as we reminisce. Last year this time last year we were on a plane from Beijing to Guangzhou. (in the states we are 13 hours behind China) We were in culture shock and full of anticipation of meeting our daughter and at that point had NO idea when we would get her that day. I remember falling asleep as the plane took off just avoiding the reality of being the only American’s on the plane and for the first time in our adult lives feeling the feelings of being a minority. It was eye-opening and scary at the same time. I awoke during the flight to the sounds of the airline in route service and the smells of unfamiliar smells among it. I couldn’t even taste one morsel. It was a combination of nerves and strangeness that I could not overcome.
I was so happy to land in Guangzhou! We came through the security gates and met our guide Erin She made sure it was US and then asked the $64,000 question… “have you exchanged your US dollars or Yuan?” We said no and then she said we must rush because we were supposed to meet Lexi at 2:30. Here it was 12:30 already! After all the waiting……… and waiting….. and waiting…. and waiting some more, suddenly it was HURRY UP NOW! It was hard to internalize. We gathered luggage, met our driver and raced to our hotel (the White Swan). We checked in and then split up immediately. Geoff went with Erin to the the bank and I went to our room. I walked in and the first thing I noticed was that there was NO baby bed. I just assumed that the hotel KNEW why we were there and would have one waiting for us. Not the case. So I called to the front desk and told them that we needed a crib. Then I took off like lightening for the lobby hoping that it would only take Geoff seconds at the Chinese bank. On the way there I saw the chamber maid taking the crib to our room. I fought back tears as the reality that our dream was finally about to come true. I was trying so hard to not cry so I would not be too emotional when we met Lexi so as to not upset her more.
I got downstairs and then paced and paced looking at all the art for sale in the lobby area. I watched families who had already been united with their child and envied them but yet it fueled my anticipation. There was this beautiful indoor Kio pond that I watched and then I found a beautiful Buddha statue. It was made of gold and so pretty. I hesitated but finally as no one watched, I rubbed his belly for good luck. (I’m not a Buddhist by no means but while in China and while being so nervous it just seemed the right thing to do…). Finally Geoff and Erin arrived and like a speeding bullet we boarded the van and fought more Chinese traffic to go to CCAA. We took an elevator to the right floor and entered to a very quiet room. Amazingly, we were the only family that day to meet their child. As we walked in I can still remember the breath being sucked out of me as I laid eyes on Lexi for the very first time in person. I remember feeling that she WAS real! I recognized those beautiful eyes in the face of a very scared baby. I knew I had to hold her and assure her that she was in good hands. It was a moment when time stood still.
I have to say at this point that I remember every detail of Sara’s birth and the day of meeting Lexi is no different. I remember the smells, the feelings, the looks… everything. It makes no difference that one was born to me from my flesh and the other was born to me from my heart. They are both precious gifts from God.
It was after she was “ours” that it became strange. We were rushed out and taken to a very foreign grocery store. We bought food for Lexi and snacks, hair mousse, and Ferrero Rocher candy. Then walked across the street to a Papa Johns and got a Pizza! How twilight zone is that??? I remember giving Lexi sips of water from the cap of my water bottle. All we really wanted was some time alone with our daughter but our guide had her job to do and we had paperwork to do. So we headed back to the hotel and she gave us about 30 minutes to be with her before coming to have us do more paperwork.
The things I remember most are the clingy little koala bear Lexi who was clinging to us for dear life, the mad rush in Chinese traffic that scared the life out of me! I remember the humid heat so much like our weather in South Ga. in the summer time. I remember Lexi being layered in clothes and sweating from the heat. I remember the smell of her, the lightweight baby body and how perfectly she felt in my arms.
Tonight as I think back, I just am in awe that I’m remembering a very special event in our lives that was one year ago. It’s strange because I feel as if every day is special still. Today after we got home, Lexi and I took a 2 mile walk. We counted squirrels again (this time we only saw about 37 of them much to our disappointment). We came in and headed out back to swing and play a bit before coming inside. Once inside she colored a bit while I started dinner. When she tired of coloring, she asked to finger paint, and when she ran out of finger paint I pulled out the concrete chalk (even if it was in the kitchen using scrap booking paper). We listened to music and just enjoyed having each other. Moments like these are priceless.
When her daddy came home, we had dinner and she had her usual way with him and picked out an unusual outfit for bedtime…. pj’s with boots! We read books after dinner and marveled at how smart she seems to be. She called her aunt Carolyn and talked with no prompting. I put her to bed as we said good night to everyone on the mantel and then kissed Mr. Frog a million times before giving Daddy high, medium and low fives. I rocked her and then sang a few songs. Put her in her crib and then as I blew kisses she said, “I love you”…….. so needless to say, my heart is a melted mess.
I can say with 100% certainty that the 3 1/2 year wait for our Lexi was totally worth the wait. We are looking forward to what our future with her will reveal.
Drawing with chalk with Mommy…
Our little Artist…