Two years ago, I first took my little Tadpole in my arms. She was three years old.
She screamed and wailed and threw herself backwards on the floor to get away from me. The Chinese authorities took us into another room so we wouldn’t scare the other children and their parents-to-be, and we sat down on chairs as Frog filled out the initial paperwork and Tadpole screamed and sobbed as I held her tightly on my lap so she wouldn’t run away. I rocked her, and sang softly to her, and cooed at her, but she wouldn’t stop wailing.
We were, of course, fully prepared for this- it was quite normal for a little girl taken from everything she had ever known, seeing a kind of people she had never seen before, who didn’t sound or smell like her, and didn’t even speak words she could understand.
I won her over in less than 48 hours, when she realized that I was going to give her as much food as she wanted, that I was giving her new clothing, (how her eyes would light up when she saw each piece of new clothing we had packed for her!), and that I would play with her a lot. It also helped a tremendous deal that she realized the older girl who did look like her was perfectly happy with us. Unfortunately, all that great stuff did not translate into her feeling comfortable with Frog. I suspect she had never spent time with a man before. She was absolutely terrified of Frog. It took 2 weeks (and cajoling with an ipod )for her to stay with Frog if I wasn’t around.
She was so wan and pale, with a buzz cut and a badly repaired cleft lip, but she was beautiful. She started smiling tiny, brief smiles by the end of our fourth day together, and by the time we brought her home two weeks after meeting her, we were getting wonderful, infectious laughs.
Today, as she played in the pool with her grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins, and other extended family members, she was having a great time, and I sat and gazed at her in ultimate gratitude as she charmed us all with that infectious laughter. She is a miracle, our family is a miracle, and I thank the universe, myself, and her for bringing us together. I love her with every morsel of my being.
Happy adoption day, Tadpole! 10 months ago