3 months after seeing her face, after reading reports, attending meetings, researching, hoping and waiting; meeting Star was drawing near at last.
Star was 4 and has Down syndrome. We knew she could say a few words. We knew she loved Peppa Pig and her foster carer’s pet rabbit.
How would we introduce ourselves to her? How could we show her how much we loved her already? What on earth did she think was going on?
I remember being sat at my kitchen table praying for her on the day I knew she was having final (goodbye) contact with her birth parents. I remember feeling heartbroken for them all.
I had been on Amazon researching the “Guess how Much I love you” books and related toys and room decor. I stopped my research and messaged a friend asking her to pray about Star’s final contact, I did not mention my research. She messaged back saying while she was praying she had a picture of a connection existing between us and Star already, this is bizarre she said:
“I think it is rabbit shaped.”
And that confirmed the plan.
I ordered a “Guess how much I love you” Rabbit (I know they’re actually hares, but try explaining that!) cuddly toy and wall stickers.
We made a simple photo book and a DVD featuring big pictures of each of us and the Rabbit. The book introduced us and the rooms of our house, our garden and Star’s room. Rabbit was sat in her chair at our kitchen table, in the playhouse with Hannah, jumping on the trampoline with Ben, and was tucked in Star’s bed.
Hannah and Ben took it in turns to carry Rabbit around with them and it slept in our bed for several nights.
On the front cover of her book was a picture of Star surrounded by pictures of rabbits and Peppa pig. And the book was called “Star and Rabbit’s Forever family.”
I remember trying to get Hannah and Ben to pose in the hall with Rabbit, one of the photos I took they looked so angelic – “no” I thought, “I won’t include that one, Star needs to see the one with mischief in their eyes!!”
A lovely young man from our church youth group came to our house and we made a DVD so that Star could see what it is like to walk into our house through the front door and into the rooms.
We washed the sheets and towels in the same wash powder that her foster carer used and made sure we had the same bubble bath and talc, etc.
I will never forget the first day we met her. She was stood in her foster carers house in a dark pinafore dress. She immediately called me “Mummy”; we talked and played with her, then, it was time to leave. She hung her head with sadness when we said goodbye, and we gave her her book and cuddly Rabbit and asked her to take care of them until we came back for them both.
Then we had to go and await the final decision makers confirmation that we could adopt Star.
And when we came back a week later, we would never have to leave her behind again.