Today was wonderful. We had three wonderful precious hours with Grace at the orphanage today, and at the end, we agreed, we FELT like her parents.
She loved some of the new toys we brought. She spent lots of time banging her crayons (plastic toddler crayons) together to make noise. She also loved the little tupperware container that I filled with beads so she could shake it and make noise.
We heard her trying to vocalize a lot more (though, of course, not for the camera lol). She seems to love being read to, being sung to, and being held. The few times that she got a bit fussy, and she started to frown, we could see that tears were coming soon, we just needed to hold her, sing to her and rock her a little, and she was good again.
She is already quite the little daddy's girl. While she loved us both, she definitely showed a preference for him. This is the main reason that the shutterfly pictures feature her with him, because he held her most of the time (and I was more likely to take pictures too, and he had to be asked to take a picture or a video).
I think the big things that made us feel more like parents today were:
1- We were able to get a smile out of her a couple of times. Man, there is no feeling like having your child smile at you.
2- She reached for us, both of us on different occasions, wanting to be held.
3- We got to feed her. Not a real meal, but a lollypop, a cracker and some water. Even though it wasn't our food, we were the ones that helped her eat, helped her drink, and cleaned her up afterwards. Awesome!
4- We got to hear her verbalize, trying out little words. It isn't a huge thing, but just like seeing her look around shows us that she can see, her moving her arms and legs show that they are working fine, having her turn when she hears noises shows she can hear, having her try to talk shows that her voice is fine, all of which make us really happy.
5- She crawled for us! It was even more exciting than we thought when she first did it, because although we had been told she could crawl by our former coordinator, the orphanage worker we talked to yesterday said that she couldn't. Today though, she was totally crawling (to get a cracker that had fallen on the sidewalk... but who cares what her motivation was). We even got it on camera! It isn't on shutterfly yet because it was captured on our video camera, not our phone or little digital camera. Later, we found out that she crawls often, but it was still a first for US to see her crawl. Best feeling ever.
Yesterday it felt like someone else's child, but today, she felt like ours. It also helped to see our adoption decree today where it names us as her legal parents and guardians. It also says that her last name is officially Olsen.
This is a bittersweet thing though. I love that we are attaching more to her, and her to us... but it makes it that much harder to leave, and wait for her to be allowed to join our family in America. If we had gone home after yesterday, it would have been hard, but okay, like when I have to wait to see my friends again. But after today, we missed her within a few minutes of getting in the car to drive back to the hotel. Tomorrow we will get to see her, but just for a little bit. Then we can see her again on Thursday, but then we are flying back that night, and unless we end up having to do the pick up trip, not see her again until her visa is issued and she arrives at the airport near us. It makes me want to cry just thinking about those months until we get through that step.
Sigh. But for today, I will treasure my wealth of pictures and video and memories, and look forward to seeing her again tomorrow.
In other news, our hotel was crazy busy today because apparently the owner of our hotel is one of the main presidential candidates! So the parking lot was full, and there were reporters and cameras everywhere when we came back. We were thinking about eating here tonight, but instead we will probably head to the Italian place (I know, sad right? but comfort food is awesome) to get away from the crowds.