Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, we met La Nina in the Hefei Holiday Inn, in Hefei, Anhui Province, People's Republic of China. On one hand, it feels as if she has been with us always, and on the other, it seems just yesterday, her Dad and I were standing nervously in the center of the room waiting for our little girl to be placed into our arms.

Our agency handles family introductions with as much dignity as possible. Each family has their turn to stand in the center of the room and an agency representative formally introduces the parents to the baby, usually carried into the room by a representative from the orphanage. Each family is given adequate time to capture photos of the moment, then the family moves aside for the next family to be born.

It is hard to describe the emotions you feel when you know you are about to meet someone you are going to love for the rest of your life. It is exciting, exhilarating and terrifying all at once. Since La Nina is our first child, I think I was mostly terrified; a result of jet lag, over education and no real experience parenting.

I remember very little of the actual meeting. I remember seeing her in the door way, I remember recognizing her from the baby in the pictures we had received a couple of weeks earlier and I remember feeling her weight in my arms. That is about all of my actual memories. The rest of what I know of the event comes from a video shot by another parent about to meet his daughter. We will forever be grateful to him for the great footage he shot of that moment.

After holding La Nina for a few minutes, I remember La Nina looking at us very quizzically. She wasn't crying or scared, just a little confused about why she'd been woken up and handed over to these people who looked, sounded and smelled very odd. Later when we undressed her, we discoverd she was quite sick. She was running a fever and her chest was rattling with every breath. It turned out she had bronchitis. Just a little more terror for this first time Mom. But you know, if you can survive your first night of parenthood in a hotel room in China with a very sick baby, then you are prepared for just about anything else.

We were not alone in the conference room the night we received our daughter. Our family was born in the presence of 6 other families. They bore witness for us, and we bore witness for them. We took each others pictures, listened to each others stories and offered each other support through those first days of parenting. Those people are now extended family. We enjoy reunions and watching those babies grow into robust pre-schoolers. I can't tell you how much joy it brings us to get their Holiday Greetings and email updates.

Reflecting back over the last two years, I am so grateful my life journey led me down the adoption path. I am so grateful to La Nina's birth parents, who started her life journey to us. I hope their birth daughter is living the life they dreamed for her when they had to let her go. I am so grateful to the People's Republic of China for providing La Nina with care during her wait and guiding her to us, and I am so grateful to God for placing La Nina in our arms on December 16, 2002.


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