When we were in the adoption process, my mother had a dream. She saw our daughter wearing a pink dress. She said our little Naomi was trying to be brave and was not crying. A sweet friend of mine had a dream that Naomi would come to us and she would know us.
We certainly did not expect either of these things to happen. We knew that the day we met our daughter would be stressful for her. She would likely cry and feel overwhelmed. Who knew what she would be wearing? In all of the videos I had seen of families meeting their daughters I rarely saw a pink dress.
As we were ushered into a room to meet our daughter, I said to my husband, "If she is in a pink dress, I am going to lose it."
We could see several children peeking around the corner from a back room. They were waiting for their turn to come out and meet their parents. I looked that direction and that's when I saw her. A tiny girl, in a pink dress with sweet little piggy tails. She was spinning around in a circle, dancing about while she waited. I grabbed my husband, "I can see her! She is in a pink dress!!!" We both welled up with tears. It was a moment we will never forget.
And just like that. A little girl who was labeled a "foundling" was now a beloved daughter.
She was brave. She did not cry. She just looked at us like she was studying our faces. She liked the toys and snacks we brought. We just watched her in amazement. It was almost as though she knew us and we knew her. During the months of waiting, we prayed nightly that God would prepare her heart for us and our hearts for her. The first night was hard for her. That sweet little smile faded to sobs of grief and fear as we settled in for bed. We were so glad that she let us comfort her through her tears. Each night got better.
The days in China were full of lots of snuggling, playing and exploring. We met amazing new friends while we were there. Having other families with us gave us a sense of camaraderie. The trip felt long at times and we all got homesick for our children back home. Having friends to grab a bite to eat with or see the local sights was a blessing. In addition, our guide Kelly made our adoption trip smooth. She kept all our paperwork and appointments straight. She got us where we needed to go, answered all our questions and she was a joy to spend time with.
I searched high and low for just the right toddler carrier for my almost 4 year old daughter. I obsessed over it. I prayed she would like to be carried. I hoped that would encourage bonding between us. I was thrilled when she showed me immediately that she loved to ride in the carrier with me. We went all over the place in that thing!
We had the opportunity to tour Naomi's orphanage and say goodbye to her friends and nannies. This visit was important to us. We want to be able to tell her about it when she is older. She will have so many questions in her future that we cannot answer. We know that will be hard for her. Two years of her life are unknown. We also went to Naomi's finding spot. This place is sacred ground. It was powerful to stand with her in that place. She is restored to a family now.
When we arrived home, we were greeted at the airport by our family. The joy we felt when we saw their faces is indescribable. We were thrilled to have all our children together. It was precious to watch Naomi greet each of our family members. She knew they belonged to her.
The next few days were a blur due to jet lag. Thankfully, Naomi slept very well once we got her to sleep. I expected her to be up all hours of the night with the intense time change she was experiencing. This is just one of the many ways she has exceeded our expectations!
Before we adopted, we read and researched the effects of orphanage living on a child. We were also prepared for severe grieving behaviors and general culture shock. We expected bonding to be a long, difficult process. We expected her siblings to struggle with the new arrival. We expected the worst but hoped and prayed for the best. We still cannot believe how smooth her transition has been. It is as though she has always been in our family. We can only assume that her infant hood with her birth family gave her the important brain development she needed to develop strong attachments. The word we were given from the Lord for her adoption was "restore". Her heart was more than ready to be restored to a family.
This adoption has been an incredible journey of obedience and trust in the Lord's leading. He called us on behalf of one tiny girl in China. Oh how happy I am that we listened!
Great Wall China Adoption is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas. Since 1996, Great Wall has placed more than 8,000 children with forever families. Between the headquarters located in Austin, Texas and the sister office in Beijing, China, we work on behalf of families each day to be experts at exceeding China’s requirements and adoptive families’ expectations by staying updated on aspects of China adoption.