10 Things I Felt When I Finally Held My Adopted Daughter In My Arms
The other day, for the first time in months, I watched the two minute and 10 second video of the moment my husband and I met our daughter almost a year and a half ago. Every single time I watch it, I cry big, fat, alligator tears. First and foremost, because I am so darn grateful we had such a close friend there who videoed that exact moment, so I could forever remember and relive the things I felt when I finally held my adopted daughter in my arms.
We got the call that our daughter had arrived the morning that we met her, when she was 3 days old. We hadn't heard a peep from our agency in a few weeks, and they hadn't met her birth mom prior to my daughter's birth to make a plan for adoption with her. They simply got a call from the hospital, worked with her birth mom for several days, and called us when everything was finalized. However, the moment we got that call, my entire body itched with impatience. It felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin just to get to her.
After six long hours of waiting for my husband to finish work — and getting our fingerprints taken since the appointment had taken weeks to schedule and we'd need them in order to take her home — we arrived at the hospital. It took forever to find the entrance and once we got to the lobby, I made my husband stop so we could both brush our teeth before meeting our daughter. (The weird things seem very important when you're about to do something as monumental as meet your baby!) When we finally got to the NICU floor, I was shaking with anticipation. My husband and I shared one last squeeze in the elevator before our lives changed and we became parents.
Thankfully, we have a sweet little iPhone video to capture the moment when we walked in the door, with our name tags that said "Mommy" and "Daddy" and our faces chock full of disbelief that we could ever be so lucky to be chosen to be her parents. And then? Well, then the emotions started to hit:
An Out Of Body Experience
Holding my adoptive daughter for the first time felt like a complete out of body experience. I remember everything, but I don't remember any of it. It had been ages since I'd held a baby that tiny, and it was so bizarre to be holding my daughter.
I was so incredibly grateful for that tiny burrito bundle in my arms. In that moment, I was so unbelievably thankful I'm not even sure grateful is big enough of a word.
I was instantly, fully, and completely in love with my baby girl. I hadn't grown her in my belly, but she had grown in my heart and it was as though she'd been there all along.
Glad Someone Was There To Video
I am so thankful that we have the video of that moment, so I can relive it whenever I'm feeling like I can handle a good cry. The moment we walked in the room, I wanted her in my arms immediately and I never wanted to let her go.
I'm A Mom
I was finally a mom, after years of waiting and wishing and watching all my friends become moms. I was finally someone's mom and it was such a dream come true.
When we left that evening (why or how we left her there I have no idea, but I think we were in major shock), I kept repeating to my husband, "I can't believe this day. I can't believe this is my life." It was very, very difficult to believe, even as we called our families to tell them one by one that we had a daughter.
A Little Surreal
Sometimes, thinking back on that first moment with my daughter, I can't believe it really happened. I can't believe I didn't fall over, because I don't even remember my feet on the floor. However, I can still hear the nurse's voice in my ears and feel the weight of her in my arms. It was the most surreal moment I've ever experienced.
She's So Tiny...
And so light! She was 6 pounds, 3 ounces and felt like air in my arms with that scratchy hospital-issue flannel receiving blanket.
...With So Much Hair
After I'd held her for a bit, we realized she had hair under her little hat. When we took it off, we were shocked at how much hair she actually had. A whole head full of shiny black hair, in fact. And even that surprised me. I had never pictured my baby with thick black hair, but seeing it on her was completely perfect.
Overwhelmed With Paperwork
I do remember thinking, "The marathon of paperwork was so worth it!" And I'd do mountains of paperwork for the rest of my life to get to hold my girl in my arms.