How do I even begin? There really aren't enough words in the English language to express the experience of meeting our son yesterday. Family and friends, I know you will all love him as much as we do. He is as cute as a button and sweet and polite and friendly and has a beautiful smile... I don't sound like a proud mama already do I?
I had so many thoughts about how the initial meeting might go. None of them looked remotely similar to what we experienced. He is a stranger to us as we are to him. I've read stories about people who meet their child and just "know" immediately this is their child. I really didn't hope or expect this to be the case. I expected him to be reserved, I expected our girls to be reserved and maybe even awkward around him. After the first two minutes of introductions it was smooth sailing.
The introductions went well, his foster mom had been prepping him to learn our names from the family profile book. She had him say hello and shake our hands. He knew each of us and was very brave in these few moments that had to be intimidating. We brought him a gift of a soccer ball. He opened that and there wasn't another second of awkwardness. Michael took J and our girls over to a field to kick around the new ball while I stood by and snapped a few photos. Sorry I can't share these photos online as the "at risk" placement is still in effect. Of course it wasn't long until they were all hot and sweaty - it is Florida after all - so they stopped for a snack. I had packed up cookies, grapes, juice and water so we sat down to share our snacks. I was getting everything out and as I usually do I asked, to no one in particular but generally thinking of my girls, "Does someone want to pass out the napkins?" Without missing a beat J said "Sure, I will." Well alright then, just step right up and join the family!!!!! The girls all smiled and took the grapes and cookies and passed them around to the adults. Oh yes the adults.... also present at the meeting were J's foster mom and foster dad - great folks, they have loved him and taught him well for the 16 months he has lived with them. His case worker and Guardian ad litem were also there. I love that so many people love our son.
His foster mom repeatedly said how much she liked our family profile book. She brought it with her to the visit and had each of us sign and date it by our photos so we could document the day. So thoughtful. She also pointed out that one of J's favorite photos was this one of R and he told her he wants to have his picture taken like that too.
After snack J and the girls went off to play on the playground and Michael and I sat and talked with the adults. As our visit was drawing near an end we took the opportunity to take a few more photos. His foster dad took a "new" family photo for us, and we took one of J with his foster parents and their cute little dog "Princess."
Saying goodbye was difficult. In an effort to say an appropriate goodbye Michael offered up a masculine fist bump... but J went in for a hug. My heart melted. J really connected with Michael, and it was mutual. He then proceeded to hug the girls and I and went back for another Michael hug. I mean seriously????? His foster parents are very friendly and affection is shown easily in their home, we were greeted with hugs by his foster mom and hugged by both foster mom and foster dad when we left. On the drive home K said "J will get along good with our family in Canada because he likes hugs." Now those of you who "like" hugs know who you are and those of you less huggy folks might need to brace yourself because our boy is a hugger.