Her head was freshly shaved, she smelled like Shea butter and she was much taller than when I last saw her 7 months earlier. They definitely made a better effort to clean her than the first time I met her. Her body was weak with some spasticity in her feet and elbows. She would sit up on my lap briefly and then wanted to lay down. She studied my face as to determine who I was and why she was allowed outside for a visit.
My request for custody was a heated meeting. I was firm but polite, I had a reasonable answer to every question but ultimately I was told she was better off at the orphanage until I could take her home. My heart sank as I thought about visiting her daily and having to leave her at the orphanage. Children do not belong in cribs, they belong in their mothers arms.
I then checked in with our adoption team to see the progress made on her paperwork. Everything seemed to be moving a lot faster now that I was here so there was positive news about that. I was clear that I would not pay any bribes and it was understood by everyone helping us. While I wanted Afua home quickly, it would have to be done with clean hands.