Hello to you from South Africa.
Three days in and we are both doing well. The trip was long but meeting Hannah* at the airport made the hours of waiting seem more than tolerable.
Standing on the plane waiting to disembark, every fear - every moment of wondering can I do this - came flooding in, but those fears quickly abated as Hannah and I fell into a familiar rhythm. Familiar but syncopated with the beats of motherhood.
We're staying with my dear friend Beverly and her family who have been incredible in making us feel right at home.
Our first few days have been spent catching up and running to the shops for forgotten items and shoes the right size - my tall, skinny child with the big feet.
We also made a trip to the doctor on Friday because of a soar throat and a fever that just wouldn't go away. Some of the other children have been sick recently, so we thought it might be the same thing. Turned out it was a virus and not a bacterial infection, so we've been waiting it out. She feels much better today.
We're spending our Saturday afternoon with friends from the church I used to attend here in Jo'burg, and then we'll visit New Creation on Sunday to worship with many who have been Hannah's family up to now.
We meet with the social worker on Monday to prepare for court and then go to court on Thursday. After which, we'll start working on a new birth certificate and her passport and visa.
In only a few days, we've already had many firsts together. Firsts, seconds, thirds. The building blocks of a lifetime as a family.
The first time hugging as mother and daughter.
The first time kissing her forehead in the way that says I love you and you are mine.
The first time reading a bedtime story and tucking her in.
The first time preparing her breakfast.
The first time helping her get dressed in the morning.
The first time washing her hair and wiping her eyes when the soap got in them.
The first time letting her crawl into bed with me after a nightmare.
The first time listening to her as she shares about school bullies.
The first time she read to me.
The first time seeing her Michael Jackson moves.
The first trip to the doctor.
The first time sending her out to play with her friends.
The first time blogging about life as mother and daughter.
I have to be honest that so far its been quite easy and natural - well, the sleeping in a twin bed with an eight-year-old was not so easy - but the rest feels as it is meant to be.
*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all online activity regarding my someday daughter and her adoption.