Two years ago this month, Nicole and Derek were matched with their daughter, Chayanun, whom they adopted from Thailand last year. Below they share about the joy Chaya has brought to their family and the country that welcomed them when they traveled to meet her. Finally, they recall the words that have made all the difference for them — whether they were waiting for her or celebrating bringing her home.
Here is the letter they shared, written just before the spring.
March 7, 2017 – Almost a year ago today we met our daughter for the first time. This was a day we had dreamt about since we began this journey years ago and finally we were there, waiting the last few moments out of thousands to finally be with our little girl. That first meeting was better than anything we could have imagined, she was really there in front of us and she was perfect. We were parents.
Our journey to adoption began after unsuccessful fertility treatments and some serious soul searching. We took some time to heal and process our loss and slowly began talking, first to one another about adopting, and then to adoption professionals in our area. We attended informational meetings on both international and domestic adoption and decided international adoption was the path we wanted to take. We decided to work with WACAP because an agency near us recommended them. This is the best choice we could have made. Throughout our entire process they were there for us, answering our questions and guiding us every step of the way. We decided to apply to the Thailand program, and since we had diagnosed infertility and met the age requirements we could apply to adopt a healthy child under 3 years old. Our dossier was approved in May of 2013 and we were matched with our amazing daughter Chayanun in May of 2015!
In March of 2016 we were invited to travel to Thailand to meet our little girl. All of our patience had finally paid off! We were both filled with so much excitement and anxiety! Lindsey Gilbert, our case manager at WACAP, helped us prepare for our trip and definitely calmed some of our fears. WACAP also did an incredible job preparing us for our first meeting with Chaya, and the staff at the Thai Red Cross Children Home were very understanding and supportive during our stay in Thailand. We were able to meet many of the caregivers and nurses who had done such an incredible job caring for our daughter. We were so impressed with both the facility and the staff. You could tell that the all the children were loved very much and were given excellent care.
We spent most of our 16 days in Bangkok in our hotel room getting to know and forming a bond with our daughter, but ventured out to tour a few beautiful Buddhist temples, Lumphini Park, the aquarium and numerous ice cream parlors. Chaya bonded with Mommy first, and spent most of the stay in Bangkok clinging to her. Daddy had to build on meal time feedings, as that was his avenue towards bonding, and spent his time carrying the diaper bag, running errands and venturing out to the streets for some amazing Thai food. The Thai people were so warm and welcoming to us and our entire experience there was beyond anything we could have dreamed of.
We loved our time in Thailand but were excited to come home so all our friends and family could meet Chaya. We took things slow, staying close to home for the first few weeks, although we did attend our best friend’s son’s birthday party and visited with family on several occasions. We are amazed every day at how Chaya has not only progressed but has flourished. Despite Chaya being delayed in her speech in Thai and she was not exposed to much English, we were surprised how far she came after the first six months. When we took custody of her last year she was quiet and very reserved; now she loves meeting new friends everywhere she goes and enjoys talking and singing all day long! Shortly after coming home, she warmed up to Daddy and was soon squealing through the hallway to give out bear hugs at the end of the workday. She has brought so much joy into our lives; we are so proud to be her parents!
One of the biggest lessons we learned from this process was patience, and it is something that we have tried to carry over into our new lives as parents. At one of the early informational meetings we attended, when the road in front of us was the longest, one of the speakers told the room that, “the one thing you’ll need most of all is patience.” We didn’t think much of it at the time but it is something that we have gone back to again and again. Sometimes when the waiting seemed too much to bear, we would think about that one word, patience. Really taking that virtue to heart and living it every single day has paid off and given us the greatest gift anyone could ever ask for.
Nicole & Derek