My whole life changed in that moment. It was that moment suspended in time when they placed my daughter in my arms for the first time. There is nothing that could have prepared me for the overwhelming feelings that consumed me. My life had been preparing for this for so many years….
I have a distant memory of always knowing that I would adopt. I even remember announcing this to my family as a very young girl. I think it must have been a whisper deep inside my heart to prepare me for what would come so much later.
I remember the exact moment when my husband, Wes, and I decided to begin the adoption process. We were driving through the mountains on a beautiful spring day when we made the decision. Thinking back to that day, I still get the same chills of excitement.
Instantly, my heart whispered, China. We gathered information and sorted through all of the packets. We went to information meetings by different agencies. We were misinformed that adoptions from China would be placed on a hold due to SARS. I was so upset because deep down, I knew that my daughter was in China. I was elated a few weeks later when we learned that adoptions from China would continue.
The next months flew by while we chased papers and waited. I actually shopped and waited and shopped some more. We were the lucky ones. We waited just over six months for our referral. We knew the day that the call would be coming and we both stayed home to be together. I will never forget when we heard, “You have a daughter, Xiu Wen is at the Xiu Shan Tugia and Miao Social Welfare Institute in Chongquing, China.” Later that night, we saw the first picture of our daughter and she was so beautiful. I could not put down those first pictures until I had memorized every detail of her exquisite, tiny face. She looked so serious and now the waiting was even harder.
There was a flurry of excitement as we packed and prepared for this journey of a lifetime. It was wonderful to receive travel approval and to know on the exact date that we would meet her. The travel to China is a hazy memory now. We were on the plane that would take us to our daughter’s birth country and I just wanted to soak up every bit of this journey.
We were exhausted when we finally arrived in Beijing. We were also overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of this foreign land. I had read about and dreamed about China but nothing could have prepared me for the experience of China. The people were so friendly, open and curious. The next few days were packed with touring. I recall trying to pay attention to the historical details shared by our guide so one day I could share this information with our daughter. It was so hard to pay attention because in my mind I was counting the days, hours and minutes until I could hold her.
We slept only a little the night before we met our daughter as the anticipation was building. That day is like a blur beginning with the flight to Chongquing and checking into our hotel. We rushed to gather our things and then there was the relatively short bus ride to the Civil Affairs office that seemed to take so very long. We were in the last group to go up the elevator to the office where we would meet our daughter. It was the slowest elevator on the planet or so it seemed. Then, the doors opened and there SHE is in the arms of her Nanny.
Our daughter is not even 10 feet from us and you want to run and grab her but you WAIT and follow protocol. You wait the minutes that seem like hours for them to call your name. Finally after all those years, months and hours, our daughter is handed to us. In that moment, time stood still as we held Lily for the first time. Words can’t even begin to describe that moment. I felt indescribable relief to be holding her along with joy, peace and Love.
It all seems so hazy now, my life before Lily. We are so blessed to have this precious child in our lives. We watch her play and grow and laugh and we are in awe.