We are home . . . back to work, back to life, and we left a big piece of our hearts in Poland. Oh how painful it was to leave without her!
We had a fantastic trip and time with her though. I figure I should at least memorialize a brief summary of the whole event:
Saturday: Left Omaha - through Chicago - knew our bags wouldn't make the connection because we were 2 hours late.
Sunday: Arrived in Warsaw - sure enough, the bags didn't arrive. We were met at the airport by our facilitator in Poland and a driver (yes, it was Tom :-)) and we drove south for 3-4 hours to a town near Katowice. Our facilitator completely impressed us with the airline and baggage and our suitcases arrived at our hotel an hour after we did (after they connected through Krakow). We stayed near Katowice for one night. I had a cold, we were jet lagged, and we were thrilled, excited, curious, anxious, scared, eager, happy, relieved, etc. Needless to say it was a long night before meeting our little girl!
Monday: Monday, April 20, 2009 was the day we met Klaudia. Before we met her, we had a meeting with Central Adoption Authority officials. That seemed to go fine and be pretty routine. Well, it wasn't routine for us, but it seemed to be pretty standard for them. One of the employees/officials then came with us in the car, and we were off to meet Klaudia.
We traveled for 45 minutes or so to Gliwice to the orphanage. It is run by sisters and is a pretty nice, cared for and clean environment. We first met with the orphanage director along with our lawyer and interpreter. The director told us mostly information that we had already learned about her history, but it was good to hear again and as read straight from her file there.
Then...they brought her in to us. Oh my! What a moment. This beautiful little girl came in the door held by one of the sisters. She had a little bonnet hat covering her head, and was dressed all in pink. Everyone in the room was commenting (in Polish) as to how adorable she is and then they handed her to me. She looked a little confused and had a slight timid expression on her face, but she didn't cry. She did very well and let me hold her for quite some time. Then Ryan held her, and despite probably never being held by a grown man, she did great with him.
Our first meeting was such a success. We played with her a bit, we talked to her, she muttered a little bit now and then, and we got to know just a very little bit about her. We then met with a pshychologist and doctor and learned a bit more about her and areas of improvement and development over the previous months. We also discussed areas to work on over the coming months.
We then left and let her have a nap, and returned a couple of hours later. We had an afternoon visit of 2 hours or so, and it wasn't quite as picture perfect as the first meeting. She got a little fussy and cried a bit, probably due to teething, being hungry and because we were in her face engaging her attention for such a long period of time. We also threw so many toys at her, I have no doubt we were over stimulating her. We had some great moments in the afternoon though and I also got to feed her a bottle. So sweet!
Tuesday-Wednesday: We had two meetings each day. One was in the morning for 2-3 hours and one in the afternoon for 2-3 hours. She seemed to respond the most to blocks and toys with music. Once she heard children singing a song or chant outside and she started trying to sing along. Another neat moment we had was when she took a nap in my lap. I was so glad she felt comfortable enough to do that. She slept for an hour and looked sweet.
We said goodbye to her on Wednesday evening. It was sad, but we know we will be back soon.
We had a nice moment with the sisters after we said goodby to Klaudia. They were happy that we love her and are giving her a home. We thanked them for the great care they give Klaudia and for their warm reception of us.
Thursday: We left to come home, and 24 hours later we were in our own bed.
So, it was an amazing trip. We hope to be back to get her really soon. We are waiting on the lawyer to file our petition and the court to schedule a hearing. Hopefully we will have a date within the next couple of weeks! Supposedly we have the benefit of being under the "old" regulations (pre-Hague), and that involves a little less paperwork. I like to hear that!