Seeing our daughter again after five long months

by Beth Shepherd
( March 17th, 2015 )

I’ve never given birth, but I can imagine how desperately you long to meet your child after nine long months of pregnancy. However, while a pregnant mother-to-be has been with her child from the moment she was created, adoptive parents begin their relationship with their child many months later, even if they have the good fortune to be present at the birth. Adopt internationally and you will almost certainly miss out on many months—or years—of your child’s life. This is how it was with our daughter.

Nane Hotel statues

She was six-months-old when we met her, and the time that elapsed between our first, registration, trip to our second court trip was five months. Five long months.

I remember a number of  people telling us a year is “nothing” in a baby’s life, meaning she wouldn’t remember the orphanage and the transition to her adoptive family would be easy. Three years down the road as a family, I will say I disagree. A year is a lot of time in a baby’s life, especially the first year.

Our daugher at six monthsSaying goodbye at the end of our registration trip. Baby Bird was six-months-old.

On March 17th, we went back to the orphanage where we’d first met our little one when she was six-months-old. In the five months that transpired between our registration trip and our court trip we hadn’t received any information or photographs. We had no idea what she would look like—what she would be like. For those of you reading this post, who have given birth, try to imagine what it might be like to take a five-month hiatus from your child during the first year of her life.

When they brought her out, it took me a minute to recognize her. She had hair! Lots of hair. Her once green eyes were now decidedly brown. She was much bigger. There was less “baby” in her face and more toddler. And the blue dots? Well, she was recovering from chicken pox and the nurses put a tincture on to help her sores heal.

Me and baby bird at 11 monthsSaying hello again, five months later. Baby Bird is 11 months old.

 Big Papa and I passed her between us, wondering if there was any recollection of who we were lodged somewhere in the far reaches of her memory. When we first met her on our registration trip, I’m sure she thought she’d hit the jackpot with two new nannies who were spending a lot of one-on-one time with her. How nice! And I imagine, after the week passed and we left, she might have felt puzzled, “Where did they go?”

At 11 months with DadaDada and daughter. She might have been thinking, “Who are these people?”

For us, seeing her again was surreal. In a matter of days, this little girl would become our daughter. Forever.

Take the road less traveled, Beth

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Three years ago: Gyumri, Armenia

by Beth Shepherd
( March 16th, 2015 )

Three years ago on March 16, we flew from London to Yerevan, Armenia. We arrived at midnight. Snow was falling. The roads were icy and hazardous.

I should also mention our driver, who did not speak any English, was a former professional wrestler. One glance at him told us all we needed to know. He was a very large, exceptionally muscular man. This was supposed to be a comfort to us—should we encounter any “trouble.”

However, as we wound our way up and down hills, through tiny villages, traversing small side roads unfamiliar to us, I began to worry. We’d driven from Yerevan to Gyumri and back, five times on our registration trip six months…but we’d never taken this route. My mind played terrible tricks as I imagined our fate.

But arrive at our destination we did. And safely. At 3:00 a.m. in the morning.

We checked into the Nane Hotel. I still feel badly for the poor guy at the front desk who was forced to wait up for us. He gave us the key to our room, a number I will never forget—the area code for our home city. On the table in our room, was this statuette, an apropos reminder of why we’d traveled half way around the world.

Gyumri mother and child statuette

In the morning, a snow-covered Gyumri greeted us. Along with a temperature of 5-below-zero Fahrenheit.

Gyumri Armenia in winter

Take the road less traveled, Beth

Want to be in-the-know on all things Pampers? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

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Three years ago: London, England

by Beth Shepherd
( March 12th, 2015 )

Three years ago, on March 13, Big Papa and I boarded a British Air flight and headed to London.

London taxi

London phone booths

This was the first leg of a journey which would ultimately culminate in an Armenian court, in front of a judge, who would determine if she would allow us to adopt one special baby girl. And, this was also the last leg of a journey that had taken us three years, four trips to Armenia (five for me), and one failed adoption, before we were able to reach this milestone: Parenthood!

We were very excited.Happy on plane

And extremely terrified.Scared on plane

We arrived in England the next day, March 13, after10 hours of flight time and with a nine hour time difference.

Hello London! Hello jet lag!British flag

British teacups

The last time I was in London was 1980, at the end of my semester abroad in Amsterdam. I was excited to spend a few days—our last hurrah—before two became three. We had a grand time:

Exploring Kensington Garden and Hyde ParkKensington Garden at night

Hyde Park trees

Visiting Big Ben and Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace bobbies

Walking over bridges—old and new London bridges

Millenium bridge

Enjoying a few meals out—bangers and mash…and beer, of course! Bangers and mash

Fullers Bengal beer

Three days later, it was time to say farewell. See you on the flip-side Heathrow. All aboard to Armenia!

Take the road less traveled, Beth

Want to be in-the-know on all things Pampers? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

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