Throughout the adoption process I could only dream about this moment and what it would be like to finally hold Nic in my arms.
We didn’t know how he would respond and had emotionally prepared ourselves for “worst case scenarios”.
Then in one surreal moment, a woman entered the room carrying our baby boy and placed him in my arms. He felt like a soft ragdoll as he cuddled into me with the muscle tone of a newborn baby due to the first 11 months of his life being spent alone in the orphanage crib. His little hand wrapped around my shoulder.
This was probably the first time he had ever left his orphanage room since he had arrived, but he was calm and quiet as his eyes looked around the room at the new sights.
The team of facilitators and orphanage director left the room to give us time alone with Nic. Jim had sat back and given me my time to hug Nic, but now he had a chance to hold him for the first time and I just watched the love, taking in everything.
Nic didn’t know how to make eye contact. He had a funny way of shaking his head back and forth every couple minutes, a common habit formed by children in orphanages as a mechanism for soothing and stimulation in their cribs. He could only hold his head up for short periods of time.
He was expressionless and distant and my heart broke knowing that this was the first time he had ever felt love. There was no love or joy in his eyes, but I couldn’t have defined that emptiness then as much as I realize it now when looking back. I didn’t realize what was inside of him that just needed love to bring out.
We were allowed to visit him twice a day for the next week and before the week was up he was already showing us his beautiful, toothless smile. He jumped at the sound of his own giggle the first time we tickled him and he loved being held up in the air.
I was so worried that he would think he had been abandoned once again when we had to fly home to wait for our court date but I knew that it wouldn’t be much longer before he would know just how loved he was and never have to be alone again.