Thursday, December 13, 2012

In Which I Meet Ellen

Hi all,

Well it's been a whirlwind couple of days!  Yesterday I got the chance to meet Ellen for the first time and spend the day with her at her orphanage.  She's a lovely girl, and she's definitely a teenager!  I think she's very excited about moving to America, but realizes that she'll miss her friends.  I'm not sure she thought much of me, though.  I probably didn't make a good impression because I was smiling and laughing so much.

In America, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, and so we tend to be loud, use large gestures and show our emotions on our faces.  In Thailand this is not considered polite.  However, I'm a nervous laugher, and of course I was shaking in my boots.  So even though I knew I shouldn't, I was laughing a lot.  I don't like being the center of attention at all, and so not only was I nervous about meeting my daughter, but I had to give an interview in front of many of the orphanage staff and I was much the center of attention.  So I think I gave the impression that I was not a very polite person.  Oh well. 

I was really wishing Jeremy was there for support, and to see the orphanage.  I probably would have been able to tone it down a lot better with him there.  But what's done is done.  Hopefully I can correct that impression later on. 

And Jer will get here on Sunday, so that's okay.  It will be much easier with him here.  I also suspect that Ellen will bond much more quickly with him than with me.  Ellen has a lot of female role models that she's very close with, which is a great thing because it's obvious she is very loved and has good relationships with a lot of people.  But it also means I've probably got a bit of competition in her heart.

So more about Ellen: she's even prettier in person than she is in her photos.  She's self assured and isn't afraid to express her opinion.  She's obviously popular at the orphanage and has a lot of friends there.  Her hands and my hands are almost exactly the same size, and they fit well together.  She was nervous with me, which was understandable, but watching her interact with the people she knows well and loves makes me see all over again what a wonderful girl she is.  I can't wait to get to know her better.

The orphanage was run extremely well and the people there were very, very nice.  It's obvious that they love the children very much and that they do their very best for them.  I'm so glad that Ellen has had so many people in her life that care for her so much.

I brought the iPad to the orphanage for Ellen to see photos of our house and our family, and that proved to be a huge hit.  She figured it out in about five minutes and was using it to talk to me shortly thereafter.  I let her keep it overnight so that she could show her friends her photos. 

Ellen may be released to me today, though I'm not entirely sure.  We'll just have to see; hopefully she'll be ready to come with me.  If not we might do one more visit.

We've run into a bit of a snag with Ellen's passport, which we're trying to work around.  It's not ready yet, and we have to have it before we can go to get Ellen's medical paperwork filled and her visa.  Miss Oh, our adoption facilitator here, has been wonderful about helping us fix things.  It means our timeline has been pushed back quite a bit, but hopefully we'll get things figured out. 

Wish us luck!



Rkeezy said...

Good luck Jess. If anyone is cut out for this difficult job, it's you. I'm sure given time and patience all will feel harmonious and you will have a brand new beautiful daughter. Best of luck. - Ryan K.

Marc said...

Hopefully it all works out for you, and take heart I've seen our guys get passports in 8 hours or less.

Jennifer said...


I keep repeating myself, but I am SOOOO excited for you guys!! I thought of you SO many times today, and am so glad to read your update and that things went well.

Also, I'm sure that you made a good impression. I'm sure they are also aware of the cultural differences.

krlr said...


Mary said...

I'm sure you made a better impression than you fear! I hope the passport issue gets sorted out quickly. I guess pretty well everything is held up until it does? :/ Skype me sometime if you have time. I want to hear more about the visit!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jess. I spoke with the staff today and explained you were excited/ nervous/ overwhelmed at meeting your gorgeous daughter. They totally understood and said they thought you were lovely. They did say you were alittle hyper but that they had thought that was the excitment of meeting your girl. They were really pleased for Nong Da to go with you and could see how much you love her.
I was just wondering if Nong Da might find keeping a diary helpful so she can write down all her feelings. she could write it in Thai or english or mix and just to help her process how she feels and also to look back over and see how much more settled she is in the months forward. Just a thougth.

God bless.

Julia O'C said...

What's with all of the spam?

Your daughter is a smart girl. She'll figure out how wonderful you are. Miss you!!!

Sammie said...

Congratualtions on meeting your daughter, yup being nervous is so normal. Glad things are looking good so far. Sorry to hear about the passport delay, with Thai adoptions is seems there is always going to be one thing that gets held up. Hopefully they can speed it up and you can get her home soon. I'm sure having Jeremy there will help. Hang in there it all goes really fast. Who's watching Conner while your away?
Eat lots of great Thai street food for me, I also liked the food courts that are located i the malls, often on the top floor.

Jennifer Jayhawk said...

Congratulations to your family. It is a very exciting story!!! It's interesting about the difference in culture. I would have been acting the exact same way :)

I get spam all of the time on my blog and have to go through and delete it manually. I'm assuming Jess must be doing the same when she is home.

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