Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meeting Noelle

On May 10, Justin and I got up after only a few hours of sleep so we could be at the airport at 6 a.m. We flew standby which allowed us to fly very inexpensively. Of course there is a little stress about whether or not we will get on flights. (We are able to do this thanks to flight benefits I get through my retired father.) My brother Brad was able to set up all our flights and monitor their progress through his job at SkyWest.

We flew to Salt Lake City without incident. We were unable to get on our flight from Salt Lake to Minneapolis. But got on the next one. That worked out better because then we had time to eat lunch with a longer layover in Salt Lake. Our flight out of Minneapolis was delayed. It was fun to have my brother at work behind the scenes knowing what was going on and when we would get an aircraft before the ticket agent did.

Minneapolis airport

Because of that delay, we got to Bentonville, Arkansas, a hour or two later than we were supposed to. We rented our car, got a GPS with it, and headed to the hospital. Arkansas was beautiful. I wasn't sure what to expect. Green. Almost everywhere is greener than Idaho. But it was so beautiful and peaceful driving through  forests and pastoral fields at twilight.

We finally arrived at the hospital. Justin and I looked into each other's eyes nervously and squeezed each other's hands. "Are we ready for this?" Whether or not we were ready, it was happening.

We went up to the third floor and signed the guest register. We took a deep breath and knocked on the door of the room. And we entered.

The mother was on the bed. The father was sitting on the couch watching television and the translator was sitting in the corner. One of my first thoughts was that the mother was quite pretty. Much prettier than the pictures we had seen of her let on. And she was without makeup in her bed. I noticed a pink bundle in a hospital bassinet by the bed. I tried not to fixate on it. I shrugged off my jacket and set it and my purse on the floor.

"Hi," I said tentatively. "I'm Lara. This is Justin."

We stood around awkwardly for a moment. Then the mother asked if I would like to hold the baby. I said yes. The father walked over, picked up the baby, and placed her in my arms. He gestured for us to sit on the couch. We cooed over the baby a bit and the translator said, "Look at those Japanese eyes."

I honestly look so terrible. The circles under my eyes...I was so exhausted. But we were happy to be there!

So many adoptive mothers talk about the intense emotion that overcomes them when first holding their baby. Tears and sobbing. Honestly...the overwhelming feeling I had was just pure awkwardness. We were happy, absolutely, but it was such an awkward situation. Maybe women who have that kind of reaction have more of a relationship with the birth family and feel much more secure in that moment. I wish my first moments holding my daughter were more like a Hallmark movie, but I honestly was just so concerned about how I was supposed to act. I was happy and excited to hold the baby, but I was afraid to look too excited. This baby was still theirs. I was afraid of offending them somehow if I acted too overjoyed. But then again, I needed to show my joy and affection enough to reassure them that I would love the baby. I am sure I over-thought the situation, which is standard for me. :)

We experienced similar awkwardness when we met Jocelyn's family at the hospital for the first time, but things progressed quickly. This was tricky because of the language barrier. We stayed for an hour or so, then  left to get settled in our hotel and find some dinner.

We promised to be back in the morning - with breakfast - for when mom and baby would be discharged.

 We got some food from Zaxby's and then checked into our hotel. It seemed so strange that we would have a baby in our possession less than 24 hours of arriving. But we would!'

Our hotel

1 comment:

Mom on the Go said...

I would feel the same awkwardness! I am loving this story of how Noelle came to be yours. It's like a love story!


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