That was my first thought upon having my first glimpse of this little two-year-old we had been waiting nearly a year to meet. We had been welcomed into the orphanage and were taking off our shoes when I peeked around a corner and saw her waiting for us. She was sitting on a play mat, and my view was partially obstructed by a stairway banister; but my heart still lept! She really exists!
I remember a similar feeling upon the birth of Poppy. Except with Poppy, I was struck by how I expected to know her and didn’t. Upon my first look at Ladybug, I was struck by all the familiarity about her, even though I truly didn’t know her.
We quickly moved in to the room where we would spend the next hour or so playing and feeling each other out a little bit. She is brilliant and big for her age (bigger than Poppy in many ways, and Poppy is 18 months older). She is curious, cautious yet confident. She was incredibly curious about us, and yet we were all feeling a little awkward and unsure of ourselves. We just kept enjoying her presence ever so gently, and she got small reprieves any time a caregiver passed by. Ladybug kept joyfully demanding kisses from those she loves. It was hilarious.
And even though she’s only two and still has to learn exactly what a mama and papa are, our hearts leaped when she exclaimed, “[Ladybug’s] mama and papa came! And my sisters!”
It really made the 30+ hours of travel, the year-long wait, and the knowledge of yet more waiting worth it. We had come for her, and we love her.
We left from Denver International Airport early on a Saturday morning and stopped over in Washington, D.C. for about 5 hours before leaving on our long flight. We enjoyed a yummy lunch while in D.C., and the hostess struck up a conversation with us. Why were we traveling? To be able to share little pieces of our story and God’s heart as we traveled along was really an unforeseen blessing.
The girls were doing great still when we loaded up for our long flight to Vienna. We even scored the perfect seats – bulkhead! Extra legroom was such a blessing. We didn’t sleep as much as we needed to, even though I’d say that Bumblebee really slept quite frequently in the airplanes. Poppy flew quite well, old enough to enjoy the in-flight movies and entertain herself pretty well. When we arrived in Vienna early local time, we were tired yet energized to see what our day would hold. We were at the front end of a 13 hour layover and really hoped to get to leave the airport to explore the city. It had been our plan the whole time, but when we checked our bags in Denver, we were told we would have to claim and recheck in Vienna. We assumed that would be a deal breaker, but were told the opposite in Dulles – “oh! They tell everyone that. Your bags will go clear through.”
So, we maneuvered our way through the “exit the airport” path and ended up just within the airport. Before leaving, we were pausing a moment to consider how much money to exchange for our day when out of the corner of my eye I saw three lonely bags moving along the baggage claim belt. My first response was, “Praise God we saw them!” Truly, already at this point in our trip, only halfway through our travel to Ladybug, God had shown that while the enemy hated what we were doing, God was smoothing every wrinkle, and usually before we really had a chance to understand a wrinkle existed. It had happened upon checking in initially in Denver, again in D.C., and now this huge moment with our bags.
We changed our plan for the moment, and worked on getting our bags to where they needed to be. Amazingly, we were able to check them 12+ hours before our flight would leave, but by then, the girls were showing that they were melting profusely, and we just lost our willpower to attempt a day on the town. After stepping outside to breath fresh Austrian air, we settled into our day at the airport well enough. Eating, sleeping, playing games, finding an indoor play place for the girls, etc… 13 hours just seemed to pass, and soon it was time to find our gate for our final destination.
Chris, Poppy, and Bumblebee eventually all slept, but I couldn’t really. I got caught up in talking to a drummer from LA who had been hired to work a music tour for a Persian pop star (the only time Chris and I were seated apart – though it was supposed to be the third time already), and my anticipation for finally arriving was through the roof.
Arrive we did, and while our day started off with an unexpected delay, we pressed on, knowing we were mere hours from meeting out little girl. We could hardly wait! We made it to our apartment, slept a few hours, and were picked up for our first official appointment. There, we picked up our primary approval document (yay!) and sought permission to meet Ladybug.
Granted. We were on our way.
To be continued…