It's funny how certain things, things that don't seem "big and important" in the grand scheme of things, things that are everyday and ordinary, can be the very things that make you realize how BIG something really is. I have spent the last 5 weeks telling everyone we know about our little girl, about our referral and everything we know about her. We can finally buy clothes with a little face in mind, instead of just the concept of a child. We can pick out our registry, have a baby shower, and decide on exactly which announcements are "perfect enough" to announce the homecoming of our precious Emma (whenever the homecoming is going to be...). Her pictures, the only ones we have so far, are all over the house. They are in our bathroom in pink frames, in the office, the kitchen, the living room and the nursery. I even keep a set in my work bag JUST IN CASE someone only saw them 407 times and want to see them again. A parenting magazine took the place of People and Vogue as my late-night "indulgent" reading. I already drive slower and more carefully and I feel a strange feeling in my heart and stomach when I hear a child cry out "Mommy" in the middle of a store. On a difficult day I can be brought to tears by hearing that one word come out of a child's mouth. Of all these things, all the changes taking place, one thing stands out as the moment that it all became real. 

"Do you have any children?" I can't count anymore how many times I have been asked this by patients that I treat as a nurse. In the early morning hours in the ER that I work in, I was making conversation with a patient while giving some medication. And this time, without hesitation, I answered the question I have answered millions of times before, but this time I said "I have a daughter". In that moment, as difficult as it is to explain, my entire life changed and I realized that I do have a daughter, who is halfway around the world right now but holds every piece of my heart in her tiny hands. I have a daughter who God created just for me, just for us, and as hard as this process has been I would do it all over again and again for her because she is my daughter. The minute I saw her face on our computer screen, the pain and anxiety of the wait for our referral was simply gone. As if we had only waited a day, an hour, or not at all. My "labor pains" had been forgotten, and I cling to the faith and hope that the pain of waiting to bring her home will be forgotten the minute she is placed in my arms. What a day that will be....

For now I have to be patient and wait...everyone says we are "in the home stretch" and "only a little while longer" and I know this is all true. I imagine her doing all of the things we were told in her medical report that she is able to do now. I try to picture her smiling and laughing, patting her chubby hands together, and rolling over trying to crawl. If I wanted to, I could be angry that she is doing all of these things for the first time without me there. That she is doing them with another family watching. Instead, I choose to be so thankful that she is doing them with another family watching, instead of not doing them, or instead of doing them alone, in a crib, with no one to hold her or comfort her. I choose to thank God daily for the amazing foster mother who is helping my little girl learn to love, so that she will one day learn to love us. Until she comes home, I know she is being cared for and loved, and I will be that much happier when it is finally my turn to be there for her.

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