Two years ago today we awakened very early in China and rode a bus to the provincial civil affairs office. We were a bundle of nerves. I clutched a stuffed bear in my hands on the bumpy ride to keep me from wringing them excessively. Two years of waiting and wondering were about to end.
Soon we would meet our Girl from the East, who’d been a plan, a hope and a dream for so long. Her picture was posted everywhere in our house. We looked at it constantly. Held it up to the light, tilted it, anything to reveal the unanswered questions: Who are you? What does your laugh sound like? Will you be happy with us? Will be know you when we meet you?
And then it happened so fast.
We are led into a crowded smoky room on an upper floor of a high-rise. A din of voices in Chinese and English, the squalling of babies, the oohs and aahs of parents-to-be and newly formed families, blend to become a high-pitch babble. It almost become too much. I feared I’d cry on this day. Instead, I retreat to a bench and sit with my head tucked between my knees, praying I don’t pass out.
Then I hear our family name called out by our guide and a cluster of orphanage workers rush toward us with the tiniest living doll I’d ever seen. And then she is in our arms. Her eyes wide and her brows raised as if to ask: What’s all this about?
Two years later we are one as a family. We are so proud of both of our girls and the family we have created. Girl from the East proudly declares herself “a Chinese girl.”
According to her we all are Chinese girls. On the inside, we clarify. We all are Chinese girls on the inside.