Here we are. The night before. The blog post when we can finally say “tomorrow”. The eve of our long-awaited union with the sweetest little soul that I’ve personally laid eyes on (our little lotus), other than her soon-to-be Mom (my Sarah).
Truth be told, it’s 12:11am as I type, so it’s technically TODAY that we travel just a few miles outside this hotel window, to finally lay eyes on our gal, take her in our arms, sign a couple of documents, and make official what we’ve been only imagining for 15 months.
While Sarah lays sleeping, trying to recover from a nasty bout of stomach illness, something beautiful sits next to her. A crib. A simple, wooden, Winnie the Pooh crib. In the distance: the big city lights of our lotus’ birthplace, Nanjing. I keep staring at this juxtaposition and having a hard time believing it’s real, for so many reasons.
We arrived in Nanjing today around 3pm via delayed flight from Yangshuo --> Guilin. We were of course sad to leave our new friends at the mountain retreat, and our super-friendly guide Bing (both pictured below, who we feel genuinely played their own part in this amazing adoption journey). But we had important business to take care of. On Thursday, when we landed in China, we felt physically “connected” to the lotus, finally sharing soil and all. But landing in Nanjing today is a feeling I don’t think I can properly describe in words here. All I know is that the old Chinese man sitting next to us on the plane was sympathetically confused as to why we were holding each other sobbing with relief and pure joy wrapped into one. As we looked at her picture on my phone while the plane taxied, with tears streaming down our faces, the old man tried to ask (without any English) if we were OK. With a huge smile on her face diverting the tears, Sarah beautifully said, “Yes! Our daughter lives here.”
After drying our eyes, our adoption agency’s guides picked us up at the baggage claim (which is already flanked with advertisements for the 2014 Youth Summer Olympics being held here in August), and two of the other adopting families were already with them. In total, six families are adopting children this week in Nanjing (two other children come from our daughter’s orphanage, with three families adopting here because it’s the capital of the province, and their children have lived in orphanages elsewhere nearby). Once we left the airport, boy did we instantly notice the difference in spending three nights in a town of 20,000 vs. immediately jumping into China’s 12th largest city, home to 8 million. It’s a massive place – having grown from being the national capital to six dynasties and the Republic of China as late as the 1940s – but it’s surprisingly very modern, green, and artistic. A quick pic out of our hotel window is below, and more will sure to come.
When we got to our hotel, we received the expected “red book” from our adoption agency which provides instructions for our various appointments, but most importantly: often an update on the child. We were blessed to receive two more recent photos of our Jujube, and her theme of super-playful facial expressions continues. The update said she’s a bit timid, and a “quiet little girl”, so all we can do for the next remaining hours is pray for her to sense our peace tomorrow, and know that it will all be OK.
Our big day starts first thing Monday morning with a 10am group meeting, where our agency briefs all six families on the order of business ahead. I believe we’ll have a chance to then eat lunch and get our room ready for the ensuing toddler storm. Then at 2:30pm, we arrive at the Civil Affairs office for a moment we’ll remember forever (that’s 1:30am early Monday morning, U.S. Central time). It’s a moment we’ve played out in our heads 1,000 times, although we don’t quite know how it will go down. Will they bring her in to us? Will we walk into a room and see her there? Will she be walking? Will she be bigger or smaller than we pictured? What will she be wearing? And most importantly, how will she react to these strange, but oh-so-loving creatures taking her away? As the questions mount in this paragraph, my stomach turns up a notch at each thought.
We’ll try to post a picture just as soon as possible, but I think everyone will understand if we’re a bit too smitten and busy to fully blog. We do look forward to sharing her with you, both online and in person, because it blesses our hearts to think this one child has brought together so much love in our lives.
It feels odd to end this blog post, knowing the next one will be with a rug rat pulling at my toes. Or, one handed typing as she falls asleep on my arm (but we of course wouldn’t ever pull away). Or maybe her pounding on the keyboard herself, likely the first time seeing a computer. Wow. My mind and body goes numb with chills just looking at this hotel room and picturing the scene in a few short hours. And knowing that she's just two miles away outside this window, how are we supposed to sleep tonight?
Here goes, Team Little Lotus, here goes! We love you, we love her, and it’s time. Finally time.