To read in detail about Hope's (and the others) adoption journeys..click on the links on the right for my adoption blogs!
9 Years. It seems some days like yesterday, and some days like it's been forever. I will never forget riding on a tour bus, through chaotic downtown Nanjing, China, with at least ten other couples en route to meet our children. I remember nervous conversation, mindless chatter, as we drove. The dads talking business, and the moms mostly looking eyes wide out the window. Excitement, nervousness, and a bit of terror crossed all of our faces as we drove. When we arrived at the government office, similar to a courthouse, we were told the children were there.
OMG. Like reality set in big time. I literally felt my heart beating out of my chest. The thing is, I wasn't worried much, just excited. Darrin and I had four kids. Our oldest, Hannah was with us, giddy with excitement. We loved kids, we "got" kids, and kids really seemed to like us. I knew in my heart that this two year old sweetness was just gonna love us. To date, there wasn't a kid that we couldn't win over.
Until that day.
The kids were brought in, and I spotted my baby girl. The nanny was clutching to her, tears in her eyes, and Hope looked a tad worried/concerned. All the other families were passed their children, and most of their kids were sort of in a stunned silence.
Then, it was time for the nanny to pass off Hope to us. Oh. My. Word. The terror, the screaming, the tears (from all of us). This kid was not having us. I had a bottle ready, snacks, toys, games, candy. An arsenal of bribery items and this little Chinese firecracker, with a sort of slicked back Elvis haircut, wearing no less that 4 layers of clothing could care less. She screamed, and screamed. Then, from stress I assumed, she passed out. I was so thankful. We got to take some pics, and just look at her perfect face, and catch our breath a bit. We carried her on the bus, and she woke up. We braced ourselves, but the bottle I had, and the snacks seemed to work, and she tolerated us. Well, she tolerated Hannah and I..more Hannah though. When she looked at Darrin, it was if the Prince of Darkness was standing in front of her. Scary scary. She had never really been exposed to men before, so she was not a fan. Broke my heart. Really broke Darrin's heart.
I had the hotel room set up like a virtual kiddie playroom. Toys, specially ordered Chinese dolls, beautiful snuggly blankies, books, everything I could think of. She toddled over to her Chinese dolls, picked them up and threw them hard against the wall.
Hmm. Awesome. (side note...she never liked dolls, and remembers those and said she hated them)
I wanted to give her a bath, because let me tell ya, the layers of clothes she wore sure caused her to be sweaty. So I put her in the tub...and I brought out the heavy hitters....Bubbles, and foam bubble spray. Finally...the glorious smile appeared. Then giggles, splashing, and all out fun. I think she was in there an hour....maybe more.
Everyday, actually every hour was a bit better. She learned to like us. Funny Americans will give me whatever I desire. Lots of food...which to date is her favorite thing... won her over big time! And bubbles. Bath bubbles, and outdoor bubbles. Who'd have thought bubbles would help us meet a common ground but they were miraculous!
If I had only know now what I knew that first day, it would all make so much sense. Hope is a girl on her own schedule. She is determined, feisty, strong, and most definitely does not like to be forced into situations. BUT, when she feels comfortable, and lets that guard down, she is the kindest, sweetest, most loving child you ever could imagine. Hope was born a fighter. She was left on a doorstep at 2 weeks old. She spent two and a half years fighting for attention at an orphanage. She is strong. She is a survivor. Because Hope was born with differences in her hands and feet, this personality will be such an amazing asset to her.
Don't tell her that her differences define her. Don't tell her that there is anything she cannot do. She has shown all of us that physically...even while missing most of her toes, and having smaller fingers, she is an insane athlete. Soccer, basketball, swimming..you name it. She is quite annoyed that she can't play football for her school's team. We are going to look into her being a kicker for another area football team. This child is the definition of girl power. She proudly wears sweats and boy's high tops, and hair in a pony everyday. Unaware of how amazingly beautiful she is. There is literally not one thing I would change about this daughter of mine.
She has taught our family Hope.
She has taught our family strength in the face of defeat.
She has taught our family acceptance of anyone regardless of anything special about them.
She has given us more that we could ever give her.
Our Hope Hexu. Our tiny warrior. I praise God that somehow, someway, we were the blessed ones chosen to be your family. I cannot wait to see more of your amazingness as you grow. Happy nine years sweet baby girl.