It was one year ago this weekend that we met Olivia for the first time. Yesterday actually marked the day. As I was lying in bed last night I let my mind wander back to those days. The day we got the call. The day we met her. And later that night got the call that her blood work had come back with signs of HIV. I remember the tears and the emotional roller coaster and the people that God put in our path at just the right moments. I remember talking through all our feelings, crying more, and then making a decision. I remember our nervousness and excitement as we loaded up the truck for the second time to go get our girl. And coming home, putting our pj’s back on (it was a holiday) and just becoming a family for the first time. I think Chris and I both wondered if we would know what to do with a newborn. I remember later feeling so amazed at how naturally those things can come. We managed to keep her alive.
I remember how quickly Liv seemed to thrive. The pictures from day one home to day 10 showed such a difference. I remember sitting on the deck visiting with Chris’ parents when Chris got the call with the news that Liv was negative for the HIV virus. He came and whispered in my ear “it’s negative” and that was it. The combo of relief and joy washed over me, the tears fell and I hugged my baby close and thanked God for her.
I look at Olivia today, and I look at Chris and I today and I have no doubt that God knows what he’s doing. She’s such a joy and has been such a blessing. People often say, “She’s such a lucky little girl,” but, it’s us that are lucky. Our lives are richer because of her and who she is. Yes, there are trying days, like any parent experiences, but she’s really been so easy for the most part. So easy.
Last night we went out to Club Indigo with Jerry and Liz. The first time Liv was there was with Jerry and Sara. She was such a good baby and just snuggled down in her car seat while we ate. Last night our little wonder was kneeling in her chair, using a fork like the big people, and eating everything from bread to lemon tarts. Her favorite though was the fettucini.
Olivia has such a big personality. For those that have met her there is no need for explanation. For those that haven’t, she is by far the most social one year old I have ever met. People are drawn to her and she to them. She’s made friends from all over the globe because of some of the places we go. Last night while we were at Indigo she charmed the restaurant manager and ended up taking her for a walk, then showed off her dancing skills while clapping. :) She is busy. Yonese has nicknamed her “siclon” which means cyclone in Creole. It’s so very true. Right now she’s walking along the boxes behind our desks and moving things from one to the next. I love watching her thought process. I have no other babies to compare her to, so I have no idea what’s normal. What I do know is that I sit there amazed at what she connects and does, after she’s seen us do it once. Things like taking the cap of a bottle and grabbing the bottle and trying to screw that cap back on. Things like getting upset and not touching her dinner until I give her a fork because she wants to eat like us. Things like moving blocks from one container to the next, then back again. Or sharing whatever she has in her hands. I love watching her brain work, to see her connect things and try them. I think it’s one of the true joys of being a parent. I’m glad we don’t have a huge number of other babies around because I love and appreciate everything that Liv does, and totally get engrossed in it, and I probably wouldn’t be that way if there were more outside influence.
Liv is cheesy and funny. She loves to repeat sounds. She’s very chatty, to the point where whatever she’s saying is so important to her that she often yells it with conviction. She has all sorts of goofy smiles and faces she makes, just because she knows it makes us laugh. She also has an infectious belly laugh of her own, one that usually pours out of her with some good tickling. She is curious and interested in everything. She loves an audience. She understands all sorts of words and feels very proud of herself when she can show us she understands.
I’m not sharing this to brag about my kid, but rather to share the joy that adoption has brought to our family. There has never been a day where I regretted stepping into this, even though the process in Haiti can be daunting. In fact, I’m so very thankful that we get to be Olivia’s family. We’re trusting God’s timing on the paper work and that he’ll see us through with endurance and the energy that we need until we can all get on a plane together and take a good holiday.