I will try to write faithfully these next ten days so I have a record of this life-changing event in our family's life. My words will be unedited and uncut, so please don't expect much--except honesty!
Diana comes tonight. I talked to a friend of mine yesterday who was on our second China trip. We were talking about the day we met our daughters in a government office in Guangzhou. Early in the morning we gathered to wait for our babies who were coming by buses across the countryside. This was THE DAY we had longed for, the culmination of an almost two year wait. Finally we would have our precious new daughters.
Parents talked among themselves nervously, cameras ready to capture the very first moment when we would see our babies. In our group, the babies were coming from three different orphanages, so we didn't know which ones would be coming first. Suddenly there was a commotion in the hall and we all jumped up in excitement. The first group arrived! Our facilitator announced the name of the city. No, not our baby. My mom beside me, we watched the new parents meet their children. Crying filled the room, the silent tears of the happy families and the frightened screams of the babies. The parents with empty arms filled the time waiting by watching the new families, but our senses were heightened as we anxiously awaited the next group to come. More babies! A lot this time, all dressed in matching sweaters. They were adorable, but my baby was not among them. The thrill, the letdown, the thrill, the letdown! The last group of parents were so on edge we were practically shaking. Finally, finally, our babies arrived. We surrounded the nannies carrying our precious daughters, our arms aching to take them. I recognized my Liana immediately. But our first meeting was not as I imagined. Liana cried for two hours, not at all happy with her new mom. My friend and I shared our first impressions of that momentous day 6 and a half years ago.
Will this be the day I meet my third daughter? I'm reliving that first day with Liana and also remembering the day I met Arielle. I was in tears as I prayed this morning, as the joy and excitement of those memories washed over me. But today is sad in a way, because the difference is that in China there was no turning back. The baby I reached out to take was my daughter forever. This time I have to make a decision. This child will break my heart. She will return to Russia after 10 days, no matter what. I will cry because I know she is not right for our family and we will be sending her away. Or, I will cry because she IS my daughter but I won't be able to keep her yet.
Right now I am very anxious about our first meeting. All the host families will gather in our church tonight to wait for the vans bringing the children from JFK. What will happen? Will the children be scared? How will we comfort them when we can't speak their language? Will they like us? Will we like them? What will we do when we first get back home? It will be late yet we need to explain bathrooms and baths and feed them and show them their beds. So many unknowns!
One thing I do know. Our Father in heaven loves these children. He has purpose for them and we are privileged to be part of his plan. We will love them and care for them no matter what, because he does.