Little Lady Nola Z,

I haven’t written you a note since we first saw your face. I think it’s because there is so much to say, but so little that we really know about you, except that you clearly have the best lips of anyone. Your eyebrows, too, are enviable, but we’ll try to help you not let that go to your head.

With every set of photos, we see a little more of you. In the first ones, you look a little sad, a little angry, a little scared. People look at those and say, “She is so beautiful!” and they are right, but I don’t love those photos so much anymore. They were the photos that led us to you, but to me they carry a great deal of sadness. We long to see you happy, and we feel like you are, sometimes. People ask all the time, “Is there a photo of her smiling?” Not yet. But we don’t need one. I see from the pictures we have of you that there is a twinkle in your eye and a confidence in the way you carry yourself now. To me that says that you are adjusted to your current circumstances, and I feel good about that. There will always be more to you than a smile, and I like seeing those things now.

Two days ago we received a short video of you, and I love that best. I watch it over and over again, loving the glimpse we have into who you are. You are confused by instructions in English and inquisitive and a little wobbly on your feet. I think the shoes you are wearing are too big for your tiny feet. It’s okay, though; we think it’s endearing the way you bend your knees to get foot and shoe off the ground together. We also like your bald spots and the bit of lint in your hair. We like the way you put your lips together when someone asks you to blow a kiss and then give up when you do not understand. We like the way you tilt your head and raise your eyebrows. We like the way you wave with your index finger and thumb together part of the time, and the way you hold your tongue a little bit sideways when you are concentrating. We just like you.

Back when we thought we were waiting for a baby, I had an idea of what that baby might look like and what she might be like. When it turned out that baby was you, grown up a little bit, I felt like I was looking at the little girl that I had imagined all along. I felt lucky. We saw your photo on a Friday and waited all the way until Tuesday to find out for sure if we could even consider being your parents. And then it wasn’t a consideration at all. We wanted you, hoped for you, longed for you. And there you were. We said yes without any hesitation. Whatever you find out about your story, I want you to understand first and foremost that you were always wanted.

Nola, you may not always (or ever) feel lucky to have landed in our family. Your road to us has been a hard one, and we respect and honor that. I want you to know that that’s okay if you always feel that this isn’t quite as it should have been, and that you never need to feel anything other than what you do. I hope you won’t mind, though, if we always feel lucky to have you.

With much love and anticipation of meeting wonderful you,
Your mama


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