Wednesday, October 1, 2008

About our Spicy Girl

On January 7th 2008, an 11 month old baby girl was placed in my arms in the Civil Affairs Office of Changsha, Hunan. She cried and motioned to her caretakers who also tried to console her. At one point the crying stopped as we all shared pictures, signed paperwork and gave out gifts for the orphanage. The little girl dressed in yellow, clung to the orphanage director as tears started to well up in my eyes. This child, my daughter had no idea that we were going to be her parents. Our faces, voices, language were unfamiliar to her and she insisted on going back to the only people she knew. The caretakers kept reassuring her while placing her back in my arms, but little You An Meng would have nothing to do with me, nor her new Daddy. I tried to soothe her with a calming voice and by holding her tightly, but she resisted and kept crying.

We knew and expected that she would cry, but I never thought how emotional that meeting would be. While my heart was beating wildly for the daughter I waited for my entire life, I was also sad that we would soon be taking her away from everything she ever knew, including the land of her birth. Yes, it would be all good, because You An Meng had a repaired cleft lip and needed palate surgery so that she could eat, talk and swallow properly. She was obviously small and malnourished so getting that repair done was somewhat of a priority.

Finally we had to leave with the baby, but would be returning the next day to finalize the adoption. Though her cries were somewhat muffled due to a cold and her open palate, I held her tightly, hoping she would settle down. The bus ride back to the hotel seemed to calm her a bit as she looked out the windows for the first time seeing cars, a bustling town that she had never seen compared to the quiet location of the You Xian Welfare Institute. She was very curious and took everything in. It was cute to watch her little face peering out of the window.

Yes it was love at first sight. Love for a child whom we only had pictures of and now held like a fragile piece of crystal in our arms.

A day much anticipated had finally arrived and it seemed to erase all the months of waiting and worrying. This little girl, our daughter, peered up at us curiously and seemed so content once we arrived back at the hotel. We took off 5 layers of clothes, bathed her gently and put her in a loose fitting little outfit. It was then that I realized how small and frail she appeared. But her laugh was strong and her personality so engaging. She looked at her bare feet as if she hadn't seen them before and started laughing. My husband put her on his shoulders and she nestled her face in his hair as if to say, this feels good and then cackled some more. We had bonded as a family, after only one day! We felt fortunate and overwhelmed with joy. While there was so much to do on this journey, which included more paperwork and getting her visa prepared, we just looked forward to watching our daughter explore her new world. Afterall, everything was new to her, us, the other adoptive families, new foods to taste, new sounds, toys, clothes, routines. Everything she would experience from now on would be a new and hopefully good experience. Her bright eyes wondered to all the interesting sights and sounds that we took her too and all we know is that it was all beginning to feel so natural. Yes there was an awkward diaper moment, where I admit I put it on backwards and yes, I didn't know how to mix the rice and formula preparation at first, but hey, that was the small stuff. Making sure I held her comfortably and kept her safe was my priority and after looking back on those very first few days, we know that creating a wonderful, safe and nurturing environment will be our priority then and always.

So in closing, it's been 10 months since K.B has been with us and everyday is pure bliss.

We love her completely and are so grateful to our agency Holt International for helping us to find one another!


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