For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mother; my life’s path did not turn out to be a traditional one. I went to college, traveled, and got a good job; a family was not in the near future. When I found a once-in-a-lifetime yoga retreat in Bali that included writing and photography, I had to go. After a few days of quiet soul searching and meditating, I wrote a story about a woman meeting her child for the first time:
This was what it felt like to meet your soul mate, the woman thought. There could not possibly be another child more beautiful and perfect. Those eyes were waiting to be filled with unconditional love.
I had a vision of my future; the child’s eyes had touched my soul. At that moment, I knew I was destined to become his/her mother.
I wasn’t sure if the child meant for me was a boy or a girl, and I definitely did not know what area of the world they were currently living in. When I told my agency that I wanted a Deaf child under three years old, they told me that they believed it would be difficult for me to find a match. I was determined to find this child. I have been signing (ASL) since I was in middle school, I teach at a Deaf school, and I was sure I wanted to raise a Deaf child. Two months after I completed my home study, I got restless. I emailed any and every agency or organization I could find related to Deafness and adoption. After numerous responses saying there were no children available, I was crushed.
The Referral Arrives
About a month later, I got an email asking if I was still looking for a Deaf child. Yes! The agency sent me the file titled, “Little Girl P.” I opened the email and scrolled quickly for her picture. Those were the eyes! I had found my child! I immediately began crying tears of joy.
The next few months were a roller coaster of emotions. From the smallest note from the orphanage telling me there was a daily sign language teacher, to the sleepless nights wondering if we’d pass court, I thought it would never end. I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms. I taped a small prayer to my bathroom mirror to help me through it all:
May you be safe and sleep soundly through the night, may you be safe as you wake to the morning’s light.
May you feel my love from so far away, may it comfort and protect you throughout each day.
I will pray for you my little one, until our time of waiting is done.
I will pray that the Lord keep you safe from harm, until the child of my heart becomes the child in my arms.
Six months after our match, I was able to Skype with my daughter. I was so grateful to the orphanage for allowing me to see her, watch her move and interact, and to communicate with her. It filled my heart more than I could ever describe. It got me through those last few months of waiting.
I was finally informed I could travel in October. I was on cloud nine! It was finally happening. I booked the travel and hotel and packed my bags for myself and my daughter. My mother accompanied me to India as she was my rock through the entire process. As we trekked through the airport with a stroller and no child, many people gave us strange looks, some even asked where my child was. One lady recognized that we were on a journey to pick up an adopted child. As she and her two adopted daughters wished me luck, I sat in tears. I was happy. I was nervous. I was in total misbelief that it was all happening.
These feelings continued until the next day when we went to the orphanage to meet my daughter, Priyanka. The director told me she would be coming from the building on the other side of the courtyard. I dropped my bag and waited anxiously. Soon, the most gorgeous little girl walked into my life. I would love to say it was a perfect meeting and she ran to me and hugged me and called me Mommy. But that is far from reality. Priyanka clung to her teacher’s hand as I bent over to sign to her. All I wanted to do was hold her, but I knew she was not ready. As we spent the day coloring and looking at books in the lobby, she began to warm up to me. She even sat on my lap. After lunch, she was sleepy and let me rock her. She slept and I held her; this was the most amazing feeling I had ever felt. I had met my soul mate.
We left her at the orphanage that night and returned the next day to take her home. This day was the happiest and most horrible day of my life. It was the day “I” became “we;” the day I became a mother. However, it was the day my three-year-old daughter was taken from everything she knew. She screamed as I tore her away from her life. I prayed that this moment would be replaced with all the happy memories that would follow.
The rest of the week in India was filled with attachment and grieving. Priyanka did not like staying in the hotel room; she wanted to be outside and walk. However, she did not walk or go in the stroller. I had to carry her…everywhere. This was amazing for our attachment, but not so good for my back.
A Family at Home
I was excited to get home and get our lives started! We returned to Michigan as a family in November, just in time for the holidays. I was very protective of the first few weeks and slowly started to expose her to new places and people. She took it all like a champ, so I went with it. She loved meeting her cousins for the first time and my parents had a party for everyone to meet her in December.
Priyanka loves people and immediately knew I was safe, yet it took me a long time to leave her side. She began school in January in the same building in which I teach. This has been a blessing to both of us. Soon, life as “just the two of us” became the norm.
In the past year, she has learned to communicate through ASL and has developed a personality all her own. She is growing to become a smart and opinionated little girl. I am more and more proud of her every day, and I am in awe of the person she is becoming.
October 31, this past Saturday was our first “Gotcha Day.” I cannot believe it has already been a year. I feel like I met her yesterday; I feel like we have been together forever.
To view waiting children with deafness and hearing loss click on the image below:
With a combined 275 years of experience, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota serve children and families through adoption, child welfare, and family preservation. We are driven by the understanding that a child in a safe, nurturing home is a child who thrives. We work to give every child security, opportunity and a loving family. Through our partnership, we offer the following services to families nationwide. We encourage you to visit the Lutheran Social Service Rainbow Kids page to view additional country programs.