Two days ago, I met the sweetest little girl I think I have ever laid eyes on... Yes, Oksana, that is you. My heart has been so full in two days that it has been difficult to put it into words. I had a photograph or two of your sweet face, but there was little personality reflected therein. The photograph taken earlier captures your tiny, lost, abandoned state. Your face called out to me as if to plead with me- please hear me! I have something to say. In your second photograph, your hair is very short, your expression blank. Still, something beautiful was beneath all of that unknown. Two days ago I found it. Your heart, your hands, your hugs... Oh how you beam when you find delight in something. How you seem to delight in just being loved.
On the first day in your region, the adoption facilitator picked me up at 0855. We stopped to get a letter from the Adoption Center, then drove to your little town to meet the director of the Organ of Custody. She is in charge of placing orphans at the district level. I gave her a gift and then we took her with us to your home and met your director. First, I gave the director of your home a special gift from your friend Anastasia's mother with a letter and a school portrait of Anastasia. You see Anna was the first child ever to be adopted from your home. Your director cared very much for Anna and was sad to see her go to America. But Anna's mama promised to send photos and letters to show that you were well and happy. The director was so pleased to see how well and lovely Anna looked. I gave the director my gift and then she invited me to sit. I sat with the translator and the two directors and answered questions about why I wanted a child with Down Syndrome; why a child from your country. I answered their questions honestly and said that I enjoyed working in school with Down Syndrome students and hoped one day God would give one to me if there were a certain number of Down Syndrome children to be given. I explained that in our country all children are valued and given a chance to reach their greatest potential and to be loved the way that God loves us.
They asked a few more questions and them I heard a door open and some tiny footsteps passed through. Your footsteps. You approached the table where we were all sitting and whimpered a little. I took one of your tiny hands in mine and stroked it gently. My translator did the same and spoke some soothing words to you. Whatever it was, you were satisfied and your tears never came. We sat down on the floor to play and I gave you a doll. You rocked her, tapped her feet together, clapped her hands, smoothed her dress and then patted her back. You tucked her in your lap as I pulled a ball out of my bag. It was a sparkly ball that lit up when you bounced it or hit it against your hand. Boy, did you love that as you held it to your face to examine the lights. What a lovely smile that came after. We rolled the ball and tossed it a little and then I pulled out a board book about fruit that had words in both our languages. You came and sat in my lap while I read to you, checking my pronunciation with your caregiver. You patted the pictures and said "mm mmm mmmm" and the translator said you were recognizing those were good to eat. We played with the brim of your dolly's hat and played peek-a-boo when the brim covered her eyes. I learned that you can point to your eyes, nose and mouth, and xan feed and dress yourself. Right now you are six years old but your body and abilities are closer to two or three years old. After a very short twenty minutes they told me it was time for you to go back with your group. I asked to take a few photographs first and they positioned you in front of a flowering plant because that would look pretty. You let me take pictures but didn't really smile for them. In my favorite from that day you were leaning in to look in the camera lens. Your inquisitive nature is very evident in that one. I finished taking photos and let you go with your caregiver. As you left, I gave you your little doll but you didn't think you were supposed to take it. Your caregiver told you it was yours to keep, so you hugged her tightly and carried her out of the room. Then, I sat back at the table with the women again. They all seemed pleased. We talked about how you love pretty dresses, baby dolls and dancing. You have a friend in Montana waiting who loves dancing, as well. She can't wait for you to come home to dance with her. Grandma says you can have all the baby dolls you want.
We left your home that day knowing I would be back the next. I wondered what you were thinking and just kept looking at your sweet inquisitive face;
....so much sweeter than even I had imagined.