Jimmy and I are quite familiar with the wide array of emotions involved with the adoption process and the days leading up to that "Gotcha Day." But even on this fifth adoption, the same explosion of feelings prevailed--nervousness blended with pure joy, mixed together with fear and a burst of excitement. But when I woke up that morning, I definitely felt differently. I was a more peaceful person on the inside and more calm on the outside than I had been in weeks. It could only have been the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God to calm me so. We ate our breakfast that morning with Jeff and Julia, and then we headed back to our room to gather our things. It was time.
We met Maggie, our guide, in the lobby and loaded into the van to drive over to the Civil Affairs office. We took in the sights around us, and Jimmy and I joined hands as we reflected on the fact that we were about to meet the little girl who'd been in our hearts since last summer. Our little girl.
When we pulled up to Civil Affairs, we barely had time to think, because Maggie said, "There's your girl!" And there she was. Lulu was standing on the stairs of the Civil Affairs Office with the Orphanage Director. Jimmy and I barreled out of the van and ran to her. We know better than to overcrowd...we sat next to her and gently introduced ourselves as Mama and Baba. Her innocent facial expressions bounced between uncertainty and fear, but only temporarily. We sat on those stairs for about five minutes and reassured her that we love her and that it will be okay. With that, she accepted us and took our hands to head upstairs to the Civil Affairs Office.
It didn't take very long for Miss Lulu to begin smiling and coming ever-so-slightly out of her shell. We'd brought a Twinkle Toes backpack full of peace offerings and took time to show her each item inside as we waited for paperwork to begin the "harmonious period" of 24 hours. Jimmy and I both knew that it was simply a formality. She was already our daughter.
When we were done, we walked to a nearby photo shop to take a family picture for her Chinese passport and her adoption paperwork. This beautiful child who'd seemed only a dream for so long was finally in our arms. We could feel her skin and hear her voice.
Lulu was obviously very loved and well-prepared for a family, and for that we are eternally grateful. With the clothes she was wearing and a small backpack of keepsakes, she bravely took our hands and walked away from everything she'd ever known with complete trust. And with child-like faith, she never looked back.