During this trip, I stayed at a hotel that is specifically run for adoptive families. There are a few different locations to this organization and where I am staying each family has their own little apartment type space. In my apartment we have a bedroom, living/dining/kitchenette area and bathroom. It’s really just enough space for us and allows me to prepare meals for the kiddo so we don’t have to eat out for every meal. We have ventured out, of course, but it’s quite nice to have a place to keep and make food that I know she will eat. There is a nice common area/front yard that has a variety of toys for the kids and a patio area to still be outside if it’s a little rainy, or just to chill with other families for a bit. It has laundry access (which is great for such a long trip!) and still has a staff that runs the front desk, comes in and cleans our rooms as needed, provides fresh linens & towels and really just about anything we might need. Need a blender? They’ll hunt one down for you. Need a prescription filled? Call the owner, she’ll contact the pharmacy and voila, prescription delivered. Everyone that is a part of this place has really been extremely helpful and they work very hard to make the stay as close to ‘home’ as possible. While here, a family had their anniversary and their daughters first birthday. The owner babysat so they could enjoy a dinner out on their anniversary and helped put together a wonderful first birthday party for their daughter! They also pulled out the grill and decorations for a pretty enjoyable 4th of July front yard cookout for all of the families here now. It has just been a really great place to be.
I have met some wonderful people here who I am glad to say have become friends and I know we will stay in touch through our lives. There has been one family who has already gone home since I’ve arrived and another moved into the empty apartment. Currently there are four families here from the US and one family from Italy. The majority of the kids are little (under 4) but there are two who are very early elementary and it’s fun to watch them all play. The oldest boy is so sweet with the little ones, such a kind and gentle soul. Adjusting to a new family after 7 or 8 years is difficult, but this boy seems to have such a sweet nature.
It’s so great watching them all adjust to their new lives, watching them bond with their parents, it is REALLY great to be able to see those changes. Little ones who a month ago had no idea what ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ were, now get jealous when another kiddos climbs into their parents lap, or when there are 8 adult outside, your child chooses YOU to come too for help or comfort or silly giggles. Those are great moments that we will cherish forever. We’ve gotten quite a few pictures with the other families and other kiddos and they absolutely will end up in Josie’s scrapbook. When she’s older it will be so nice to have these memories.
It’s also great to have those parents to chat with. They understand the process, the frustrations, the joys, the simple little things that are such a huge giant deal when dealing with adoption and a child who spent their first year or two or three (or 7) in an orphanage. It’s so great to know that you can share about struggles that you may be having without fear of judgement and at the same time share that tender moment when your kiddo peeked through super tired eyes while falling asleep, realized you were still there laying next to them, smiled and fell back asleep. And they get it. They get how those struggles can be, yes, a part of everyday parenting, but the reactions are TOTALLY different with an adopted child. And those little moments, yes, every parent treasures them, but they are the core moments when your child is still realizing that you are Mama and you aren’t going anywhere and you do love them, all the time, no matter what.