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Monday, June 13, 2011

What A Day! Part Two

The train ride to Taichung was very quick.  We figured the train was traveling at speeds upwards of 100 mph at times.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful.  Taiwan is such a green, gorgeous island, and it was nice to get out of the city and see some of the country.

When we arrived in Taichung, we were met by a government social worker who drove us to the Foundation building.  Sophia is basically a ward of the state, so her case has been managed by the Taiwanese equivalent of Children and Youth.  Sophia has been in care since she was a few months old, and is with her second foster family.  We met her first social worker who filled us in on her history from about six months on, including a little about her first foster family and why she was switched to her current foster family.  Her first foster family was an older couple, who nurtured and cared for her through some significant emotional issues early on in her life.  However, as she reached the age where she needed more physical therapy and educational type therapies, they could no longer care for her adequately.  Her current foster family, who have cared for Sophia for two years, have done a fantastic job in that department.  Her foster mother is actually a teacher, and developed many of the therapy toys that we have seen in photos.  In fact, her inventive toys are now on exhibit somewhere for their ingenuity and creativity with special needs kids.  Pretty cool!

But I digress...when we arrived at the Foundation, we only waited a couple of minutes and the foster family walked up, pushing Sophia in a stroller.  It was an emotional moment, seeing our daughter in person for the first time.  Right away the foster father pulled out laminated 5x7 blown up photos of our faces, and showed Sophia that now her "mother" and "father" from the photos were standing in front of her.  You could see that she was trying to process this information in the midst of the greetings going on around her.  Immediately we could see that this little girl was quite savvy--a thinker.

We were all ushered up to the third floor of the building where we found a room that was probably used for visitations with children and families.  It contained some chairs for sitting on one end, and then a round area with wooden floors and more child-friendly seating, surrounded by books and toys.  For the next couple of hours, Sophia roamed around, mostly accompanied by her foster father, while Dave and I let her get used to us.  It didn't take long for us--especially Dave!--to elicit some smiles from her, but she was definitely wary.  During this time I was able to interview the foster mother and take some more notes on routines, etc., and she showed me all of the things she had brought for us to take with us...a big box and a big duffel bag full!  Sophia was the sweetheart of her school, and her teachers has sent gifts for her, as well as some of her schoolwork which will be treasured.  The foster family had gifts for our entire family, and new clothes for Sophia.  We found out how to make Sophia's bottle, which consists of some sort of rice powder and grain powder, both of which the foster family and the school teachers gave us an ample supply to take home.  We will definitely be needing another suitcase!!

In the midst of all of this, I noted that Sophia has a very close relationship with her foster father.  He was very attentive, but very quiet.  The love that he has for her is so evident.  I didn't let myself dwell on that too much, as I didn't want to make a scene!  But I know that this is very hard for them.  In fact, the foster mother told me that she had already cried a lot the night before, but upon seeing us, she just had a peace that we would take care of their Sophia and love her the way that they did.  Of course, that made me cry.  What an answer to prayer to have a foster family who loved our daughter as their own, and yet prepared her for us.  What a blessing!

After a couple of hours, it was decided that the foster family should leave and we would have Sophia to ourselves for awhile.  The plan was to eat lunch there, then check in to our hotel with Sophia and our social worker and allow her to acclimate there.  We then were going to come back to the Foundation around 6 p.m. to meet the foster family's children, and give Sophia back to them for one last night.  I really think that Sophia's foster parents fully expected her to break down and cry when they left, but that did not happen...

More to come...

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Deborah said...

Dear Terri!

How happy, happy, and overflowing is my heart for you and Dave, Sophia and her foster family. I continue in prayer...


Erin said...

o my terri!!!!! i can't wait to read the next part!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Melissa said...

I love reading this! It reminds me of the Drew's foster parents. He was their first and they adored him. I really feel that helped with his adjustment to us. And it was such a blessing to know that his first months were full of love. And so I am sure you feel the same with Sophia's foster family. What a blessing! I can't wait to read more.

Faith, Hope, and Love said...

Congratulations!!!! Praising God that everything is going so well! What a beautiful, beautiful little girl! It must be very difficult for the foster family to say goodbye. Praying for them as well.

Enjoy every moment my friend!!!

Love and blessings,

stephanie garcia said...

What a wonderful job of documenting such an emotional day. So much to process ... Wow.

Annie said...

Oh Terri!! Please forgive me!! I have not had time to blog over the past few weeks and have missed this joyous occasion! How could I miss it?? I have gone through the past few posts and am enjoying every minute of it. Sophia looks so lovely! I can't imagine the sadness of her foster family and losing that life. I will read on... Congratulations!!