In July 2010, Larry and I mailed our dossier to our agency and then went to Pittsburgh with my brother Jim and sister-in-law Steph where we joined up with my Dad to bicycle ride from Pittsburgh to Washington DC, an adventure item on my Dad's bucket list that we were loathe to let him do alone. The 2 days on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail was pretty great biking (as far as biking goes), but after 2 days on the C&O Towpath we were all feeling tired and ready to be done. Then on July 21st, in a hotel room in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, as the 5 of us filled ourselves with take-out pizza and free iced coffee, we got a phone call from our agency. The woman on the line asked why we had not responded to the child's file we were sent weeks ago since it was about to be sent back. I told her that we never received such a file. (We had received a very flippant voice mail about 10 days earlier saying "This is so-and-so from CCAI. Call me back when you get a chance" but all returned calls went straight to her vacation voice mail.)
A few minutes later we were all staring at the tiny pictures on Larry's ipod of our daughter. I didn't sleep that night. I don't know if it was all the coffee or my new daughter!
This past week, we took a 3-day vacation to our old haunting grounds in Charleston, SC. It was, as Larry described, "bittersweet" to be back where our home was for over 26 combined years. We stayed with friends who lived a few streets over from our old home. We ran our old running route through the neighborhood. We took Abigail to her old playground and park. We met up with many old and dear friends.
We had a few "surprises" for Abigail, who kept declaring "I love vacation!"
One day, we arranged for her to have a lead-rope guided horse ride at Middleton Plantation. Her horse, old and decrepit and wrinkly around the muzzle was presented to her and she gasped "Oh! He is SO beautiful." His name was JP and Larry was given the lead rope to guide her around for her 35 minute ride. He was more interested in munching grass than following Larry, but sweet Abigail, with her last 2 minutes of time said 'Go back to the grass Baba to give JP a thank you for me riding him.'
On another day, in-between the frequent bursts of rain that kept happening and were just long enough to get things wet and disrupt outdoor activities, we surprised Abigail with a trip to "Shell Beach" on James Island (really Peter Demetre Beach or something like that). She had a fun time digging holes.
When asked about her favorite part of the vacation, Abigail said "Staying in this (the Watkins') house." I guess she has really missed these friends.