So I've given a day for everyone to see my baby (Daddy's girl) before I posted some of the events on Thursday.
First, as mentioned before, we were both exhausted. I closed my eyes the night before, and though I don't remember dreaming or waking up at any point during the night, I awoke physically tired. I felt like I could close my eyes at any time and place and I would be out cold. The dream I mentioned in the previous post occurred after waking up, then laying back down to try to at least rest and pass the time until we could leave the house. I guess it was good practice for what is to come, sneaking sleep whenever possible, both while in China, and until Cady is sleeping through the nights.
The drive to the adoption agency can be very difficult during the morning and evening business rush, but we were fortunate in this instance to be doing our driving after that rush. All the same, it was a long 25 minutes to get there, naturally made to feel like hours due to the circumstances. We really were calm throughout the drive, and talked about nothing particular for the drive. Karen and I have pretty much said everything about our little girl every day since making the decision. In our hearts we have been raising her since she was 1 month old, but we didn't know who she was yet.
Well, we knew her spirit. She was with us the whole time. Cady was born 1 month and 1 day before Karen and I began discussing an adoption. We decided on the very same day that it was what we were going to do. Now, knowing that Cady was already present when we made this decision, I now sit and wonder just how much we decided, and how much Cady had already decided for us.
We took the video camera with us, so that we could have our agent record us when we finally saw her picture. There are two reasons that nobody may ever see the video that we filmed that day. The first is that we were leveled. This was the culmination of 14 months of pure focus. This was the epicenter of all of our work. We didn't shout, squeal, or cry. We just stared at this little girl, our little girl. Somehow I had the thought in my mind that these pictures would show a glowing, giggling little angel with all of her spirit and energy radiating on film. This is not what we saw. Our little angel looked healthy, well developed, and waiting for us. Our little girl is waiting for us in China, and it's still more than a month until we can save her. I (and I think Karen too) painted on our smiles for the agent, and we looked over the documents ever so carefully, as if the pages were made of rice paper, and would tear of we turned them too fast. We were thrilled to finally be able to put a face to all of the feelings we had, but this was very bittersweet.
Over the past few months, Karen had often asked me if I was feeling anxious, excited, or anything about it. I was content at that point in knowing that it would happen when it happened. There was nothing we could do to influence the amount of time we had yet to wait. On Thursday, this changed. We saw our daughter. We could now see this presence that we had felt for so long.
And she was still in China. It will still be 5 weeks until I get to see my daughter's smile. This child, who has been ours for 14 months, is still being kept from us.
So this video, intent on capturing our overbearing joy, was now capturing my realization that for 14 months, someone has been keeping our daughter from us. I was sad, and immensely angry that we did not have our child. I don't care about seeing China. I don't care about paperwork. I don't want to wait 5 weeks to go there, and 2 days to finally hold her, and 10 days until she can finally come to her home. I want them to give me my daughter now.
I maintained my composure throughout, but there was a lot of realizations happening to me now, triggered by a tiny pair of brown eyes, in a photograph that I have no idea how old it is. This is what was being captured on this video.
So today I went back to work. I paint on a smile, and try to keep my energy up. I try not to feel tired, angry, or sad. I give my customers the best service the industry has ever had. I have Cady's picture sitting on my desk, so that I can watch her all day long. Sometimes her picture even seems to have her smiling, just a little bit, perhaps proud that she is standing all by herself. Or maybe just to say "I'll be waiting."
I work with a great group of people, and I'll never grow tired of hearing how beautiful my daughter is, and how lucky I really am to have her. Each time someone asks about her, or every opportunity I have to wave her picture around allows me to beam with pride that my time is coming. I'm grateful for all of those chances to be a proud daddy even now.
I'm sorry to offer a post that may seem sad and down, but we try to show the real experience to those people waiting for their referral. I want you all to know that it can be hard, but I do know that our rewards are coming, and I am confident that our pain now will make our happiness later, all the more wonderful. Stick to it you guys, your angel is being as patient as a baby can be. Your reward is coming.
Incidentally, the second reason the video may never be shown to the public goes like this. I hate to mention the show, as I am not a real fan, but I do recall the episode of Friends in which Chandler and Monica have to get their engagement picture (Episode 151). I remember this because it describes me to a tee. I do not photograph well. I have a decent smile, but when I am trying to smile for a picture or video, I am quite the dopey looking guy.