Hey there, Delilah,
I had offered Clawdeen a bed at my place for the night, and was thrilled when she accepted. We headed to my sporty electric orange XR5.
I told her I would take her to see some Australian animals at the nearby Featherdale Wildlife Park. Unfortunately, it was fairly close to closing time when we got there, but the car park was still pretty full of tourist buses, which Clawdeen was interested to see. There were a lot of Japanese tourists in particular, all carrying their cameras, so we felt right at home.
As we approached the entry, one of the animal keepers had a baby wombat in his arms. He was more than happy to allow Clawdeen to have a seat in his arms so she could meet the wombat.
We entered the reception/ticket area where Clawdeen spied a giant frog and asked if she could have a photo on it to show you when she finally gets home to you, Delilah.
There was also a lit up sign, and she wanted to sit on that to be sure you could see she had actually been here to this Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia.
Inside the park she saw a kangaroo with a joey drinking milk from its Mum, just like Jackson does!
She also saw a sleeping koala. She watched a young boy, a little older than Jackson, gently touch a large lizard and an owl. There were echidnas which made Clawdeen giggle…
…and a family of fairy penguins…
… and even a kookaburra…
…and an emu! Wow so much to see! But as it was nearly closing time, we had to hurry through, quickly snapping photos to show you.
On the way out we had a quick look in the souvenir shop. Clawdeen noticed there were a lot of different things decorated with the Australian flag, and remembered someone had told her it was nearly Australia Day. She asked if she could have a photo near the caps because they reminded her of the one she had worn at Nurragingy for the interview.
We headed to my home and Clawdeen asked if she could help get the mail from the letterbox at the front of my house. Maybe she remembers that you do that, Delilah?
We were both so tired! We made a cup of tea for me and Clawdeen decided all she wanted was a cup of water. We needed to just sit and catch our breath. Clawdeen was pretty clever. She looked around the kitchen and told me it reminded her of Trudi and her dog Boo, who had found her in Mandurah, Western Australia. She said the kitchens were similar colours and that made her feel happy and comfortable.
After we rested a while, I showed her the toy corner. She asked why I had toys that reminded her of Jackson’s baby toys. I explained that even though my grandchildren were older and didn’t need these toys, sometimes foster children came to stay who for some reason could not stay with their mums & dads. That made her a little sad thinking of how she had been away from you, Delilah, for so long already.
I asked her if she would like to see something that came in my letterbox from another PAD friend from a long way away and she was very keen. It was a Christmas card from Faina. She loved reading the message and said she would be sure to tell you, Delilah, that she had seen a card from Faina.
While we waited for my nine grandchildren to arrive for pizza dinner, we went out to the back yard to have a photo with my Mozart cow. Clawdeen thought that was pretty funny to have a cow in the house and for it to be red. She laughed, but happily posed.
Abi, aged 10, was the first to meet Clawdeen and they played happily together. She knew all about Monster High and was really happy to meet your Clawdeen.
She even checked her cousins’ toys and found a truck she knew Clawdeen and you would love because it was purple. Clawdeen had a photo sitting on the truck. She played with it and with Abi’s cousin, Jesse. Jesse is 9 and has autism, but can’t even talk. Dinner came and went and was a very busy time with 17 of us there. It was pretty noisy, but Clawdeen loved meeting all my family.
Before we knew it, bedtime had arrived, and guess what the Photo A Day prompt was that day? It was “Bedtime,” so upstairs we went and cleaned teeth.
We said goodnight and I made up her bed with purple sheets that had hearts and stars on them. Clawdeen loved the sheets. We brushed her hair and tucked her into bed. I explained that in the morning I would be driving her to her next adventure. I assured her that her trip home was planned out and that in the meantime she would have some really fun times planned to keep her busy and not missing you too much.
With love to you, Delilah, and to your Mum, Dad, Jackson & Baxter, from Elena XOXO
By Elena Lindfield Seager