We'd left Seattle and flown to California (my mother and I) and waiting at LAX we met up with 7 other families who made up our group. Three of us were single women, 4 couples. We flew together to China where our group leader, Lin, met us all at the airport.
We got on another plane and flew out to Fuzhou. The babies were coming from 3 different orphanages all in the same province. When we got to the hotel, Lynn told us to go to our rooms, get unpacked and then adoptive parents only to meet in her room.
Mom and I unpacked and set up all the baby stuff then I went to Lin's room. I was a little peeved to see that the adoptive parent's only warning was respected only by me. It was a full ass room.
Lin started telling us what to expect when the babies come. She was warning us that there might be some diarrhea or constipation as the babies got used to new food. She told us about bonding issues and sleeping issues and skin problems. She gave is a lot of information and then we heard a baby cry.
There's nothing like 8 sets of adoptive families hearing a baby cry.
Jillian's baby girl was the first to arrive. She was the only baby coming from whichever orphanage she came from and we all were buzzed and crazy with adrenaline. I ran to my hotel room and told my Mom to come. We slipped back into Lin's room together and it was a controlled chaos.
Jill was sitting on a chair, holding her little girl and her mother was taking a million pictures. Only a few moments after we got back into Lin's room, a group of people arrived. There was a middle aged man holding a baby, a young man following him and three women who each had a baby also.
I knew her the minute she entered the room.
I was on my feet and at the man's side in a second, my arms out. He barely had a chance to ask for me before I was taking my little girl from his arms. My mom got a picture of the two of us, that second of meeting. (I'm going to try to get it up on this post.)
There was no big deal, nothing momentous shook the earth. I took her back to the room and changed her, checking out the perfection of all of her. We went back and took passport photos for her. Then we started living our lives together.
She's 11 now and Mom is gone. Our family is spread out and we're mostly us. Mollie and Lori: the Green Team. Sometimes I look at her and I wonder who the heck is this person I live with? How is she so much her and so little me? Then sometimes I look at her in shock because I hear my voice coming from her mouth, my sense of humor and weird objectivity in the things she says.
I know she's going to have a hard time sometimes because she's killer funny and very much herself. She has no girly in her girl and she loves hard. She still has issues from being in an orphanage the first nine months of her life: she hates to sleep alone, she needs a lot of physical reassurance and connection is important to her.
My life has changed. I knew when I always made sure she had the last bowl of ice cream, the last candy bar in the bag, the best pillow on the bed. She's the most important person in my life and my heart would probably cease beating if she wasn't in my life.
That's who my love is.