What a day!!!
First let me start by saying thank you for praying for my health. I felt very free and undistracted by my silly cold today. I'm thankful God answered all of our prayers!
We left the hotel around 10am today to head to the orphanage. There are no words to explain how I felt walking up the stairs into the lobby. My expectations for our first visit were set fairly low. I knew it was possible we might not connect right away. She might not be ready to make eye contact. She might not be very responsive.
We had a bit of a scare right before the start of our visit when an official came into our very small meeting room and said that we may not take any photos. It took me a moment to gather myself and decide not to let that news ruin our time together.
When Sam's baba carried her in, she looked so tiny. And from the way she was dressed, and her hair was done, I had to wonder whether they knew I was coming this morning. She was wearing some of the same worn, old clothes I've seen her wearing in photos and her hair didn't appear to be washed. But when I reached out for her she came right to me. She's easily excited and shook and danced back and forth on my hip. It took her no time to warm up and offer me silly, sweet grins. This little girl is FULL of LIFE!!! Sam immediately FAR exceeded my EVERY expecation. This girl is amazing! I could not possibly want or love another child more than I want and LOVE my Sam. OH. MY. GOODNESS!
After our morning visit I called my attorney, who was able to straighten out the photo situation. Apparently, with all of the bad press lately, the orphanage did not want to risk more photos leaking out. My attorney called the Ministry of Justice directly and came up with a form for me to sign stating my intent for the photos. Praise the Lord! He took care of that problem right away!
We traveled back to the orphanage again around 4:00. Our afternoon visit was just as fun as the first! Sam came into the room looking so pretty in her all pink outfit and fancy/crazy hair. We had a blast getting to know each other. She LOVES to clap, and better yet to clap with a partner. She'd clap one of my hands with hers (like a high five) or if I put out both of my hands out, she'd hit hers back and forth between them as fast as she could. And perhaps her favorite clapping technique was when I (or Anna) would clap our hands with one of her hands inbetween. I think she really likes the way it feels. She'd sit and enjoy it for a minute, then offer up her other hand.
Sam is great at standing up and kneeling, but doesn't have great balance or much interest in walking, even with help. She's a wiggly worm, nonetheless, and made her way all over the room. When she's excited she grinds her teeth, but she loves music, and when I would sing she would calm down and stop.
I just love her little hands. Sometimes she would put one hand in the air and invite me to match my hand with hers. And then she'd squeeze my fingers and wave my hand back and forth. And she LOVES to be dipped backwards. I started by tilting her back just a little ways to see what she would do, but soon she was pushing off of my chest with her hands and hanging all the way to the floor. She's also very ticklish right around her belly button. I can just gesture that I'm going to tickle her and she starts giggling. I love it!!
She does move quite abruptly, and has a lot of ticks and strange habits from lack of stimulation. But I know those things will begin to heal over time.
I tried to upload some videos to this post, but after a couple hours of loading they were still not ready! So I'll end my post today with some photos, and will hopefully have some videos for you by morning. She is a character, I can't wait for you to see her in action!!!
Lots more to come tomorrow! Thanks again for all of your love and prayers!!!