Monday, October 5, 2015

"I'm In China"

Well, not at the moment. As I made my way through the dimly lit airport on September 4th, struggling with the weight of my back pack on my weary shoulders and an absurdly heavy carry on,  it finally hit me. "I'm in China. I made it. This is actually happening, like right now." After a long and sleep deprived transatlantic flight, I expected to all but collapse as my feet finally made it to solid ground again, but standing in this sleepy airport in Beijing, I caught my second wind. It was more than solid ground, it was sacred ground and it felt like an electric wave was surging through every fiber of my being. There I was. Her city. The place my daughter had taken her first breath, and her first steps. The place where her story began and now almost 8 years later, finally intersected with mine.

As I stood in line at immigration, I tried to stifle the emotions welling up, but a tear or two escaped me. I wanted so badly to rest my head on Richard's shoulder and have a good cry, but he was on the other side of the world taking the best care possible of our three other loves at home. Our youngest, home just 16 months, still requires Mommy or Daddy full time, and so I had to travel solo. So instead, I pulled my scarf up to my eyes to dry them, and inched forward a few more steps in line. Finally after clearing immigration, I collected my checked baggage, met my guide, and made it to the hotel.

The Novatel Peace Hotel would be our home away from home for the next week. Here in this neutral space, far away from all of the comforts of home for both Lucy and mommy, we would begin our journey of becoming mother and daughter. I unpacked my things, set up her bed with her new lovey, a cozy blanket just for her, a handful of the chocolate she requested in a letter, and few drops of lavender on her pillow. I prayed that she would feel safe in this space. Often times adoptive parents note the similarities between the adoption process and pregnancy and child birth, and many times I see the similarities as well, but there is one stark contrast between all things adoption, vs traditional family building and parenting, and that is grief. That night as my head hit the pillow, I was not only overcome with excitement that I was about to FINALLY meet our precious Lucy Li, but also grieving for her loss of the only family she has ever known at her orphanage, and the beginning of the end of her time in her beautiful birth country.

To be continued...

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