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Year one with The Kid, the start of an amazing life as a family

One year ago, I was running to the Target in the Eastland Mall because we needed a camera fast.  I woke up that morning, realizing that we would always want to remember that day with better photos than we would get from our smartphones. I was on a conference call for work as I ran through the store, half paying attention because I needed to hurry back to pick up Gladys so we could get to Catholic Social Services of Wayne County in time for our meeting.

I didn't want to be late for our first chance to meet The Kid.

Gladys and I were both nervous. We had seen a few pictures during our last visit with our social worker, and we had the family history the agency was allowed to release to us, but we didn't know a thing about The Kid's personality. Was she shy or playful? Would she be scared or was she curious about her surroundings? Would she cry when she met us or would she warm up to us? Would she like us?

We agreed to try playing it cool when we met her. We wouldn't rush up to her, we would let her come to us when she was ready. Obviously we didn't want to scare her, and we felt this would be our best strategy. Sticking to that strategy was hard when we walked into the room where The Kid, her foster mom and her social worker were waiting.

My favorite picture in the whole world.
My girls on our first day together.
The Kid was adorable. She had the most expressive eyes, a cute head of hair and an adorable smile, complete with eight little teeth. Honestly, she reminded me of my sister right away with her demeanor because she was studying everything intently before she would make a move, just like my sister.

She stared at us as she sat in her foster mom's arms, while we were supposed to be asking questions about her. Thankfully our social worker was asking key questions, like what she enjoyed eating, because Gladys and I were dumbfounded by finally sitting a few feet away from the girl we hoped would be our daughter.

I honestly don't remember how long we had been in the room before The Kid's foster mom set her down on the floor. We sat down on the floor too, and waited. She was just learning to crawl, and when she was comfortable, she crawled over to us. The Kid let us pick her up, take a few pictures with her, hold her and talk with her.  

As our first hour together was coming to a close, she climbed onto Gladys' lap, Gladys picked her up, and The Kid put her head on Gladys' shoulder, then fell asleep.

I am not a crier, although it is a reaction I don't fight anymore. Normally, I only cry during life events that really hurt, like the day my grandfather died. But this day, I could barely hold back the tears of happiness. We made it to the parking lot, then sat in our car crying because we couldn't think of a better end to our first visit with The Kid. Our fears were for naught, and our visit exceeded our brightest hopes. She was full of personality at eight months old, and was immediately comfortable with Gladys.

I couldn't hold back the waterworks.

We ended up at Honest?John's for lunch because we wanted to upload the photos and share them. I cried through almost every bite of my Eastsider, mostly because we couldn't stop looking at the pictures and talking about every possible moment we could remember.

It was an emotional start of our relationship with our daughter. It marked the end of the paperwork part of our journey and the beginning of our family. I still tear up thinking about our fairytale beginning and how we've been able to grow together as a family.

My little family. I don't care how goofy I look. 

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