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!
4 days ago