Friday, September 11, 2009

One Year Ago Today

It was just 12 short months ago today ~ can you believe it ~ that Kelly, Madeline, and I were in a room with 15 other families anxiously waiting to get the first glimpses of our daughters. All of us had waited about 3 to 3 1/2 years for this day to come. At 2:30p we got the call to meet in the conference room at 3:30p. Kelly, Madeline, and I tried to wait the full hour before we left our room but were out the door within 5 minutes. It seemed the other families had the same idea we had. Everyone was smiling and laughing in an attempt to cover up how anxious we all really were. We all kept looking out the door and down the hall hoping to see the girls coming as we waited. 3:30 came and went and no girls. The groups laughs got louder and smiles were on every face while cameras and video cameras were checked and rechecked to make sure batteries were good and video tape was cued up. You could hear comments of anticipation and "where are they???"and "Oh, I wish they would get here." It was close to 4pm when we heard the commotion and the first crys and whimpers of our girls as they were coming down the hall. It was as if all at once everyone lost their voices, the room became almost dead quiet when the first caregiver entered the room with one of our daughters, I think we all stopped breathing for a moment. We all looked to see where are daughter was. When the parade of babies was over there were 14 caregivers holding 14 precious baby girls. {two families girls were coming from another SWI that was farther away and they had to wait about 2 hours longer. However, they joined us and celebrated with us at our Gotcha Moment.} We all just stood and stared in silence...Then you heard someone say, "There she is, I see her!" It was as if we were all 5 years old again and it was Christmas, we were standing in front of the Christmas tree with all the presents sitting there less that 5 feet away from us and we just stood there! Stood there with our mouths agape, waiting for permission, for Mom and Dad to get up and say it was OK for us to open presents. Then the permission came. One at a time, each family were called up to meet for the first time, face to face with their daughter. Tears were falling from both the girls and the families as they were gently placed into our arms. Sighs of relief were let out, hugs and kisses given, laughter and tears shed and families were made instantly. We were the last family united that afternoon. Rebekah was very quiet when they placed her in my arms, even her crying seemed silent, just big tears running down her cheeks. Other than tears, she seemed to have no emotion, she just sat there in our arms looking around taking it all in.
Camera's were snapping off pictures and video was being taken. The room was filled with joyous laughter and fearful crying. The toys all came out of diaper bags and grown adults suddenly had goofy looks on their faces as we tried to get our daughters to smile. The caregivers were all over in a corner now just watching the new families. There were smiles on their faces but also in their eyes you could see sadness. Slowly, the caregivers began to mingle in with the new families, broken English and Chinese were being spoken and it seemed the word of the day was 谢谢 "xiè xie" {thank you}. Slowly, the new families slipped away back to their rooms and the once buzzing conference room was silent and still. What a wonderful day that was. We did wait for almost 3 1/2 years for our daughter but in the end the wait seemed like nothing compared to the feeling we were feeling at that moment. Precious memories that will be cherished were made that day. Whenever we sit and think on this day tears will always come to my eyes as I remember the feeling that moment, that instant, Rebekah Xiu Hua Wei was placed into my arms ~ PERFECT FIT!

The Moment Families Were Created

Not only was our family united on that wonderful September afternoon there were 15 other families with us and 7 other families in another province in our travel group that were united. It was a blessing to share that moment with these families. Seeing the moment their precious daughters were placed into their arms and a family created was amazing. Seeing their smiles, their tears, hearing their laughter, their OOO's and AHHHH's, and experiencing their JOY will forever be etched in my mind and heart. Rebekah Wei did not just join our family but we also joined a much larger family that we like to call the 23rder's. We have kept in touch with many of these families over the past year and have enjoyed watching their daughters grow and hearing stories. We have been truly blessed and even though not all our moments over the past year were pleasent we have enjoyed each and every one of them, yes even the ones that push us to our limits. I want to wish all the 23rder's a very happy Gotcha Day! Hug and kiss your precious girls for us, we love and miss you all.