Monday, August 11, 2014

I Found Love In A Chinese Orphanage (the story of Anna, part 2)

Part One is Here

It was August 11, 2004.  It was the 'day before China'.  That past weekend we had so many visitors drop by with well wishes, last minute gifts, and hugs I can't even remember how many.  My parents were going on vacation while we were away and had stopped by a few days before leaving as well.  Things were 'all buttoned up' as Scott would say.  All we had to do was get up in the middle of the night, have his Mom drop us off at the airport, fly across the world to China, and adopt a baby girl.

Our puppy dog was going to three different families while we were away for two weeks.  First to my brothers house, then to a friends, and finally to my parents just before we'd be home.  That evening Trent came by after work to pick up Chester.  Scott and I had pizza at a local place just up the street.

We checked our bags again and again.  Counted the money over and over.  We had to have brand new, crisp 100 dollar bills.  No credit cards, no travelers checks, just cash.  It was worn in a special under the shirt wallet Scott had on him the whole time.

Passports triple checked, adoption paperwork was organized in a blue binder.  Our birth certificates, our certified paperwork accepting the adoption, piles and piles and piles all in place ready to go.

Cheerios and raisins were packed in tubes so they wouldn't crush.  'Coming home' outfits for stepping off that airplane after two weeks were paced and set aside.  Tiny socks, some diapers, blankets, books, and not enough clothes for Anna.  (new mommy had nooooo idea how many clothes a baby could go through in one day.) We had a do quite a bit of baby clothes shopping in China.  After about one minute of being a mommy I wanted to go home and grab the dozens of cozy, one piece, soft, footie outfits for her.  All of them!  Next time I thought.

I know exactly what the sky looked that night from lying in bed waiting for just a little sleep to come.  The alarms were set, the suitcases by the door. We were ready.  In the flurry of activity I noticed lying there that the sky hadn't changed.  It was still.  No flurry of activity.  Just still and clear and quiet.  I remember lying there realizing and feeling Gods' peace wash over me.  He was still.  He was there.  And what was about to happen over the next few days, next few weeks and the next ten years he would be there.

Across the world at that same time a baby was awake in an orphanage.  And knowing from being there I can say she was waiting.  She didn't know what was about to happen.  The only faces she saw were dark haired orphanage workers, nannies they were called.  The only language she heard was Chinese.  The only bottle she had was one she'd held herself.  She knew nothing of touch, nothing of being held, and nothing of love.

Lying there in Connecticut that night I thought holding her in that first moment would change everything.  I had no idea that a baby that had not been held didn't know how to be held.  I had no idea that a baby that lived in an orphanage and stayed in her crib all day without any stimulation would be so vacant and behind.  I had no idea that a baby that had not been loved or responded to stopped crying since there was no point; stopped reaching out; and had no idea how to receive love.  I had no idea that it would take almost ten years with us to ask for a kiss at night.  It is a good thing that I didn't know.  It is a good thing that a mothers love, given to her by God, is so powerful that the long journey we'd be on as mother and daughter felt wonderful to me that night.

I just wanted my baby; It was my turn.  Her turn, our turn.  Just one more sleep til  China.

(one little thing... when you see "Anna's First Birthday" in the video we had just gotten her pictures.  She's not there.  What you are seeing is everyone we love opening a box at the same time with her picture inside it.  It was her first birthday and the last one we'd be without her) 


  1. Yes, as we fell in love with them, the feeling was not reciprocated. No adoption class can teach you how to handle that rejection.

  2. Loving this, my friend...
    Love looking back with you.

  3. I am sitting here with tears. I can not wait to read about the rest of your journey.

  4. oh tara! i felt like i was right there with you! your words are perfect.
    oh anna!
    what a gift you are!


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