Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our changing life

Two of my favorite pictures from Family Day..

Six months ago today our lives were changed in the most wonderful way...We can hardly believe that it has been 6 months since we became a family of three. Six months ago today we were standing in a hot room in China, it seemed like it was 400 degrees in that room that day. We were there with ten other families and Zhou. Uncle Zhou is the most wonderful caring man, those words are not nearly enough to describe just how much he means to us. In that room that morning we could all feel the nervous excitement. We all paced the floor waiting our turn, listening for our babies cry, any babies cry. We all had cameras and video cameras in hand taking pictures of each other and of the room. Several of us clung to the "lovies" we would give our children when they were handed to us for the first time. My friend Susan from Atlanta and I broke down in an embrace that still makes me tear up when I think about it. Everything that we had waited for dreamed of and longed for was about to happen in that hot steamy room in Nanchang, China. The emotion of the moment over came both of us. When the first baby arrived the excitement was palpable and everyone clambered to see who she was, which family was going to be united first with their child. It was a family from Ohio, their daughter Abby was there in the room with us all. The joy that they felt in that moment was shared by all of us, along with anticipation for who was next. Would it be us? or maybe our friends from Atlanta, Or the great couple from NYC, or our neighbors from Jacksonville or one of the others? We would have to wait about 30 minutes to find out. That 30 minutes seemed like an eternity, more like 30 hours then 30 minutes. When it all started to happen it was a blur, but from what I am able to piece together from our pictures and video, Chubby little Lucy and Chubby little Stephine were next to come in the room quickly followed by the twin girls, Eleanore and Lily Kate, then finally Sophia was there in the room with us. The moment we saw her we both started to cry. She was thin, hot and sweaty and scared to death. The room was loud and there were lots of people coming and going, cameras flashing and people crying. Sophia had just been driven 5 hours from the Wanzai County Social Welfare Institute on a bus with 4 caregivers. She had been car sick on the way to Nanchang that morning. She was wearing a clean lavender and white long sleeve sweat suit,(remember it was HOT that day at 10 Am it was nearly 100 degrees) white socks and pink sandals. Her hair and been neatly trimmed by her foster mother. Her nose was running and she clung to the orphanage director. They called our Name RIZZO!, Riz and I approached, Riz began to cry, I clung to the Mini Mouse doll we brought for her from Disney World. They checked our passports and our paperwork and then the orphanage director motioned for me to take Sophia. As I reached my arms out for her I could feel the breath leaving my body. I could feel all of the stress and nervousness coming to the surface, the blood rushed to my feet. I could feel PURE! joy and love for the first time in my life. I took her in my arms and embraced her for what seemed like an eternity. I held her close to me, kissed her head patted her on the back and dried her tears. She was scared, terrified was more like it. She had just been handed to two strangers who were crying and kissing her. We looked different, smelled different sounded different then anything she had been used to for the first 14 months of her life. I handed her to Riz who also kissed her head and embraced her close. We talked to the Orphanage director and caregivers about her bus ride that morning, her diet, her schedule. All I could say to them was thank you over and over again. Thank you for the greatest gift, Thank you for caring for this precious child thank you for making us parents. There are no words to express what it is like to stand there with your new child facing the people who cared for her and kept her safe through the harshest of winters, biggest earthquake and one of the hottest summers on record. There are no words to express what it is like to stand there in front of these people knowing you are being given the biggest gift anyone could ever give you. There are no words to express the emotion, gratitude or guilt that you feel in that moment to those people. We did not speak the same language our conversation was brief but our connection is ever lasting. We took pictures with these people and they took pictures of us with Sophia. In that moment our lives were changed, all of us our lives changed in that moment. Ours lives because we became Sophia's parents. There lives because they were giving her up and Sophia's because everything she had know was now gone. Some say that these girls have a "Better life" here with us but the child we were handed on the hot June morning in Nanchang, China did not think so. She was happy were she was, being cared for by a loving foster mother, with the other children in the home. That child was perfectly happy in rural China. Riz and I feel that it is very arrogant for us to say that our life is better than theirs. Maybe better by our American standers but to them their life is OK. They may not have as much, they may be poor but they are happy. Riz and I have enjoyed watching Sophia become comfortable with us and her new life, her new family, but we never want to forget the people from her life before us or that moment when all our lives changed forever in that Hot steamy room in Nanchang, China...... Two of my favorites from now

and a few more for good measure :)


Stephe said...

Why do you alway make me cry! (lol) LOVE your story and you write so well! I felt like I was there with you all.

I also ADORE the photo of the three of you!!! It's the BEST EVER!!

Love you all! Steph

Cheri and Shane said...

Okay, now I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes just thinking about your Gotcha Day video that we watched when we were in the Mountains. Sophia has grown and changed so much since that big day 6 months ago!! She is such a sweet and lovable little girl. We miss her so much and can't wait to see you guys again.

LOVE the new pictures too. The one with the "kissy face" is just priceless. And what a beautiful family photo of the three of you!

Happy 6 month Anniversary! Big hugs and kisses from your friends in Ohio!

Love ya,
Cheri, Shappy & Hope

AG'smoma said...

Happy 6 month anniversary!! Time really does fly by, doesn't it? It's so great to see Sophia blossoming with you two as her parents! Can't wait til we get to meet her, too!!

Enjoy your day, I know you are going to celebrate in some way!


Melissa said...

Your words are amazing! I feel like I was there with you..well I was in spirit and then 4 months later I was physically in that same room! I remember how hard those first few days were with Sophia and how sad her pictures were and it is amazing to see how she has transformed and how she has made her mamma and babba so proud!!

Kevin and Kimberly said...

I remember very well the same emotions in that same room in Nanchang....you expressed them beautifully.

Happy six months!! Can't believe it has been that long already!

Alyson and Ford said...

She's Beautiful! Happy Forever Family Six Month Anniversary!

Alyzabeth's Mommy for Three Months!

Tom & Debbie said...

6 wonderful months!!!!!! Reading your story and emotions made me think back to the birth of my boys and the feelings...there is nothing that compares to holding a child!! We are so happy for all 3 of you and your family photo is truly PRICELESS!! May you have the best Christmas of your life this year as a Forever Family of 3!
Love, Debbie & Tom

breanna said...

OMG!!!!Time dose fly.6 loveabale months have come and gone so soon.
Love the pink and gray onsy!!!!

Sherri & Todd said...

Love the story..pictures a beautiful.
Merry Christmas!!!

Sherri, Todd and Sam

Alyson and Ford said...

I tagged you; another meme to do!

Merry Christmas,
Alyzabeth's Mommy of Three Months!
Forever Family Day 09/16/08

cousin Breanna said...

OMG!!!!Time dose fly.6 loveable months have come and gone so soon.Love the pink and gray onsy.

cousin breanna said...

I just read your story I'm starting to tear up it realy in great.
have a great christmas:)

not part of the coment.
p.s.I will email you more about christmas.Unless dad already talked to you.I may not be able to email you so I will give you my mom's email.It's krebola@cfl.rr.com