We were told that we would probably not bring Thabi with us that first day meeting her. Because she had such an attachment to her home, they weren't sure if she would go with us.
When we arrived, Maren held my hand that whole walk up to the children's home. My stomach was in knots. This day was one I had dreamt of so many times. I had watched countless adoption videos dreaming of what our day would look like. We walked into the home and were greeted with smiling faces. It was quiet. The women there said, "Oh! Maren and Savanah!" I smiled. Nervous. They explained that they had been going through our photo book with her and were excited to see we brought the girls. We were taken to a small room. We sat on a couch. And our case worker said she would be back.
I don't have much memory of that wait. I was nervous. I knew how much joy and anticipation laid in my heart...but I also knew that she probably didn't have the same in hers. I knew that her heart was about to be confused. I knew that she was about to feel grief. And with the beautiful gain of a family for her also means deep grief. And there was no life experience on my end that could ever begin to understand that tension.
She came. Our caseworker carried her over to me. She looked at me. She saw the girls and said "Savanah". Then she came to me. I hugged her. She was quiet. But slowly, in that small room, she started to play with us. We read books. We played with the toys there. She loved hanging with her sisters. She sat with her Daddy and read a book. I got to meet one of the Momma's and ask questions like, "what makes her feel loved? What does do when she is sad or upset? What are her favorite things?" But my head was spinning too. I didn't want to miss anything that was around me.
We walked through the beautiful children's home to see her bed. We passed through one crib-lined room of sleeping babies into a second crib-lined room of more babies. And there was her crib. Her bed no more.
We played outside and talked with more people who loved our girl so much! We received many amazing gifts and cards. One volunteer who loved our girl so very much made a beautiful scrapbook for her. Full of photos of her time there. It is more than a treasure for Thabi. I am so thankful to have it and we look at it almost everyday.
And then it was time to say goodbye and with that...she came. I carried her out of the only home she had ever known. She was so brave. She was smiling. She put her arms around me and her sisters. And just like that...we became the Campbell 5!