A white minivan pulls up in the loading/unloading zone 15 minutes later. A woman pulls out an infant car seat and walks towards the building. I tap-tap-tap my feet frantically, anticipating the next moment.
Theodora is an attractive woman with dark, creamy skin and matching eyes. She wears a Muslim headscarf, a basic shirt and jeans. Her smile consumes her face, and it gets bigger when she sees us.
“Lynn?” I nod. “I’m Theodora.” We shake hands, and then I introduce Eli and Andrew.
Despite my anticipation, I hang back shyly in disbelief. Am I really seeing Paige again?! Andrew, sensing my excited shock, takes the car seat from Theodora. Paige is awake but drowsy.
“She just woke up so she should be a in a good mood,” Theodora says, handing me the diaper bag. “She’ll probably be hungry so I mixed up a bottle. There are diapers and a change of clothes too in there, too. She has sensitive skin so be sure to put on diaper cream if you change her.”
After settling on a pickup time, Theodora leaves. Andrew sets the car seat down, unbuckles her, and pulls her out. “Do you want to hold her first?”
“No, you go ahead,” I say magnanimously. Andrew’s still not completely sold on adopting Paige. I want to give him plenty of time to hold her and get to know her.
“Hello,” Andrew says softly after sitting down. The baby talk flows naturally from my 200-pound, 6’5” husband, who also sports a shaved head. Paige glances at him and then turns to Eli, who is standing to the side clutching his Pooh Bear. As soon as Paige lays eyes on him, she smiles broadly and shows off dimples.
“Hi Paige,” Eli says softly, also using a baby voice. “This is for you.” He extends the Pooh Bear towards her and shakes the rattle inside. She ignores his offering and smiles even bigger.
I absorb the vision of Paige surrounded by the two most important people in my life. I record every facial detail, every expressive nuance during our visit. She wears a pink and white striped baby hat and is wrapped in a hand-knit, pink blanket. Wrapped so snugly, I can only see her impish smile and her large, bright brown eyes. She has a thin nose with a button tip. Her lips are heart-shaped and the right dimple is deeper than the left when they pull back into a smile. She is observant, her eyes a sponge absorbing the waterfall of life.