Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Year Ago

During this week, one year ago, I spent many hours with my family (mom, dad, aunts, uncles and cousins) at the bedside of my Grandmother who was in the final stages of life.

At the same time, I was on and off the phone and email with the adoption agency waiting to send our dossier to China.

I knew we could receive a referral at any time… I just didn’t know when the call would come.

I had just left the nursing home, not really sure if, when I returned later that evening, my Grandmother would still be with us … and the phone rang. I saw the Colorado number and knew... This. Was. It.

Steve was home. I was about a 30 minute drive away.

The email came a few minutes after the phone call. I forwarded it to Steve. Got on the phone with him and we both opened the picture at the same time.

There’s really nothing that can ever describe seeing your child for the first time. Especially a child that is a year old and living on the other side of the world. Those first pictures of her were beautiful but also…

OH so scary. This was really it. We were really doing this. Here she was… the real thing, not some dream.

A tiny grainy picture. Taken months earlier of a beautiful baby girl we would call our daughter.

It was two weeks shy of her first birthday.

The convergence of emotions on that day was something that cannot be described in words. How could I be flying SO HIGH seeing her pictures and reading her story for the first time.

And yet…grieving so deeply for my Grandmother?

I went back to the nursing home that evening… and quietly whispered into my Grandmother’s ear….

“We know who she is. Where she is. What she looks like. She is beautiful. We will go and get her as soon as we can”.

The next morning….the matriarch of our big Italian family was no longer with us here on earth.

At the same time, our family welcomed its newest member from far across the ocean.

Coincidence? No way.

God’s hand was all over ever aspect of this adoption. From placing it on our heart years ago, to providing us with her picture just moments before my Grandmother took her final breath, to just this past Sunday when we celebrated my Grandmother’s life together as a family…. during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

As family we celebrated my Grandmother’s life, eating an Italian feast at her favorite restaurant and then sharing a NEW tradition… a tradition of her Great-Granddaughter’s heritage… MOONCAKES!

What I haven’t yet told you about my Grandmother. She was the biggest supporter of our adoption. Some other family members…unsure, confused, and perhaps even scared for us.

Not my Grandmother.

You see… my Grandmother knew what it was like to be an orphan and live in an orphanage. She WAS an orphan. She lived in an orphanage for a period of time in her young life.

I don't believe the wounds of her time in the orphanage ever fully healed. But, perhaps, the news I whispered in her the night before her death, brought her peace.

So, here we are year a later. Truth is, our hearts had been bound to Grace months before we saw her picture... but it was at that moment, one year ago, that we saw her chubby cheeks, fuzzy hair and beautiful brown eyes for the first time.

She was 7000 miles away. But we knew.... she was our daughter. Our Sister. Our Niece. Our Granddaughter

and our Great-Granddaughter.