I knew it would happen...one day...and that day was yesterday. Yesterday was the first time I saw a photo of Nora in the arms of a complete stranger. What an adorable stranger to be the first one for me to see...
Seeing this photo brings a weird mix of emotions for me to wrestle with, digest, and then live with. First and foremost, it brings the wave of elation upon seeing my beautiful girl being loved on by another person. Just seeing her stare in the eyes of this little girl makes me smile. Nora looks great and looks like she is enjoying the attention this family was giving her. I'm blessed to be able to see photos like these.
However, I would lie if I said it didn't also bring up emotions of jealousy and that protective "mama bear" in me. If Nora were any of my other children I can't say I would have just let anyone hold them I didn't know personally. I certainly wouldn't have taken photos of the event. There is an instinct in each of us mothers to protect our cherished children no matter what. Knowing one of my children is not able to have that protection from me right now is a hard pill to swallow. Don't get me wrong, I am SURE this beautiful family means nothing but to spill God's love all over Nora and the rest of the children there at ROH, but I just want her to be safe no matter what is going on or who is holding her and I can't physically do that while we live so far away from each other. Seeing these photos of strangers holding her for the first time has brought up that reality to me in a very real way today.
There will be so many people who will hold my little girl over the course of the next 1-2 years whom I will never meet. There will be photos of Nora in other mission trip photo albums I will never know exist. There will be people she gives a smile to that will change their hearts forever. She could eventually be the one thing that breaks the last string holding someone back from adoption--how cool is that! The hard part for me is that I want to know about all those little and big moments of Nora's life and the impact she has on others and I will never know them all. It's a wonderful reminder that as much as she is mine to love and call my daughter, Nora is not really mine, but God's. She is a gift of God just as my other children are. I am honored and blessed God chose me to help raise them, show them how much God loves them, and prepare them to do the work He has for them to do. My children are gifts I will do anything to protect and love.
As far as the jealousy part--no matter how stinkin' adorable this little girl is holding my baby, I really just want it to be me, or Nora's daddy, or one of Nora's siblings holding her instead. I just broke into tears as I thought of how many times I have to console Lily as she says once again, "Mom, can't Nora come home today so I can hold her?" I hesitate to even show this picture to Lily for fear of the questions as to why another little girl got to fly down there and hold her but she can't. Oh the joy it will be when it is Lily with Nora in her arms just like this sweet girl holding her here.
Well, I must say it has been good for me to recognize all those emotions in my heart as I saw these photos. It's good to recognize the connection that is clearly forming in my heart--my motherly connection to Nora. It will be a long wait, hopefully FULL of many other pictures like these just to give us a glimpse into Nora's life in Haiti and make the time pass quicker. Overall, I am left with feeling blessed to be this precious girl's Mommy and that no matter who holds her for a few minutes here and there over the course of this journey, she will be in my arms forever in the end.