As we crossed the street to head back to our hotel to eat breakfast, the reality truly hit. We were hours from holding her. Our daughter. I had envisioned this day for a long time. I knew how I wanted it to go, but also knew how it could go. We ate in silence. What do you say, when you are filled with all sorts of emotions, that you can barely comprehend it all yourself? And so we ate, then headed to our room to grab the diaper bag and the gifts for the staff and made our way to the lobby to meet our guide. When we got to the lobby, we met up with the other couple who was there to meet their son. Their faces felt like mirrors to me; like I was looking at myself. We were all feeling the same things . . . . even if we couldn't verbalize it. We waited for, what felt like an hour, for our guide. She entered the front door of the hotel, smiled warmly at us and ushered us out to the van to take us to the orphanage.
We were told that we were about 15 minutes away from the orphanage, so I remember being glued to the window at about 10 minutes into the drive. Maybe, just maybe, after the next turn, I would see the orphanage. When we finally pulled through the gate of the orphanage, my stomach was in knots. We were only many minutes away from our daughter now.
We were taken to a room upstairs and as we were ushered there, I tried to peer through the many doorways we passed . . . . was she in there? Was my daughter in THAT room? I remember sitting in that nice room, signing paper after paper. It was all in Mandarin and I had no idea what I was signing. I just remember I wanted to sign it all as fast as I could so we could get to HER!
The paperwork done, our guide left the room. I am not really sure where I thought she went, I really was only thinking, "Why won't someone tell us when we will get our daughter!"
And then footsteps in the hall . . . and our guide was back. Holding the sweetest little girl. Our little Felicity!
And the tears that I thought would fill my eyes, never came. I held her and laughed!
I am in a bible study and we just studied Sarah and how she laughed when she heard a stranger tell Abraham that she would have a son. I have thought a lot about her laughter and mine too. There is a part of me that thinks some of Sarah's laughter was a burst of joy. The impossible being breathed. When she was faced with the possibility of a long held dream happening, maybe it was just a gut reaction. A laugh of awe at the goodness of God.
That is what I felt in the moment. I held Felicity and I laughed that this moment, that I so desperately wanted for YEARS, was here. God had made it all happen.
I didn't cry as I expected. And neither did she. She fell asleep within 10 minutes of being in my arms. She snuggled into me, hid her head and slept.
Looking back now, I recognize that this was partly because it may have been her nap time, but mostly because it was her way of dealing with the overwhelming and little-to-be-understood circumstances she was going through. A stranger (our guide) picked her up from her only home, and walked her away from it all to more strangers and handed her over. Felicity spent most of that day distant, quiet and sleeping.
It would take days before we would get glimmers of her silliness and sassiness that we now love and adore so much.
We walked out of the orphanage that day with arms and hearts full . . .
Three days later we walked back through the doors of the orphanage. Felicity would say good bye to all that she knew and we would get to see the place that she called home for 19 months of her life.
On that day, we were taken into the play room. I took my shoes off and walked up to only one child. A little boy in blue. I talked to him and he smiled at me. And now his story is ours too . . .
What is remarkable, is that he smiled at me. This little boy, Thomas, who I later came to learn, did not like strangers too much and usually shied away from them all, hiding in the protection of his nannies. But, he smiled at me that day; a stranger that was to become his mom. Only God.
And now, two years later, I write this post and the emotions come flooding back as if it were just days ago. The awe and wonder have not gone away; thanking God today on this Gotcha Day Anniversary! Happy family day my sweet daughter Felicity! And happy "first day I met you" Thomas! Love you both and praising the One who brought you to us!