~January 25th, 2008
Two weeks later we boarded a plane that I swore would not be able to get off the ground due to it's enormous size. This would be my first time leaving our great country and needless to say I was extremely worried yet bursting with excitement at the same time.
We landed in Bishkek where we were taken to our hotel for the rest of the day and night, we would meet "Alina" tomorrow. Spending the day away was difficult, we were so close now.
I panicked. The room began to spin and I had to sit. Everything was a blur but what I do remember is that they gave her to me, had us sit down and we took our first family picture.I thought to myself: what do you mean "first family picture?" This is not the baby we were told about. That baby had a scar and nothing more, she was healthy, she was plump. What does this mean for her? Will she survive childhood? Will she live in a wheelchair? Is there any brain function? If we were to bring this child into our lives that needed such intense care, what would that mean for Jalyn? Can we walk away at this point? We've come so far, we've spent too much money, there would not be anymore options for us after this. We are here and I can not believe we are finding this out HERE and not THERE. I can't talk to my husband in this place, they will judge us and think we are horrible people. I must look happy and we will discuss this when we get to the hotel. I'm burning up, I can't smile, I have to leave.
The drive back to the hotel was a terrible one. We didn't speak in fear of being misunderstood by our driver, or rather, judged by our driver. I quietly wept as Tariq held my hand the entire way back.
We finally arrived and upon entering the door, my knees buckled beneath me and loudly I wailed. "What? Why? Now?" I cried. "Where do we go from here?" Calmly and in a take-charge manner Tariq said "we research, we become educated in her needs and what we can do here to help her, then we fight like hell to get her home." "So you still want to go through with this given the fact she may have serious needs?" "Yup" he says. "What will become of her if we were to walk away? Who would take her and give her the life she so deserves? God has brought us to her for a reason and we can't turn our backs on that". Instantly, the stars aligned, my heart began to slow and I was able to take it all in. I laid on the bed, wept some more and fell into the deepest sleep I've ever experienced and didn't wake until morning.
A new day. My daughter. I want nothing more than to go have the meeting we deserved to have the first time. She is mine and I am hers. Even when we as parents are blessed to have children naturally, we are not given the privilege of choosing their level of health. Whatever lies ahead for her future didn't really matter from this point on. She would have anything she needed medically speaking and I had a supportive husband and family back home. All was OK. Now all I want is to feed her, stare into those eyes and tell her I am mommy. But first, since we were Americans and in the medical field, a big day had been planned for us. We were taken to a neurological hospital where a team of doctors had breakfast waiting. We witnessed surgeries, met with patients and very quickly realized just how fortunate we are to live where we do. While I was grateful for the privilege of being given a private tour, I wanted nothing more than to be at that orphanage.
And this is where the story truly begins, the fight to bring you home.
To be continued......