Monday, September 26, 2011

In Which We Receive A Fantastic Surprise

We received a very welcome surprise today; new pictures of Ellen!

This kid has at least a million watt smile; I swear she could light an entire city with that grin.  It was head lice treatment day at the orphanage (probably a pretty frequent day, as there are a lot of kids and they all share clothes) so in the pictures she's wearing a shower cap.  She's holding some of the presents from the latest care package we sent her, and in one of the photos she's put on her new sunglasses and is striking a pose, shower cap and all.  She's definitely got a good sense of humor!

It's so great to get the chance to see little glimpses of her personality shining through in pictures, and I love knowing more about what's going on in her life.  We're so far away and the wait is so long that sometimes it's hard to feel connected; we know we'll bring her home someday, but we have no idea when that day will be. 

So I do my best to find little ways to make the wait not seem quite as long and to keep engaged with what she might be doing.  I keep track of Thai holidays (and Thailand has a lot of holidays), so I know what kind of celebrations or activities she might be participating in.  Her school posts up an online calendar, so I know when her school breaks start and what kind of classes she might be taking.  Her orphanage website puts up a daily menu of what the kids are eating for lunch and dinner, so once or twice a week I'll check in.  That way I have a general idea of what she's eating.  I'd say probably nine times out of ten it involves chicken-- I'm assuming probably because it's inexpensive, nutritious and easy to prepare. The kids look well fed and healthy, so I think it's probably working out for them.  I'd probably better bone up on my chicken recipes since that's what she'll be used to.

I may have to pull out some more exotic ingredients, though, because sometimes I have absolutely no idea what the heck she's eating.  Since the website is in Thai, I have to rely on Google Translate and it has a tendency to creatively interpret menu items.  Last week I checked in to discover she was apparently being served "Heavenly Boot Dumplings" with a side of "Creamed Destiny" for lunch. 

I have no idea what Creamed Destiny is, but it probably has chicken in it.

So I use my imagination a lot; I know the time difference between our cities and I can speculate about when she might be getting up, if she might be swimming right now, whether or not she might be enjoying her Creamed Destiny, etc.  But it's all pure speculation.  And that's one of the reasons why I love  pictures of her-- because for that one captured moment I know what it is that she was doing.  And in the pictures we received today, she was grinning that amazingly contagious smile, holding the presents we'd lovingly packaged for her, and thinking about us.  For that one moment, we're connected.  Until the day we finally meet, it's the closest I can come to reaching out my arms to my daughter. 

When she imagines us and breaks out in that beautiful smile, I hope she knows we're smiling back.



Julia O'C said...

My dear friend, I can't think of anyone who needed/deserved a fantastic surprise more than you. I'm very happy for you!!

krlr said...

That's fabulous news! And she sounds like a great kid - anyone who can ham it up while wearing a shower cap for head lice is clearly awesome.

Julia said...

Got the waterworks going, thanks a lot! I'm so happy that she seems to be bonding with you already, and that it's bringing her so much joy -- to say nothing of the joy it brings you!

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