After our first dinner with our eldest daughter, Joel and I went home with our hearts full! We were so excited to be able to spend all day Saturday with her, 11 hours in total! We got up early, no snoozing on my alarm for me, I practically jumped out of my bed with excitement.
We picked her up and she was all ready to go! First we went to Kohl’s to go shopping. The next time she will visit us is this upcoming weekend when we have a wedding that we are attending. Joel’s brother is getting married and Joel is in the wedding. While it may be intimidating to go to a family affair the first weekend that she is spending with us, we are hoping to make it as stress free as possible.
We needed to get her a dress, she has dresses but I figured that I would be nice to get her a new one. If you know me in person, you know that I am not a girly girl AT ALL! I recently went to a jewelry party and I wear necklaces so rarely that the weight of the necklace was annoying. I think my husband has seen me in two, maybe three dresses (including my wedding dress!) Well, our daughter is such as girly girl! She was in heaving trying on dresses and choosing which one she liked best. When it came time to pick the one she wanted. She asked me for my favorite. It was adorable, but I wanted to make sure she knew that her opinion matters. I told her that I picked my favorite for my dress and she gets to pick her favorite for her dress. I helped her vote and she ended up picking a gorgeous one (the one I secretly like best, maybe I wasn’t being so sneaky about it after all). She wanted to buy more than one but did very good at being reminded why we were shopping and she can only wear one dress to the wedding. We did have a clothing malfunction where she couldn’t get out of one outfit and I had to help her get out of it. It was so funny! During this, Joel found some clothes for him and sat in the shoe section until we were done.
We then drove to our home, which is about 30-45 minutes away. You could feel the anxiety level emanating from the backseat increase as the time continued. At one point she asked us if we were driving to California. I had to work really hard to stifle a laugh (my experience with Dawn in Group 1 and Jill at work helped with that) and explained that it would take a few days and nights to get to California and how many more minutes until we get to the house.
When we finally got to our house and we showed her around. We did the house tour, introduced her to Sammy (the dog), and played a bit. Then it was lunch time. While Joel cooked lunch, we all reviewed the rules of the house. We have 5.
Respect Joel and Katie
Respect your self
Respect your siblings
Respect the house and the dog
Ask for help when you need it
Our daughter had the marker and was the one writing the rules on the white board. We reviewed after each rule what “respect” would look like in that situation (as I am sure we will many more times). After we wrote and went through all the rules, she wanted to add one:
We thought that was a great rule and added it. The, marker in hand she asked “Can I call you whatever I want”. Being caught a little off guard I said. “Well, Not Sally Jo Bob, as that is not my name. What do you want to call me”. Our adorably shy, longing to fit into a family daughter averted her eyes and wrote the words “Mom and Dad” on the white board. I worked really hard on not bursting into tears and said, “Of course you can call us Mom and Dad”. She then erased “Katie and Joel” from the first rule and put “Mom and Dad” in it’s place. She also decided that if we want Joel and I can call each other King and Queen (and I embarrassingly mis-spelled Queen when asked, thanks Grandpa for the spelling genes!)
For the rest of the day, she tried out the new names, and we tried out responding to them. We picked out paint for her room, she loved choosing the colors (two colors of pink that I honestly can’t tell apart, but it’s her room!) and watching the hardware store get the paint ready. We toured the church so she new what it looked like as next time we are there it will be during sunday service. We went on a walk to see her school and play at the park, she loved holding the dog and running with him! It was awesome to see it. We played some games, and Joel showed her the different video gaming systems that we have.
Then it was time for dinner. We invited Joel’s parents over for dinner. They will also be at the wedding next weekend and we thought it would be good for our daughter to know a couple more people besides us there. Dinner was great, she was anxious and didn’t really know what to do with our divided attention but handled it really well! She ate much better for this dinner then the previous one. Probably because we made one of her favorites. She and I cleaned up (with some protest from her, but I let her know that since Joel worked so hard at cooking, we would do the cleaning). Then she wanted to show everyone her dress and decided that we would do a fashion show. I grabbed my dress and headed down stairs. I changed in the office while she changed in her room. I was changing when I heard a little girl yell “Dad….” My heart shattered, my daughter was calling for my husband. I could not be any happier. She needed him to cut the tag off her dress for the fashion show. Then her and I showed the dresses.
After the grandparents left , Joel and I played with our daughter. When it was time to leave, she was looking for every opportunity to do one more thing, put this away, do this. Then she wanted to review the transition plan and when she would move in and when we would see her next. We drove her back to her foster mom’s house and we discovered her taste in music, interesting to say the least.
It was awesome to hear her account of the day as she told her foster mom everything we did. I loved hearing from her point of view how things went. We reviewed when we would be back and got awesome hugs and told our daughter we loved her. During her hug to me, I heard a little “I love you” back.
Everything is moving so quickly. I love that little girl so much! Joel and I are just beaming and I am gushing about her and showing the pictures to everyone I know! There were definitely limit testing and boundary pushing going on, there was some fire in her eyes and I could tell that she could be a little spitfire (but heck, so can I!). I am so excited to continue to get to know her, and it was so hard to leave her at her foster mom’s house at the end of the night. Joel and I just want her to move in, and she was asking about it too. I know that the transition is the best course of action, but emotionally I just want my family to being to be whole.
On wednesday I meet my other two children. I commented to Joel that it feels right now like we only have 1 child as all of our emotional and physical energy has been devoted to her. I am beginning to start to get excited about meeting and discovering the personalities of our other two children as well!
That’s all I have for today! Our younger two find out about us on Monday and we meet them on Wednesday. More on our growing family soon!
To end: God is great! It feels like this is just so right. I could not have hand picked a better child. I am sure there will be days when I will have to re-read this sentence over and over because I don’t feel it, but so do biological parents. God knows what he is doing and all the glory of this adoption story goes to Him. There were so many times that I wanted to throw in the towel, that I had doubt, fear, and mountains that seemed too high. God had a plan that I am just beginning to realize. When we started to process our children were jest beginning their foster care time.