In a few hours it will be 1 year since I met little Jude.
Here is the story: I was nervous and kinda had that you-were-airsick-yesterday-and-now-you-aren’t-exactly-best-friends-with-food thing going on. I think I managed a little bit of mint tea and a piece of toast. I am still quite annoyed that they don’t have Ginger Ale east Newfoundland. One can of Canada Dry and all would have been right in my world. I digress. After breakfast our translator told us the place where we were meeting wasn’t far, just a short walk. I was happy to walk. It calmed my nerves. We got a little lost so were a few minutes late. At 10:02 I walked into the the small waiting area of the social services office in Hisarya and there was Jude with her foster family. Right there in the waiting room! I hadn’t expected to run into her like this (and I don’t think the social services people had expected it either). So out first meeting took place right there. What did she do when she first saw me? Nothing. Kinda ignored me actually. We were able to snap our first photo about 15 minutes later when all the paperwork clearances had been signed.
What have I learned since that day? Well, first off. I have never seen Jude as sick as she was on that trip. Turns out she had influenza/pneumonia while we were there. She actually napped in the morning during one of our visits. Knowing what I know now and how often she naps/sleeps she must have literally been on her death bed. If I had known, we would have visited a different week. The only other time I have seen Jude sick was during pick-up trip she was recovering from the Chickenpox. Since then she has (knock on wood) been super-healthy. She hasn’t even caught any of the viruses I have dragged home from the medical clinic.
I knew how painful at the time having her in the visit room was. She hated it. What I didn’t understand was that we were somehow (barely) containing a force of nature. If you asked me today to keep Jude in that room for 3 hours a day for a whole week with up to 9 adults I would respectfully request to be drunk or medicated (or both) first.
I have learned that Jude liked me from the first day. I knew that she had warmed to me by the end of day 2 when we were on that trip. It wasn’t until I had her home for some time and rewatched the videos (after I knew her well) that I understood that she really did like me within the first 30 minutes or so. She LOVED us by day 2.
I have learned that I can and will do anything for my child(ren). I have learned what I can endure. I have learned what true patience is. I have learned that love is stronger than blood. I am the luckiest Mom in the world.