What a glorious day, the day we met our daughter.
A day that God ordained from the beginning of time. One that He birthed in my heart over a decade prior.
A day that could have been so difficult, so painful for a little one being taken from all she had ever known.
However, that was not the case.
It started with a few tears that quickly transitioned to smiles, snuggles, and laughter.
It was miraculous. It was holy. It was God.
He went before us and prepared the way.
I am so thankful and truly humbled by the glory of our “gotcha day”.
I woke up early that morning feeling excited and expectant, but still quite nervous.
Fear of the unknown still lingered…until I saw her face.
When we arrived at the meeting place I stood in the doorway and had to pause a moment before entering. I stopped mid-step to catch my breath.
No one told us this, but I had a feeling she was there waiting. I knew when I walked into that room that I would meet my daughter. The reality was overwhelming and I needed to be still for just a moment.
I glanced into the room and saw two little girls. My eye first went to a little one sitting in a chair. I knew immediately that she was not our daughter. Then my attention went to the toddler standing next to her. I knew as soon as I saw her that she was our Leia Joy!
That first sight of her will never leave me.Seeing her little body across the room was a healing moment for me. It no longer mattered if she was sick or extremely disabled. The worry of her rejecting me vanished. Every fear that trampled over me during this journey disappeared as soon as I saw her. Even though so many unknowns still remained, fear no longer had a hold on me. Her face changed that. I cannot explain why. But seeing her changed everything.
I was no longer thinking through me actions or planning my next steps, which is why there is not a photo of me seeing her for the first time:) As soon as I recognized her I rushed into the room and went over to her.
I bent down next to her and someone stated her Chinese name to verify that she was ours. But I already knew that.
She looked at me for a few seconds and then walked off in the other direction. We followed her around for a bit, trying not to overwhelm her. We extended our hands to her, but she was not accepting our love willingly.
So Andy eventually scooped her up and she protested. The tears came streaming down and rightfully so. To her we were strangers. I expected this reaction and was at peace with her response. She was in a unfamiliar place and we were invading her space. Even though this was expected it was still hard to see her this way.
I grabbed some crackers per suggestion from our guides and offered one to her. As soon as I gave her food she stopped crying and the tears never came back. Praise God!
Once she calmed down our emotions began to well up and we could not hold back OUR tears. This moment had finally come. This sweet one we had prayed for, who had been birthed in our hearts a year prior, was in our arms at last. Glory be to God.
We were able to talk to the adoption director of her orphanage. He asked if we had any questions and made it a point to tell us about her health. He assured us that she is a healthy little girl. Hearing him say that gave us so much peace. We are still prepared to face whatever issues and conditions may arise (we adopted from China’s Special Needs Program), but those words tasted so sweet.
After some time Leia actually fell asleep in my arms. I am sure the stress of the morning wore her out. When were then able to just snuggle her and love on her and pray over her while she rested safely in her mother’s arms.
We were given a book with photos from Leia’s first two years of life. Milestones such as sitting up, learning to crawl, and first steps were all documented. What an amazing gift her orphanage gave us in those photos. A small glimpse at our girl’s life before she joined our family.
Once she woke we started to pass the time by making faces at her. We would make kiss faces and she mimicked right back. It was awesome to watch her interact with us and see her brain work! She started giving us high fives and copied other things we did. She was started to accept us after only one hour of knowing us. Only God, yall.
We signed some official documents, took a photo for her records, and waited for the other families in our group to meet their kids. It was a glorious day.
I could not have asked for a better experience. Thank you to everyone who covered us in prayer. It was evident that God was present in that place.
And thank you to Christine of Home Made in China for capturing these moments of us.