We woke up around 7am. I had only slept off and on since 4… To be expected I suppose. We got ready for the day, had a nice breakfast and gathered our belongings. We got on the bus and our CCAI representative shared all the “what to expect” information. It’s normal for the child to be in shock, to cry. It’s normal if the child bonds with one parent over the other for a while. It’s normal for the child to have a glazed-over expression from all the commotion of the day. Whatever might happen, it’s ‘normal’.
This was helpful to hear, again. As she talked, we passed by many tall city buildings, my stomach doing flip-flops, I sat squeezing Lars’ hand. Whispering, ‘this is happening.’ And then all of a sudden it was. One CCAI rep leaned over to tell the other something. And then she announced to the bus, “We just got word that the children from Xinyang have arrived, they are already here.”
They are here?!? No time to think, to take in the room, to imagine the doors opening, and our daughter being brought in. She was there waiting for us. She would be receiving us. It was all backward, and somehow it was perfect. We were barely in the door but three seconds and they said, ‘Lars and Katie Stromberg.’ That was it. Our moment. We threw our cameras at our newfound friends for the journey and we turned to hear her nanny holding her say, ‘DanQing’ and just like that she saw us and reached for me. It’s true, it’s on video. How and why she did that, I don’t understand, except to say I had prayed for weeks that she would accept us and she did. God is so faithful. Her hair smelled of Jasmine, an unfamiliar exotic scent. We stood there amazed at her. We were holding our daughter. This little stranger, stranger no more. It was so much to take-in.
No doubt Lydia was in a fair amount of shock, her expression was rather stoic, but still she seemed peaceful. No tears. No fussing. She looked rather exhausted, which I’m sure she was as she had arrived here after a two hour long train ride. As we walked the room, witnessing other families being formed, she clung to us quietly. She even rested her head on Lars’ shoulder for a bit. Quiet and tender. I was grateful, I did get a chance to ask her nanny some basic questions, like, was she still on formula or regular milk. The answer was both/either. The nanny clearly liked Lydia, she was very smiley and said, “She’s very out-going. She eats well, she sleeps well, very happy, very active.” I said a heartfelt, “Thank you. For caring for DanQing.” And she responded with a sweet smile and said, “You’re welcome, it is my job.”
After about 40minutes, a few signatures and official photos we got back on the bus. Lydia was tired, she was wearing five layers of clothing and she was clearly warm. I couldn’t wait to get her into the room and peal off the layers to let her breath. She fell asleep on the ride back, waking up when we got into the room. We laid her on the bed and began peeling off the layers. One puffy jacket, One pair of overalls, one pair of split-pants, and two long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes. We let her lay there for a few minutes in nothing but a fresh diaper and she seemed warm. She did have a low-grade fever so after a little medication we gave her a bottle. She had to work hard to take it, because of her cleft palate, and even with the nipple cut to make it faster flowing it’s clear it takes work for her to latch-on to the bottle. But, eventually she got it all down.
After her bottle, she was very playful. She liked the little cars we brought, and the finger-puppets and the books. She spent at least 40 minutes carefully moving cheerios between three different bowls. In most every way, she seems a very typical toddler. She likes things with hinges and she liked her bath. She loves to be held. Lydia’s only tears came when we went to put her in her crib. She had slow, raspy sobs and we decided to just lay her on the bed beside me. I laid with her and she calmed. Eventually she stuck her thumb in her mouth and then the best part. She would not let go of my hand. She grasped my fingers and slowly fell to sleep. It was heaven.
We ended our day with dinner a the hotels Italian restaurant. Where Liddy was all over the place. She was happy, but very busy. 🙂 And then we had her first bathtime, which she loved. She did go to bed in the crib, just fine after a nice slow bedtime routine, with bottle and book and singing. It was wonderful. Lars and I keep looking at each other, like, is she real, is this real? And ever so thankfully, it is.