Sunday, March 30, 2008

5 years ago today...

...we saw this beautiful face for the first time. After almost 14 months of waiting, we received our referral for Elise. It was such a surreal day!

Our DTC group (Dossier to China, now known as Log in date, I believe) had become a very close knit and supportive online group. At the time, a 13-14 month was the longest it had been in many years and the wait was excruciating. Sadly, the wait has now extended to well past 2 years.

We had heard rumors that referrals were due in any day. Most of thought we’d start we’d start to see them on April 1…April Fools Day seemed a fitting day to receive our referral after such a roller coaster ride! (Remember, SARS was also playing havoc with international adoptions at the time.)

Sandra in our group was the first to post that she had her referral for her Jasmine. This may seem strange, but most of us had already named our daughters and the group had gotten to know these little girls who only existed in our hearts at that time. Seeing pictures of these little girls materialize was just amazing.

I remember sitting in my office talking with a Vice President (who had also adopted). My phone rang and I saw my agency’s name come up on the caller ID. Thankfully the VP, having gone through “the call” herself, tactfully understood that I wanted her to LEAVE when I said "that's my agency calling!

I answered the phone to hear Carolyn from our agency say “I’m looking at a picture of your daughter and she is beautiful!” That’s all I remember from the phone call. I was in such a state of disbelief. To be honest, I remember being in a similar state of disbelief when I found out I was pregnant with Carson (I argued with the nurse that I could NOT be pregnant because I never got pregnant!)

I called Perry and he met me over at our agency’s office. I made him promise to wait for me in the parking lot if he arrived first so we could see our daughter’s face together.

I can’t even describe the emotions of seeing her face for the first time. I do remember thinking, “Wow, she’s Asian” which was such a dumb thing! Duh, what was I expecting?!? But, Carolyn was right…she was (and is still!) the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen. We signed the acceptance paperwork on the spot...there was no doubt that this was our daughter!

My sister was the only family living nearby at the time and she happened to be off work that day and met us down at the agency’s office. She had her boys with her and I don’t remember them being as impressed!

Thanks to technology, Elise’s picture was shared with friends and family all over the country within a matter of hours.

It’s hard to believe it’s just been 5 years. It seems like yesterday, yet it also seems like a lifetime ago. Somehow, this beautiful perfect little girl was destined to join our family from half a world away. The agony of waiting just melted once we saw that picture.

From there, however, we still had SARS to deal with as we waited for our travel approval. What an anxious time for all of us in our group, knowing our babies were waiting for us and knowing that we might not get to go get them in a timely matter. Several in our group had to deal with people telling them they shouldn't travel at the time, some had to go into quarantine when they returned, all of us had to deal with dumb comments and plan for taking extra precautions when we did travel. Most of us did make it over to China before the country closed down adoptions for a short while, but there were several families that did not make it and had to wait several months longer than the rest of us.

We are so thankful to China for allowing us to raise this amazing child. She is so proud of her Chinese heritage but so solidly an American child!

Elise…we are so privileged to be your parents. We love you with our all our hearts and look forward to seeing what life has in store for you!


PIPO said...

Thanks so much for sharing that. Those kind of posts help keep my hope alive and kicking!

Sandra said...

Congratulations on 5 years. I just posted about this as well. I remember the day as if it was yesterday!

Super Mommy said...

Happy Family Day! Your Jianxin girlie sure is a beauty!

Tammie said...

Happy Anniversary my friend! It's been a heck of a 5 years, & I wouldn't trade a single second of it.

Funny how we both remember that Sandra was the first to get her referral. It seemed quite just then (& still does now) that she was first.

Here's to many more anniversaries to share!