The First Trip
As I write this post, I am sitting in a hotel room in the same city as PK. That’s a sentence I couldn’t have imagined writing two weeks ago. Life has happened fast and, although there has been some panic and nerves through the last fourteen days, it has been wonderful. Exactly two weeks ago, we received a phone call and an email asking us to consider a little girl and today we met her. She’s real and I’ve fallen in love for the second time in my life.
Before I continue, let me say thank you for all the prayers and well wishes sent our way as we travelled to get here. We could definitely feel them and, surprisingly for an Arthur trip, the traveling was pretty smooth. It was also long. Very long. The flight across the Atlantic gave me a glimpse of my future. We sat behind a row with four children in it, ranging in ages from around a year to four and at some point during the seven-and-a-half hour flight they each took their turns having a melt down. It is nice to know, however, that Lufthansa has little kid cots that they can mount to the wall for a little one to stretch out in. When we got to Poland, we were met at the airport by a very nice driver who got us to Czestochowa. When we reached the hotel, we had been up for about 28 hours straight. Although I woke up for an hour during the night, I managed to get a much needed 11 hours of sleep.
This morning we met our facilitator/translator who is amazing. She’s fun, spunky and really loves her Irish Setter. Lesson 1 for in-country visits: We can bond with pretty much anyone through what seems to be a nationwide love for dogs. It is deep and it is real. She took us to the Adoption Center to meet the Commission. For all my nerves, it was two ladies who were very sweet, gave us more in-depth information on PK and her history, gave us some tips for how to speak to the judge on our second trip, and then asked us about Rex. A short time later, a group of us traveled to the orphanage. There we were taken to a small room, where we sat around a table and met one of the sisters who works there. This particular sister is fluent in English and worked in the UK and a few places in Africa during her life. She is PK’s primary caregiver and that makes PK a very lucky girl. After introducing ourselves and a little more chatting, the sister stepped out and a few minutes later came in carrying PK.
She’s small, like a doll and I just stood there like a fool, slack-jawed and staring for longer than I would like to admit. Not just because of her size but because she was there. This little girl who wasn’t even born when we started this whole adoption process. This little girl we had travelled so far to see wasn’t a dream after all. Many people imagine that first meeting and have images of the child running into her parents’ arms and there’s an instant connection. Music may even play in the background. Honestly, that’s not how it happened to us and it isn’t something you want to happen. A young child who just happily accepts strangers is the sign of a child who may have attachment and social issues. When they let us take her to a corner of the room with some toys, just across the room from Sister, PK started crying and it was a beautiful sound. That cry tells us that she has been loved on and cared for during her time there. She trusts them. That cry is a foundation that Becky and I can build our relationship with her out of.
That first trip lasted an hour and in that time we’ve learned that, while small, she may very well eat us out of house and home once she’s officially ours. She loves videos of Rex, which means that she’s just like any other kid in our family. She also let Becky hold her for a while and fell asleep in her arms. Sister let her sleep there for a while and then took her for her nap and lunch. We thought that we would leave and see her tomorrow but before she left Sister told us we could come back in the afternoon. We headed back to the hotel and Becky and I journeyed to a nearby mall to explore and have lunch.
We headed back to the orphanage and played some more with PK. She warmed up a lot faster and pretty soon, she was running to Becky to be held (or, quite often, to use Becky as a means to get closer to toys). It is amazing to watch the two of them together. Becky’s a natural and the two of them just go together. And PK and me? Dad-to-be is looked on with more confusion that anything. There’s not been a lot of men in her life and beards aren’t nearly as popular here in Poland as they are in the USA. I’m a bit of an oddity. She’s the most fond of me when I can be used as a means to get her hands on a phone – a dynamic that I’m sure will play out many times during our life together. She’ll warm up to me, I know, but I’ve been very amused by the look she gives me. It’s along the lines of, “What are you doing, man? Act like you have good sense.” Between that and the way she screamed when we all left her in her room at the end of that visit, we have seen the attitude and fight that has gotten her this far in life and I am sure will cary her far.
I have written a lot and am crashing (apologies for any bad grammar or typos), so I think I’ll end it here for now. We get to visit her a few times tomorrow and, I believe, once on Saturday before we head home. If there are more adventures, I’ll do my best to jot them down!