One Year

On this day last year, we met our sweet girls for the first time. After years of waiting to be parents, our dreams came true and life as we knew it was changed in an instant. All the families from our travel group gathered in our hotel lobby, from where we would walk across the street to the Jiangxi Adoption Office, and meet the babies, who were coming from seven different orphanages in the province. The nervous energy and anticipation were palpable, and everyone was anxious to finally see and hold their daughters. We left for the 10 a.m. appointment, with diaper bags, gifts, cameras, etc. in tow; and once we arrived, settled in to wait for the nannies to arrive with the babies. We watched a couple of families meet their girls and were ecstatic for them, but we couldn't relax knowing our girls would be there any minute. They were brought from the orphanage by four people, one of which was the Director of the Shanggao SWI. When we saw them, we realized immediately that they were wearing the outfits I had sent in the care package, and carrying the little stuffed toys I sent as well. Jonathan and I had planned that he would hold Eleanor first, and I would take LilyKate, but in midst of all that excitement, we somehow ended up with the other sister. I was handed Eleanor and she didn't cry at all, just looked at me with serious, quiet eyes. I looked over and saw Jonathan reaching out to get LilyKate. She didn't shed a tear either, but Jonathan and I certainly did...we were overwhelmed at that moment...grateful, relieved, scared, overjoyed...a bundle of emotions and feelings. It was unlike anything either of us had ever experienced. The Director was very kind and gave us a book with pictures of the girls, their foster mother, and the orphanage. We also got the disposable cameras back, which turned out to have lots of pictures of their foster mom, the house they lived in and some from the orphanage as well. I wanted to see the rest of the families meet their daughters, but once we got the girls, it was hard to concentrate on anything else. One by one, each family was united with their long awaited child, and the room was alive with the sound of crying babies, joyful parents and many people talking at once - it was crazy! We had to stay and complete some paperwork and get photos taken, as well as meet with the Adoption Officials, promising we would always love and take care of our babies. I am not sure how long we were there, but it was some time before we could head back to our hotel, give the girls a bottle and have a chance to really look them over. We changed their diapers, fed them and spent some time playing and getting to know each other before it was time to head out again to the local police station to complete more paperwork for the adoption. After the trip to the precinct, we had the evening to spend as a new family and we were so happy to see smiles and hear laughs from the girls. They were a bit quiet that night, but let us feed, bathe and cuddle them and we were able to get them both to sleep in their cribs with little fuss. I don't know how many times that day, and in the days ahead, we looked at each other and said "Two babies!" We just couldn't (and still can't) believe we had been so blessed!

Today, the girls have changed from those sweet, quiet, little babies, into still sweet, but very active little girls. They will turn two in a couple of weeks and are definitely showing all the signs of being typical two-year old's. They are so ingrained into our hearts and lives, we can barely remember what life was like without them, but we know it was less interesting, and most certainly less fun. They are little bundles of energy and love, and we are honored to be their parents.

Walking to the Adoption Center

Sign welcoming us

Jonathan and I waiting for the babies to arrive

Posing with the orphanage staff

The girls back at the hotel room

Jonathan and LilyKate waiting for the bus

Eleanor and I at the police station

LilyKate and Eleanor that first evening

Eleanor and LilyKate - June 16, 2009