Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meeting Karolina!

What a whirlwind!   On April 12 we left the states for Poland.  Our trip was nearly 24 hours but we were energized with the realization that we were on our way to our little girl!   We had a layover in Amsterdam and flew into Warsaw where we waited for a driver to take us to the region where Karolina is.  It was a 4 hour drive and gave us a great opportunity to see the sights along the way.   There were so many thoughts going through my mind, most of all the amazing way that God lead us to Poland, so far outside of our little bubble and in a way that only He could've ordained.  Over and over I just kept thanking God for this experience, and Karolina.

Our hotel was clean and nice.   The currency is the Polish zloty, and the exchange rate was very good (as opposed to the Euro).   Magda met us there and we felt we were meeting someone familiar after hearing so much about her from other families!    She was just as delightful as we had hoped.  

After we got cleaned up, she took us straight to the orphanage to meet...(as my heart skipped a beat) our daughter!   When we arrived we met with officials and were impressed with the cleanliness and atmosphere of the room.  They told us about Karolina, I cried and asked questions and then they asked if we would like to meet her.    Are you kidding?!   Jim and I looked at each other with our palms sweating and our knees knocking.   We nervously awaited her arrival until the door finally opened with a little bundle wrapped in a pink blanket.   They unwrapped her...and there SHE WAS!   What a beautiful face!   Her skin was so perfect!   Her cuddly body was so healthy and strong!      

We held her and I prepared myself that she might not look me in the eye or respond with affection.  In our adoption classes, we were told to expect that might happen,  and we understood completely.  However, she DID look me in the eyes AND SHE SMILED!    Here are our first photos together:

In the days ahead we bonded beautifully.  Thanks be to God.   We spent a lot of time together just falling in love. 

 Here is one video where a spontaneous moment made her laugh (and made me cry tears of joy). :)  I will forever cherish this video.  
Our last day was excruciating.   We knew the sooner we went home, hopefully the sooner we would return for her.   However, I never expected to bond with her so quickly, so completely.  We held her, prayed over her and I sang to her, hoping chisel every last detail into my memory for safe-keeping.

  It was devastating to say goodbye.  I didn't sleep for days and had a harder time than I had even expected.   I think the woman on our flight to Amsterdam  may have thought I was losing it.    I was sobbing one minute, and then hysterically laughing because the person next to Jim bit into an apple and shot juice across the isle into his eye and on his face.    I had tears of laughter and sorrow at the same time...it's been a while since that has happened!   Lol.    

It's impossible to adequately convey our gratitude to Lina, Magda, and everyone involved for changing our lives for the better, forever.     There were moments of impatience on my end, and of lack of understanding in the process, but I have learned a lot and have a greater appreciation for the entire journey.        In the beginning we were so fearful of the cost, and although it was a valid concern, I realized then when God calls, God will provide, and He truly has.    Holding her, everything else seemed to fall away, and I realized the things I often place value in, are of little value at all.  Every single penny we spent, and will spend was more than worth it.     Clothes and eating out, vacations and cell phones are all nice, but I would sacrifice it all again in a heartbeat, in order to experience the joy and love that has come with Karolina.     

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change

It's a.....

A beautiful, precious, baby GIRL!    We received the amazing news on Saturday night, March 5.   I wasn't expecting to get a call on the weekend (I'm not sure why) but it caught me off guard and was instantly reduced to tears when Lina told us!    Best of all, I knew it "was her" the moment she told us her name.
From the beginning, we had discussed names.  We thought we had settled on Mary Grace but still left it open to see what her birth name was too.  Around January I started feeling drawn to the name Karolina.   I asked my husband about it, he said he liked it and we could consider it.   I would be running on the treadmill, or praying at church, and the name "Karolina" would come into my mind.   I thought perhaps because it was the feminine version of "Karol" (Pope John Paul II's given name) and maybe I was drawn to that spiritually.   That day, on March 5, I ran into a friend who is from Poland.  She has given us advice and tips regarding traveling to Poland, and Polish culture, and she asked how things were going.   I told her "no news yet" but then asked her if she liked the name Karolina.   Well...later that night when Lina shared the news about our referral, her age, region etc. she also told us her name was: Karolina.    My jaw dropped!   On one hand I couldn't believe it.  On the other hand, I just knew it!    I am awe-struck that God would work down to the detail of a name.  We are humbled and grateful about it all.   So, we definitely will not be changing her name....Karolina it is!:)  

We received word that we would be traveling on April 12 to meet her!   Her birthday is June 30th and she will be a year old.   My heart is jumping for joy!    At the same time, I wish all of us waiting for referrals in our adoption group could receive good news at the same time.  The waiting is hard, and I'm not sure how/why the process works differently for every family, but Lina said it's a God thing, and his timing is always perfect.   I trust that, I just pray so much for everyone to receive "the call" soon.   
    This year has been such a whirlwind already, with my dad being diagnosed with cancer, and some unexpected life changes.   We are so overjoyed about the gift of our daughter though, and can't wait to count her fingers, touch her soft hair, and give her lots of kisses and hugs!    She is loved so much already!