Monday, April 17, 2006

Love At First Sight

They can have this girl back when they pry her fingers from my cold dead ones. I opened the van door to get in when The Wife picked me up from work to go meet Mom and Dad for dinner...she took one look at me, a huge grin split her head in two, and she blurted out "Daddy!"

I felt like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes and bursts the tape-measure thingy.

"Angel" knows what side of things she should be on, too. "Josie", when she found out she was expected to go with us for dinner and shopping for clothes for "Angel", suddenly came down with a bad case of Malaria, or Polio, or something, which as we all know can only be fixed by staying home. After some discussion about it in front of "Angel", suddenly the 3-year-old girl steps up next to The Wife, looks "Josie" straight in the eye and says "go bye-bye NOW." I swear this kid is destined for great things when she can size things up that quickly, pick the exact right thing to say (even if her style is a bit childish) and then have the courage to say it. Meanwhile, "Josie" went to her Mom's, having worn the Wife down to the point where it seemed more attractive to just let her go. She promptly got over her malaria/polio and went fishing.

"Angel" is not anywhere near as obese as I had her pictured...in fact, she's just HUGE boned, with a little extra tummy that she's almost certain to grow out of. She is a package to carry any distance, but much in the same way as a normal 6-year-old kid, rather than a giant pumpkin or something. In fact, the only three things I can see in her so far that differ from any other kid her age are her size/muscle tone (which I believe will go away with proper nutrition and exercise), her delayed language skills (which we've been told have improved by leaps and bounds just over the last two months and really aren't that bad) and her right eye, which seems to have the pupil placed off-center in the iris and is lazy. That last is the one that concerns me the most, and I suspect someday she'll want corrective surgery on it...but it's something we can wait to see what the docs say.

All those things don't amount to a caterpillar's fart in Carlsbad Caverns, though. She's perfect.

We almost didn't get her...her old foster parents were torn, and almost called it off this weekend, but they already have six foster placements. Sheesh. If I had six others, I don't think it would be a difficult decision, but maybe that's just me.

Anyway, we went out to eat and celebrate, and then went home where I had to sit with her and look at the Animaniacs Find-It book she brought with her. This reminded me of nothing so much as a cross between Where's Waldo and Mad Magazine....but I guess that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that she cried when I told her it was time to sleep, but quieted right down when I laid next to her. She kissed my cheek, told me she loved me, and was asleep in approximately 120 seconds.

I may be jumping the gun, but I can tell you now that I already love this little girl, and I'm already hoping they terminate parental rights soon, and I'm hoping they'll give us first shot at adopting her. I want to be her forever-daddy...I want to be there to pick her up when she falls, and kiss it to make it better. I want to show her how men should treat women by showing her every day how I treat her mother, so she'll know how really high her standards in men should be. I want to help with her math homework, change the oil in her car for her, and walk her down the aisle, and listen as The Wife shares wisdom with her when she is frustrated with her children. I want to take pride in her for as long as she and I both are lucky enough to live.

THIS is why I wanted to do this. THIS is why I was so heartbroken when I found out I couldn't have biological children. THIS is what one of my major purposes in life is. THIS is the kind of thing that will give me the greatest joy for the remainder of my life. There is nothing in the world like this feeling that I'm having right now, right here, as I type this and a tear runs down my cheek.

I used to wonder why people would want to put up with all that parenting entails. Now I know.

6 Comments:

At 6:25 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Dan,

I have tummy cramps as I write this...she called you "Daddy" at first sight, was a delightful angel, sat on your lap and gave you a kiss?

Umm...$h!t...I hate telling you this.

Please start reading up on Reactive Attachment Disorder ASAP.

Maybe her angelic, loving nature is the result of her developmental delays. Some cognitively impaired people have that way of being affectionate with strangers.

I hope I am wrong...

Either way, I hope that you will forgive me for raining your parade.

 
At 8:43 AM , Blogger Dan said...

You could be right, and I know that's not quite a "normal" way to react...doesn't matter. Why do biological parents (especially mothers) remain convinced their child is the most beautiful, perfect child that ever lived, long past the point when everyone else can see that the child is a spoiled, whiny brat? Who knows, and more importantly, who cares? The kid is getting great love from their parents. THAT'S what matters in my book.

The point isn't really that there's a good, pure bond of love there (yet), but that we're seeing something we can definitely work with. She probably has every attachment disorder in the book...I know that. And it Just Doesn't Matter.

By the way, we can see already that she's DEFINITELY not ALWAYS an angel. She'll be a handful. That's part of what I like best about her. She's a little like me.

 
At 8:44 AM , Blogger Dan said...

Oh, and she has a full physical (and I think mental) workup coming sometime soon at a children's hospital in the cities. We'll know more then what sorts of issues we have.

 
At 2:24 PM , Blogger FosterAbba said...

I second what Beth has said. Although we haven't received our first placement yet, I've done a ton of reading and everything I've seen seems to indicate that a kid that seems to bond too quickly at first is a red flag indicator of serious troubles down the road.

Like Beth, I hope we are wrong, and I certainly don't mean to rain on your parade, since your placement with "Josie" has been so challenging. You deserve to get a great kid, and I hope that "Angel" works out to be the one you'd hoped for.

 
At 3:18 PM , Blogger Beth said...

I know you will be able to cope with whatever comes along. You've got your mom, afterall.

We'll all be here too.

 
At 6:23 PM , Blogger Mary said...

I have two who came with RAD. There are some wonderful therapists skilled in working with families. It can make a world of difference. Today, after two years of RAD therapy, no one would ever guess our kids were RADdies! For now, concentrate on getting to know her and see what develops. But if you are able to adopt her, definitely include RAD therapy as part of the adoption agreement!

 

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