8:00 p.m. Guangzhou (Monday)
Most families will tell you that day 5 is the magical day of your stay in China, when your child becomes the happiest and things start clicking. Well, because Meiying didn't start grieving really (and rejecting me) until our day 4, today...day 8...was our day 5. Miss happy pants, ray of sunshine, still full of herself-firecracker ARRIVED. Okay, so I did allow an Orange Crush and about 3 lollipops today, but that was the limit, I swear. Talking about swearing...
We had a surprise today. They moved our Oath Ceremony up one day to today! So, at 4:15 p.m. 48 families gathered at the US Consulate's Office, stood up and raised their right hands to be sworn in and repeat the Oath.
I have to say, we've been blessed with two very exciting Oath Ceremonies for both of our adoptions. At Eliza's in 2006, we had a visiting US Consulate who had been previously responsible for statistical analysis of Chinese adoptions for the US, perform the Oath Ceremony for us. She was so honored to be able to be present for her first Oath Ceremony and talked all about what it meant for her after being responsible for the data all those years. She made it very personal.
Most families experience a very anticlimatic Oath Ceremony that lasts 1 minute. Well, today, was as exciting and personal as Eliza's, but for a different reason. They had a play area set up in the back of the room that I didn't remember last time and the children were all having a wonderful time, all ages. It was quite chaotic, but fun to watch. A few times, through all the crowd and voices, I heard Meiying call out Mommy-ahh (which is what she calls me most of the time). I'd turn my neck and wave and she'd wave back with a happy smile. I told Lieba, "Okay, I know my daughter's voice now through the crowd". I think all of the children could feel their parents' excitement, relief and the finality of the occasion. Our guide had told Meiying ahead of time what today was about and what would be happening. When it was time to be sworn in, Meiying came up and sat on my lap. Hmmm. She began hugging me and pressing her cheek against mine. We then stood up and she held my hand very tight as I repeated the Oath with the other 47 families. We all hooted and applauded and congratulated each other. The Consulate congratulated us on completing the long, grueling process under the new requirements and we all laughed about that...grumble, grumble. I then looked down and saw the happiest face ever looking up at me and I gave Meiying a high 5. She raised her arms indicating that she wanted me to pick her up. So I did. She gave me the biggest squeeze around my neck and said, "Mommy, wo ai ni" (translation, "Mommy, I love you"). Can you imagine my tears? I was in shock. I actually thought, did I hear that right? I turned to our guide and quickly repeated it; Meiying grinned at her and my guide confirmed that that's what she said. I was crying for so many reasons, the emotions of having done this trip by myself, the end of all that paper processing that took so many hours to complete and that I have this happy, beautiful, loving daughter accepting me and ready to move forward into a new chapter in her life. Meiying sat on my lap the 45 minute drive back on the bus. She wanted my arms wrapped around her waist and held them there.
She's definitely going thru the stages right now. She wanted me to carry her a few times like a baby. Shockingly, I think she's lighter than Eliza! LOL It was kind of an odd feeling for me, at first, feeling her getting so close and lovey, but I understood where she was coming from and wanted her to go through these stages securely, blissfully, and so I just hugged and squeezed her back. She'd kiss my cheek, then she started touching my face; almost like tracing it. I still can't find the words to explain what I was feeling. It was a mixture of awkwardness, but also tenderness and humbling and awe.
I must tell you though that we started out the day with her watching everything I did to get ready in the morning. Then she repeated each step from applying moisturizer to her face, my deoderant, my eye shadow, even the mascara, my gel for her hair, perfume and lipstick. She was dolled up this morning. Of course, by the afternoon, the mascara had smudged and the beautiful lilac colored eyeshadow was half way down her face. She is such a cutie though; such a charmer.
What a day. I'll upload some pics and some video so check them out. I've thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of days and being in China this time w/ a child who can speak the language and seems so confident and "street smart" has made this a lot of fun. I love listening to her talk to the locals and our guide. I've even enjoyed the food more these last few days too, if you can imagine that. Our guide took us to JM Chef on the Island tonight and their beef is out of this world. I asked Lieba if she thought we were eating the tongue or some part that we don't eat in the states because it was so tender. She said she was afraid to ask and so was I. But it was sooooo good. BTW, Meiying sat there at the US Consulate repeating every word, every hand gesture, every raised eyebrow of mine. She was cracking herself up over it too. Then when all the kids were in the back of the room playing in the playhouse, she was right in the middle of everything telling everyone where to sit or play. She's going to have no problem going to school. She might get in trouble for talking to much, but she'll love it, I have no doubt.
One last factoid to share that I think is pretty cool. Derek and I met at the Minneapolis airport when both the companies that we worked for at the time were both based out of Minneapolis. So, when we adopted Eliza, our first child together, the "port of entry" into the US was the Minneapolis airport, which is where Eliza became a US Citizen. Well, this time, I've traveled alone. I was born and raised in NY. Guess where Meiying's "port of entry" will be? NY's JFK Airport! Pretty neat, huh? Also, when I was leaving out of JFK for Beijing, the projection screen inside the airplane showed the route of the flight as it was leaving JFK. We flew right over Poughkeepsie (where I'm from) and I smiled, teared up and felt like that was a message from my Dad in heaven that he was with me on this trip. So when I was having those few very difficult days with Meiying's grief, I kept imagining that screen on the airplane and the word "Poughkeepsie" and it gave me comfort and strength to endure Meiying's pain and look forward to a happier time. Today was definitely the happier time. I know there will be moments of grief still to come, but Meiying's spirit wants to be happy and this I learned and felt today.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Our "day 5" happening on day 8
Posted by The Ordinary Horse at 9:27 AM