We cocooned and did lots of holding and playing as she would allow.
She is sneaky. She just climbs into your heart and one day you realize that your morning is complete until she is awake and gives you her "wookie" greeting and a big hard squeeze. When she is at school sometimes i am so busy that i don't think of her and then when she gets home my heart seems to sigh b/c all the sudden it is complete.
She is naughty. She delights in throwing things on the floor that you are trying to use and then grins or even laughs outloud when she does it. She knows her name and responds when you call for her. She knows i am mama and prefers me over all others. She no longer goes to any random person and begs for affection. She still likes to be affectionate with others but is very firm in her belief that i am mama and that is where she wants to end up.
I often say i have no idea how she survived in that place. How her sweetness was not just crushed out. She has so much love to give. So much joy. I know others look at her and see how delayed she is, and i guess she is. But i look at her and see a survivor. I see a child who never gave up on life. Who never gave up hope. Her middle name is hope b/c we knew she held onto hope waiting for a family for 7 long years before we found her.
Happy year anniversary sweet girl. We are blessed to have you in the family. Now until forever.
Oh yeah, that sad kid i brought home? No longer exists. Tonight she called for mama when I had been playing with her and then went to pick up Lanie. Take that every single person who didn't see her worth. Her left her alone and afraid for years. She is amazing.