Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago today, Doodle and I became a family. In many ways Doodle hasn't changed much in 9 years:
  • In China Doodle would pat the crib bumpers, vigorously shake her head, and tug at her ears to keep from falling asleep. Her techniques have become more sophisticated, but she still doesn't like to sleep and requires less sleep than the average kid her age.
  • Seven month old Doodle kicked her legs in excitement when we went shopping in Guangzhou. She still loves to shop and is a savvy consumer. She only buys sale items.
  • Baby Doodle loved to cuddle and give awesome sloppy wet kisses. Fortunately the kisses are no longer sloppy, but Doodle continues to like to cuddle occasionally. I'm savoring this now because I know it won't last much longer.
  • Baby Doodle loved music and could sing 2-3 word phrases before she could say them. Today she sings in the church choir and plays piano and flute.

The cheeks are much thinner now and the curls are gone, but Doodle remains an exceptionally beautiful girl, both inside and out. This is the message that I posted on the CCAI yahoo list in celebration of our one year anniversary in 1999 (gotta love the archives):

One year ago today, Long Fuzhong came into my life, 12 hours after arriving in Guangzhou with 38 other expectant CCAI families. We all had a single goal—to bring our daughters home for Christmas. Within several hours of arriving in China, we were on the ground at the new Fuzhou airport, where we were met by our guides. As word spread that the airport had Western toilets, we all headed off for a visit to the restroom before collecting our luggage and starting on our 45 minute trip to the Lakeside Hotel. While in the bathroom, someone breathlessly reported that we would get the babies that night. The excitement level in the small space rose tremendously and the story was confirmed by Mr. Gu while we waited for the luggage.

Around dinnertime, the crib arrived and my impatience level grew by the minute as I paced my room, unpacked, and arranged the baby supplies. A short while later I poked my head out of my door when I heard noise. The babies from Changting had arrived and they were being introduced to their new families outside of Mr. Gu's room, only a few doors down from my room. I watched with awe and a bit of impatience as the babies were placed in their parents' arms. I remember Brynne wailing as she met Debbie (and how quickly they later bonded), which led to tears from each subsequent baby. The families with babies from Changting received bean curd as a gift from the orphanage and I recall thinking, “Am I really going to have to carry bean curd around in my suitcase?” After the last child was introduced to her parents, I went back to my room to wait some more. About an hour later, mostly spent waiting in my doorway, I was rewarded with the sight I had been waiting for—the group of nine children from Longyan parading down the hall, four on foot (two rather unsteady) and the other five being carried by nannies. I quickly spotted my curly haired, chubby cheeked daughter and began to follow the parade. Mr. Gu sent me, and the other anxious parents away, but only for a moment. When I returned, the children were being photographed together in Mr. Gu’s room. As they began to line up in the room to be presented to us, Doodle was at the front of the line, red faced and sobbing uncontrollably (and immortalized on videotape). It took all of my willpower to stop myself from grabbing her at that moment to comfort her.Fortunately, by the time we met about five to ten minutes later, she was composed and simply stared into my face as I first held her. Mr. Gu presented me with formula and cereal from CCAI and a precious gift from the nannies of photos of Longyan and the orphanage. It was over too quickly and I didn’t have enough hands to carry it all as well as Doodle. I was instructed to go directly back to my room with no care and feeding instructions. Questions would be answered the next day. Doodle and I then spent an hour getting to know each other and removing her six shirts. The shirt removal process was painfully slow since she cried every time I removed a piece of clothing and I then had to spend time comforting her before moving on to the next layer. Once Doodle was finally in her blanket sleeper, she drank about half a bottle and then conked out. I wanted to rouse her so we could continue to get acquainted, but I let her sleep and prepared for bed myself.

Tonight 19 month old Doodle laughed and chattered as I pulled her shirt over her head. As I put on her pajamas, she began to sing the part of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” she learned today: “Up above the da da da.” The curls are gone (sniff) and the cheeks are much slimmer, and my baby is becoming a little girl. When she says “happy” or “mama home,” my heart bursts with joy. I am truly blessed.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

Sweet tribute.