love at first sight {sweet zara girl, day 1}

Exactly 2 years ago today, Lance and I pulled up a gravel drive to a small Ugandan orphanage.  A day that changed our lives forever.  This is a repeat post I wrote several months ago attempting to capture the emotion of that day.

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 Wednesday October 30, 2013

I will never forget my first car ride to Aggies Baby Home.  I could hear my heart pounding.  I nervously tapped my foot in the backseat of the van.  Lance and our driver, Patrick, were talking about something in the front seat, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell you about what.  We were going to meet our daughter today.  

Our sweet baby girl.

It was really happening.

 Finally.

The car ride took about 45 minutes, but felt more like hours.  I remember pulling into the orphanage... Lance reached back to squeeze my ankle in the backseat.  We were immediately greeted by one of the orphanage caregivers and 2 children.  Lance was showing Patrick how to work the video on his phone, when all of a sudden, there she was.

I immediately forgot about the video instructions and reached for Lance's hand as I took her in.  There was our sweet baby girl.  She hugged the wall as she wobbled down the hallway.  She had that same serious, wise expression in her eyes that was so familiar from all of her photos.  She was dressed in a little black, white, and orange jumper that was faded and too big for her tiny frame.  She was so much smaller than I expected her to be... a baby... my baby.

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The caregiver scooped her up and handed her to me... she didn't flinch.  As my eyes welled up with tears, she simply studied me... she kept that serious expression and just took me in.  One of the caregivers wanted to give us a tour of the house, but I couldn't move.  I wanted to freeze time.  I wanted to memorize everything about this moment.

We had brought a little binkie stuffed animal to give her... we actually brought two.  We were told to have something we could give her in those first moments that we met her... but we were also told to have something we could leave with her when we left... something she could cling to when we would go back to the states before bringing her home.  

That was no longer an option.

The moment we laid eyes on her, we knew that we could not leave Uganda without her.

We eventually took our tour of the orphanage... but I was in my own world... memorizing every feature of my daughter's face, taking in her smell, feeling her soft tiny curls on my cheek, holding her small hands in mine.  Lance took her hand and gently placed it on his beard... she didn't pull away... she studied it... studied him with her little fingers.  I held her practically the entire time we were there.  I couldn't bear to put her down.

I remember watching her in awe as she sat on the floor and drank an entire cup of milk in one sitting, never once letting the cup leave her lips.  She cried when it was gone... then stopped when I picked her up.

 It was as if she knew already.

 As if she knew how much I loved her... how much my heart ached for her... how much my arms longed to hold her.

That car ride back to the hotel was so different than the car ride there... instead of tapping my foot, I was rubbing her back... instead of hearing my own heart pounding, I only heard the soft, steady breathing of my baby girl... instead of anxiousness, I felt peace.  True peace.  The kind of peace that comes from that beautiful moment when you get a glimpse into His plan...

...and you finally see that it was absolutely perfect all along.

how i lost my identity in the bottom of my diaper bag... (and my favorite chapstick)

Just a week after we brought our adopted daughter home from Uganda, some very dear friends hosted a beautiful baby shower to welcome us back. There were piles and piles of gorgeously wrapped gifts. Diapers, wipes, baby lotion, hair products, ridiculously cute pajamas, frilly dresses, adorable shoes, monogrammed bibs, a high chair, and even the stroller and bedroom set we registered for. You name it we got it. And do you know what I was most excited about? The diaper bag.

My diaper bag. (Ahem . . . I mean, my daughter's diaper bag.) It was a beautiful black monogrammed canvas tote from the Pottery Barn. It had about 800 pockets inside . . .  then another 400 pockets on the outside. I was more excited than any normal human should ever be about filling up that diaper bag. I took special care deciding how many diapers to keep in the bag. Which pocket should I use for baby lotion? And which pocket should I use for baby powder? Should I keep snacks and juice in separate compartments? Do I still carry a purse? Should I use the inside pockets or outside pockets for my cell phone? And where do I keep my chap stick so I don't lose it?  You know, all the logical questions for a new mom.

It was as if all of a sudden, I could now identify with this mommy-world of diapers and sippy cups. I was one of them....

Writing for my friends over at Gospel Taboo today... to read the full post head over here.

book review...

So, really this post should be titled, "What?? She's reading more than magazines?!?"  Because yes, I consider it a major accomplishment that I've actually read anything besides People Stylewatch and Country Living.  I honestly began to worry that the only "books" I may ever read again were "Goodnight Moon" or "Night, Night Elmo."  Seriously.

Some might think my recent reads are kind of lame... books about personal finance, efficient business improvement (a work requirement), more books about personal finance, with one super awesome fiction book sprinkled in for good measure.  But you've got to start somewhere, right?  Here's what I've been reading lately:

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Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn:  So, so good.  And hooray for me... I actually finished a book before they turned it into a movie.  This book had me freaking out at every major plot turn.  The twists and turns were perfectly drawn out and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  I can't wait to see the movie this fall.

Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey:  This book was given to me by a very dear friend that knows our desires to become more financially responsible and our intense longing to pay down our adoption loans before Zara is 32.  Both Lance and I are big fans of Dave Ramsey… we’ve dabbled in some of his books in the past, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually read one of his books cover to cover.  I love the practices he teaches and the real life stories that are sprinkled throughout the book.  It’s inspiring, and leaves me hopeful for our own financial future.

Complete Guide to Money, by Dave Ramsey:  After reading the Total Money Makeover, I was left itching for more.  I felt like Total Money Makeover was the motivation (and swift kick in the pants) that I needed, but was lacking in the“now, here’s how you do it” department.  After doing a bit of research, I picked up Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money with hopes that it will assist us in the practical side of things.  So far, so good.

Gung Ho!, by Ken Blanchard:  As if my reading list wasn’t nerdy enough already.  I was actually required by my office to read this book for some recent training… and I was shocked that it didn’t lull me to sleep every time I cracked it open.  Quite the opposite actually.  This book made my entrepreneurial heart flutter.  I found myself daydreaming about ways to not only improve my role at work, but my role at home as well.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green:  So in order to cease some of my dorkiness, I figured I’d better add a fiction book to the list.  And quick too…  I’m starting to dream about budgets and spreadsheets and flow charts.  I really don’t know a thing about this book, besides what I’ve seen on the movie previews.  Teenage girls across the nation swooned over this book (and movie)… which is typically a pretty good indicator that I’ll like it too.  (Because yes, I’m pretty much a 15 year old when it comes to my reading selections.  Don’t judge.)  Soooo… I’ll be starting this book soon.  Did you read it?  What did you think?

So there you have it.  Good news, I can still read.  What about you?  What are you reading these days?  Have you read any of the above?