I can't sleep tonight. I keep getting up to check on the beautiful brown baby sleeping in the bassinet next to my bed. She is sleeping on her side, one hand tucked under her chin and the other sprawled to the side.
She is so beautiful and so perfect, I can't believe she's mine, ours. I want to soak up all these moments. I know in a few short days we'll be jetting back to the US and have three other adorable munchkins competing for our attention and we'll be jet-lagged out the wazoo and before I know it, 2 weeks will have gone by and I will think... were we really in Africa? Was that really me with the screaming baby, pacing the balcony? Was I really in a home in Addis Ababa, picking up my baby girl forever and always?
I am by some standards a seasoned mom. But find myself at a loss already. I have never bottle-fed a baby before. How do I warm a bottle? How many scoops of formula again? What do I do if she wakes during the night? What did the nannies do? Feed her? Ignore her? Do I wash her pretty curls or let them go for awhile? Can I use regular baby shampoo? What do I do when she gets that startled, scared look. Am I more scary to her than comforting?
I vow in my heart that she will never be left again. She won't cry herself to sleep, or have to wonder if I am coming. I don't really care if I am more scary to her than being left alone. At some point she will realize I'm her mama, and when life gets scary, I will be here. Always.
And I will tell her of the time when she was just a little thing, and her daddy and I took her from the only life she had ever known. She was scared, and she cried and cried and cried. Where were her nannies and the comforting sounds of sleeping with 14 other babies in her room? Where was the loud singing, the familiar jostling, and the dogs barking in the background? And she will laugh, because it will be her favorite story: when she came home to a mommy and daddy and two big brothers and a big sister who adore her to pieces. She will know that we wanted her so much that we flew halfway around the world to get her. And she will be our girl, forever.