Friday, November 9, 2012

Meeting Zahra

I'm on African time now... sorry it has been so long. We are just getting settled in and are now hooked up to the internet, so I will try to back track and stay current from now on. ;) We have been in Kenya for 2 weeks now and I have a lot to share!

We landed in Kenya in the evening of the 23rd with our 15 pc's of luggage plus carry on.

Tracy met us at the airport bundled in Canadian flag bunting.

It was a wonderful greeting, we were so happy to finally meet her. She has been an amazing support for us here, assisting us as we get on our own two feet on Kenyan soil.

The following morning we woke up bright and early, ready for the day to meet our new family addition. We had a quick meeting at our agency office and then headed to the orphanage with another Canadian family who we were travelling with who also have a child in the same home. We decided it would be best to be introduced to the children one at a time, so we could enjoy each other meetings and assist Tracy with the photographing.

Dane and Corrie met their little guy first. He is just 14 months old. A very cute, happy little guy who seem to take it all in his stride. It was wonderful to take witness to their wonderful meeting. I would like to share with you our meeting with Z in the form of a letter to her.

Meeting You - a letter to our Joy.

We stood outside the cute, little 3 bedroom block house that you have called home for your first two years of life. Little baby outfits pinned up on the line drying in the hot African sun, beyond that a large pile of dirty diapers were collected, while a little playground built from wood sat in the forefront.

I started to get choked up and felt a few tears roll down my face when I realized that the moment was upon us and I would soon be seeing your beautiful little face. As you rounded the corner of the doorway, carried by your Carer, I knew I had to choke those tears back and be strong for you because you were so frightened.

I felt so sad for you, you were so scared and confused. I wanted to take you into my arms and comfort you. I wanted to reassure you that you would never feel this scared and unsure again in your life, but I knew that it was my very presence that was making you feel this way. I reached out and took your hand, softly speaking your name. Your eyes glazed over as you stared off into space, internalizing your fear. The Carers felt bad, they tried to bring your out of it. I could tell that they were worried that I would I would feel bad, or perhaps that I wouldn't see you for the bright happy girl you are. 'She's just shy', they said as they tried to hand you over to me. You instantly shrugged away. 'It's okay', I said... 'let's just take it slow.'

I pulled out the bubbles hoping that they would catch your attention. Sadly, it seemed to heighten your fear as I don't think you had ever seen them before.

I handed you a toy train and you refused to take it. I was not worried. Your
attachment to your Carers and your strong will only reassured me that even though this may take awhile, we would be inseparable once it did happen. I think you and I are a lot alike, and I can appreciate your strong will. Things happen on your terms, and only when your 100% sure... I totally get it!

Your Carer took the train and handed it to you. You started to flick your finger over the wheels, making them spin over and over again. This fidget toy seemed to help you some.

The staff decided it would be best to go inside. The Carer sat you down on the couch, and I sat next to you. You moved as far from me as you could while continuing to spin the toy train wheels.

I pulled out stickers and started to stick them on the other children, hoping you were watching and taking note of the fun they were having with them. After a few moments, I reached over and stuck one on the back of your hand. Your reaction was like being stung by bee, so I continued to just focus on the other children, allowing you to become more comfortable with the situation.

Some time had passed and you still were not showing any signs of giving in. I started to wrack my brain for more ideas. Then I remembered my iphone. I had downloaded a few apps for toddlers the week prior. I pulled it out and turned it on to animals and animal sounds. You turned your cheek, but I knew you were listening. I tapped the Bee to initiate the buzzing sound as I buzzed with my fingers and playfully tickled the necks of the other children. We moved on to the dog, cat, lion and so on... You started to steal little glances as your interest piqued.

Then a miracle happened.

The 3 yr olds came in from school. Your eyes lit up, and your whole demeanor changed. You were so happy to see them. They came rushing over to see what this wonderful little toy I had in my hand was, when you scooched your little bottom over as close as you could get to me, laying your hand over me - proclaiming that I and the iPhone belonged to you and no one else. Human nature, orphanage competition, and Steve Jobs may have brought us together in that moment... but it didn't matter to me, my heart melted in that touch and I knew you and I were going to be just fine.

Day 2 tomorrow...(if internet permits)


Candice said...

LOVE IT!!! Can't wait for tomorrow's post...

Melissa said...

So glad to see you posting! Can't wait to read more!

Jacquie said...

It's so good to hear from you. Your letter is beautiful, what a wonderful gift to Zahra. I can't wait to hear more!

Jess said...

Yeah! Glad to see you posting, I have been stalking your blog to see how things are going for you! Attachment takes time, just keep doing what you are doing.

Cathy Munro/Rice said...

This is so wonderful what you are doing and I am so excited for you Thompson family....can't wait to keep reading and your daughter will love this when she is older.
Happy Remembrance Day!!! oh what a time!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Jo. Keep 'em coming ! :)


Erin Thompson said...

Way to leave us hanging!! I kid! Hope you are all having a great time and are way too busy doing super aweseom stuff to blog... not that I am not checking this several times a day for updates:P

Denise said...

Brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you could see her being on guard for what it was... and not take it personally. I can't wait to read more!

Historica said...

Wow ! Your letter to Zahra is beautifully written. I can't wait to read what happen after.

Ella said...

I like the story of Day 1. It's funny!