01/20/2009: I remember during our foster-adopt journey wondering where we’d be in a year; who would be part of our family. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a baby!
In January 2009, we pick up Eli from preschool and drive to Theodora’s for the last time. I’m brimming with excitement. My stomach is full of milk bubbles blown by an enthusiastic child. My excitement balances precariously on the glass’s rim because I’m also nervous. How long will she experience withdrawal symptoms?
We pull up to the sidewalk at Theodora’s. She lives in a quiet neighborhood despite the school close-by. Taking Eli’s hand, we walk up to the door; we will never be a family of three again. Theodora opens the door with her trademark smile and welcomes us warmly.
Inside the foyer sit bags of Paige’s things. I peer inside one and see the pink and white bank from Ruth. Rummaging around, I also find the disturbing angel. It would’ve been fine with me if this thing got lost!
But then an image pops into my head of Ruth crying and asking if I thought it was okay that she signed the, Love, Mom and Dad. Fingering the tag, I smile sadly. Yes, Ruth, it’s definitely okay. I don’t mind a bit!
“Here’s a small photo album with Paige’s first pictures.” Theodora’s voice brings me back to the present. She hands me a small, light pink and green striped photo book. “Some of the pictures were taken in the hospital by the nurses and some after she came home with me.”
“Thank you,” I whisper, touched by her simple gesture. Now Paige’s first couple months won’t be a complete mystery.
“This is a gift for Paige from all of us.” Theodora gives hands me a brown teddy bear. “It’s something to remember us.”
“It’ll be the first thing I put in her room when we get home,” I promise.
Theodora’s eyes fill with tears when we hand her a gift and she reads the accompanying card. “I’ve never received a thank you card before,” she choked, hugging me.
“You deserve much more than this!” I’m shocked she’s never received so much as a card before.
“I have a wall in my bedroom with pictures of all the children I’ve fostered. I’m going to put the card up there,” she says after reading it a second time.