When we first met Baby Bird, in October 2011, she was a little baby: five-and-a-half months old and around 10 pounds. During our registration trip, we spent a week getting to know each other. Then we had to leave her behind.
Over the next six months, while we waited for both the U.S. and Armenian governments to give us the green light, we received very little information: no pictures, no updates on her health and well-being. No matter how loving her nannies were, I still felt sad she would spend more months living in an orphanage before we could be reunited as a family.
I poured over photos I had taken on our first trip and tried to imagine what she might look like. I grieved over developmental milestones we would miss–the firsts that many moms and dads are lucky enough to see.
In March of 2012, as we sat in the orphanage doctor’s office waiting for one of her nannies to bring her to us, I wondered: would she recognize us or have any memory of our smell or the way our voices sound?
And then, there she was! Six months later she had really grown, although by U.S. standards she was still a peanut, with her height and weight falling at the 10th percentile on the growth chart. Her glorious hair was auburn and much longer than it had been when we first met her, and her gray-green eyes had darkened to a light brown.
She had blue spots dotting her face which we were told was from antiseptic used to help children heal from chicken pox. On top of chicken pox, she had a bad case of the flu (and later on, when we changed our first diaper, we found out she also had a seriously bad diaper rash and yeast infection). Illnesses aside, she was still as cute as we’d remembered.
We were over-the-moon to be able to hold her in our arms once again. And this time, we whispered in her ear, we won’t have to say goodbye.