"Be that as it may, my Father knows best, and I'm confident that He has placed me here; my task is to labor quietly until the pillar cloud removes and leads farther, working out God's purposes in God's time." -Jim Elliot


Gotcha Day: July 20, 2014

Ok, the big day. I am going to run through the events of the day, and then process the emotion of the day. The emotions of the day won't make much sense unless you understand what a crazy day it was.  We were up at 4:00 am. We had all been exhausted the night before, but the need for an early start combined with the excitement of the day had us going early. We finished packing our things, and went down to the lobby to wait for the others to head for the airport. Our guide, Jennifer, had been very considerate in having the hotel pack us a boxed breakfast. Now when the guy who ate snake and scorpion a couple of nights before warns you to practice expectation management, you know you are in trouble. When we arrived at the airport we discreetly deposited them in the trash. The process of getting tickets, getting through security, getting on the plane, and flying to Nanchang was relatively uneventful. Breakfast was a Clif bar and some noodles offered on the plane. We arrive in Nanchang, get our bags, and meet up with our guides, William and Mary. William, Mary's son, is our primary guide and is the Chinese doppelgänger of our friend back home, Jason Zastrow. He let us know that they are bringing Selah to the hotel at 2:00 pm. This was at 11:00 am, and it was a 50 minute drive to the hotel. So we get to the hotel at noon, and we need lunch. We arrange for William to order Papa Johns pizza, and we go to our room to get unpacked. The other thing we needed to do was exchange money for the orphanage donation at the bank. So 1:30 pm comes, we have no pizza, and we still need to go to the bank. The bank is 10 minutes away, and this wasn't just pulling money out of the ATM. So at 1:40 pm the pizza comes. The pizza was glorious, but consumed quickly. Then we all walk to the bank. Watching the clock, 2:00 pm was approaching quickly. Then 2:00 pm passed. Needless to say, we were a bit anxious. The plan was for them to bring her to our room to meet her. Now it looked like we would meet in the hotel lobby. But it wasn't like they were going to just turn around to go back, so we just relaxed and let the process happen. We finished at the bank, and headed back to the hotel. Chrissy, one of the adoptive moms whose child was coming at 4:00 pm offered to take video for us, and another adoptive mom, Katy, offered to take some pictures. We walked into the lobby....

We didn't see her when we walked in. Mary called the people from the orphanage, and they were in the restroom. So we stepped into the back lobby which was quiet and not overwhelming for her to meet us. The other families were with us. After a wait that seemed like eternity, she walked around the corner holding the hands of the director and vice director of the orphanage. The emotions that flooded our hearts in that moment are very hard to put into words. Coming home after being gone for a very long time may be a good comparison. Our hearts were finally home with the reality of our daughter being in the same room as us. No longer an ocean apart. We got down on the floor and they brought her close. We just talked to her and invited her to come close. She wasn't having it. After a little bit we decided to go up to the room. So we all went up and settled into the room. We sat on the floor just reaching out to her and letting her check us out. After a bit, I stepped over to speak with the people from the orphanage, ask questions, and offer our gifts and donation. They had brought her panda bear, the film from the camera we sent, some photos, and a nice framed picture of Chairman Mao. After a bit, the people from the orphanage and our guides left, just leaving Chrissy, Selah, and us. Selah cried and grieved hard once the orphanage staff left. Julie just held her and tried to comfort her as best as she knew how. She cried for about fifteen minutes, and resisted being held for the most part. Every adoptive parent knows that you can't force the bonding process, it is something that needs to be pursued with open hands and a willing heart not expecting anything in return. Our daughter has only seen pictures of us, while we have had fourteen months to fall in love with her. Chrissy was able to capture our first moments alone with her, which we deeply appreciate. Then she had to go prepare to meet her own daughter. Then it was just us and Selah. We just talked to her and offered some different toys. The only one she seemed to like was the small Hello Kitty beach ball we had brought. We rolled it back and forth for a while. Then we noticed her getting sleepy. We changed her into some PJ's and offered some milk yogurt drink. We set her up on the bed, and she just drifted off to sleep. That was around 4:00 pm.

Everything since we left the airport had been crazy, so we took that time to sort through, physically, emotionally, and mentally, everything that had happened. We finished putting our things away, and spent time processing. Then we reached the point of just waiting for her to wake up from her nap, and wondering if we should wake her up. Then we both fell asleep.....

So Selah woke up at 1:00 am and we woke up with her. None of us had eaten dinner or really did anything getting ready to sleep. She was really snuggly with me while she drank some milk yogurt drink. We figured we were in for a long day, but around 2:30 am, she drifted off to sleep again. So did  we. Thus ended Gotcha Day...

The emotions are difficult to process. Partially because it is so overwhelming, partially because the day was so crazy. We didn't have a long period of waiting in the hotel room for her, we were at the bank. 

I think for me (Ben), it was a lot of excitement with a jumble of uncertainty that I never had time to process through because there was no time. The moment of meeting her was just kind of surreal. I was excited, but also very calm. I think I just hit a moment of taking it as it comes. Maybe not fully comprehending the reality of the situation. After everyone left, it just felt very comfortable and natural. We were slowly discovering that some of the hard things that could have happened did not, and that our greatest challenge would be coaxing her out of her turtle shell. So we relaxed, and just enjoyed the moment. 

Julie  has processed with me that Gotcha Day was the beginning of a new chapter for each of us. That in one moment, Selah went from being an orphan to being a daughter. And that we were instantaneously taking a child in as our own, no less loved, adored, or cared for than our biological children. In that moment, the real hard work was about to begin, and yet her heart was finally at rest. She was home. No longer a sense of being indefinitely apart, but brought together in the city of Nanchang to begin the journey home to Ohio. God is writing this story, and we are so humbled and blessed to be with Selah Grace AnLi. To be her Mama and Baba. She is our "XiXi" (pronounced she-she), and she always will be. 

1 comment:

Jeri said...

What a wonderful blessing!

Jeri (Jayne's school friend and college roommate)