As we walked into the McDonald's, I was scanning the place, looking for her or our agency rep. Whew. They aren't here yet. We got some goodies and settled in. If you have kids, you will understand that once the food is consumed, the kids are ready to go. So you can understand that after 45 minutes of waiting, my blood was starting to boil a bit. Just a bit. The kids were doing well, but their energy level was escalating. Suddenly, I realized as I was looking at Amanda, that she has this big SHINER. I forgot about that. OMG! Just great. She has no hair yet at 19 months, she is wearing hand-me down jeans from her brothers and she has a big black eye. I am exaggerating, but at that moment, it looked huge to me. Just lovely. Here she is meeting her birth mother and she looks like a little boy with a shiner. We ran out of the house so fast, that I never looked at them to see if they were "presentable". I know that this sounds paranoid, but not to another adoptive mom. You always feel like you are being evaluated as a mother. I don't know how to change that.
Anyways, they walked in. She looked beautiful. Her hair was pulled back and her make-up was pretty. I immediately saw Amanda resembled her quite a bit. WOW. I noticed that before in pics, but it is nothing compared to seeing it in person. I could see that she was nervous. We hugged. We sat down. She just started to chit chat with each of them. My kids absolutely love people, so they were telling her all of their stories. We laughed a lot. I could see her taking them in. She talked about her own children with them and commented on similarities that she saw between hers and mine. My nerves were gone. We had regained that comfort between us. I asked her if I could get a picture of her with each child, so that they would each have their own moment with her captured. Who knows if we will ever see her again. We took pictures and started our goodbyes.
When I pulled her aside to have a moment alone, I asked her if this was good for her, or painful. She paused, and swallowed really hard and then I saw a tear in her eyes. "It's bittersweet", she said. I told her that, I realized that she must think of them often and especially on their birthday. She said, "yes, those are the really hard days". I told her that we think of her too, on those days. Then, I decided to ask the question that I always want to know the answer to. "Can they come look for you when they feel like they need to?" She said, "I don't know how I feel about that yet." I said, "ok".
I have to respect that. It is not what I wanted to hear, but it is just another part of adoption, in which I as the parent cannot control. I hope that someday, she will be open to it, but for now, I will just continue to respect her and her decisions.