Sad and Pitiful came to my mind.
This was one of the first pictures we saw of our littlest sweetheart last November. We stared at this picture for 3 months while we waited. And it broke my heart.
We even had a 2 minute video where she had this very same expression the whole time. I was totally preparing myself to work very hard to soften her heart, win her over and finally see that smile that I knew was in there.
After arriving in Uganda so late it was practically early, we finally managed to get some sleep. I don't know how many times I woke up thinking Let's go! and then falling back onto my pillow for another hour.
We arrived at her baby home in the late afternoon, the jetlag forgotten in the excitement, our hearts pounding.
Yes, she was shy and standing behind everyone else, up against the fence. They had dressed her up in the finest outfit and had given her beautiful braids. My first thought was how small she was. And those cheeks!
We introduced ourselves to her without picking her up, giving her a little time. The crowd moved to the house and our new daughter with them. But this mom just had to squish her little daughter and caught up to her and swiped her up in my arms. She didn't freak out. She didn't smile but she didn't scream either.
And then... a smile! Followed by... a laugh!
The very first day! Thank you Jesus!
Our family had been praying and praying that God would be preparing her heart for us long before we got there. Please Jesus, I begged, Let her know we are a very good thing!
And he did. The mamas at the home had showed her a picture of us and told her we were coming the next day. She was awake and standing at the gate by 5am, waiting for her mom and dad. It made me so happy!
Oh look, daddy did get to hold her.
Because of the sad, scared countenance of our little girl, we had planned to visit her at the home for a few days before taking her with us. You know, you don't want to freak your new daughter out more than you need to, right? Guess who was bummed to not be going with us that night. Guess who cried silent tears. Yes, that was our new girlie who was so disappointed but nodded her head as Auntie explained to her that we would be back in the morning to get her.
We hadn't brought clothes with us and had no bed for her in our temporary room at our guesthouse. But the next morning when we came, we were ready! And so was she. She was on the upstairs porch where she could get a good view of us when we came.
So Eva Shalom drank her last cup of porridge at the babies home sitting on her new daddy's lap. Actually, I don't think much made it into her mouth.
After some dress-up in the local Lugandan custom...
...a sidewalk chalk party on the porch...
...many pictures with friends and aunties...
...we left with our little Eva.
And that evening for dinner we all ate oven-fired pizza and we all took our showers, wiggled into our pj's and climbed under our mosquito nets to sleep. In the same room, for the first of many nights.
And it went so much better than I ever let myself imagine it. And she was happier than I ever would have believed. And we were all exhausted.
What a good good good day!