Twelve years ago yesterday, I awoke at 3 a.m. knowing that today was the day I would finally get to hold and hug my first daughter. The day my dream would come true. A small group of 6 families boarded a plane from Beijing to Chongqing. I could tell when we got off the plane, we were all wondering and thinking the same thing - we were only maybe an hour from meeting our daughters for the first time. We loaded our luggage on to one bus and all of us on to another bus. We were going straight to the Civil Affairs Office to get our babies.
We pulled up to the Civil Affairs Office. It was a small two story building and we could see the babies with the nannies right inside the door. This is the part where I only remember images. I know I walked in the door and snapped a quick picture. I looked at the babies and wasn't sure. I pointed to one and our guide said no, that's not Wen He. As soon as she said that, the nanny right next to me and the nanny behind her broke into big grins and held up tiniest little girl while nodding their heads. I think I pointed to her and then to me, they nodded their heads again and I remember they had the biggest grins on their faces.
They handed me this little girl, not even 15 lbs, dressed in a yellow sweatsuit with an orange hat and purple shoes. I picked up my Wen He, my Jessica Lin. She looked around - I could tell right away she was very curious. Then I gave her a hug. I totally lost it then. I realized I was holding my dream in my arms and she was real.
From there I only remember a couple of people taking pictures - I don't know when everyone else got their babies - and I remember looking out the door and seeing one other mom sitting on the curb with her daughter. Somewhere in this time, we took a family photo and then went upstairs to complete the paperwork, complete the adoption. By this time all of the babies were crying and hot and sweaty. It was over 80 degrees and very humid and as Itook off Jessie's clothes, I realized she had three layers of clothes on. I tried to feed her. I tried three different formulas, Jessie wouldn't eat any. Wouldn't even try. She just wanted to cry. She had obviously bonded with her foster mother and who was this strange person who kept hugging her and staring at her?
After that, we went to the notary's office, but had a few people take up the paperwork since it was six flights of stairs. I remember that Jessie loved the bus ride, especially when we went over a bump. I don't remember much after that. I know we went down to supper and neither of us was very hungry. My journal says Jessie went to sleep after a very emotional day.
Today, Jessica is a beautiful middle-schooler. My life has taken a lot of turns over the years and now being the mother of 3 beautiful girls from China. But April 17, 2000 is the day a dream came true and the day I finally knew I was on the path I was always meant to take.