Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Match Day

Nine months is a REALLY long time to be pregnant. But two years? That’s excruciating. Just ask my friend Ginger. She and her family have been in the process of adopting a baby girl from China for the last two years, and when she began the process had no idea that it would take this long. In fact, nobody did. In the Chinese adoption world you don’t choose your baby, you simply state your parameters and then see what happens. There are no guarantees, but the one thing that Ginger knew was that they would be receiving a girl. It has been months (years!) of paperwork, interviews, visits from Social Services, applications, referral letters, fees, delays, more fees and even more delays. Eventually the referrals are sent from China to the agency and the glorious event of what they call “Match Day” happens. It is the day when you show up at the agency and finally get to see the nature of the cherub you will be bringing home. It is the day when the countless hours of preparation, anxiety, and disappointment finally start to make sense.

And for Ginger and her family, today was Match Day. I was privileged enough to be invited, and I have been speechless about the experience all day because there are no words. It was like Christmas, Disneyland, winning the lottery, flying kites and eating ice cream all at the same time…only better. We walked in, they sat down, the worker held the file in front of them and asked, “Are you ready?” Ginger was shaking, her husband sat calmly by her side and her kids stood by with eager anticipation:

Finally she opened the file and it revealed this picture:

Many tears began to pour as hugs were exchanged and joy permeated the room.

The kids exclaimed, “That’s my SISTER!” They immersed themselves in the pictures and the information they have been desperate to know since the very beginning of this process. It turns out that their baby has a hearty appetite, sleeps well, and her favorite toy is a colorful rattle. She has been living in an orphanage since mid-October, and they will travel to China in the next two months to go get her.

But that whole Christmas Disneyland thing? That was just the beginning. As Ginger and Tim began to take care of logistic responsibilities of signing more paperwork, it allowed the rest of us to observe other families who were coming in to do the very same thing. I observed one couple walk in hand in hand, carrying a camera and an anxious disposition who seated themselves not far away. Their worker sat down with them when my friend Ganelle (Ginger’s sister) saw an opportunity for the gluttony of observation and asked if they wanted her to take pictures. They cheerfully agreed as if Ganelle was somehow doing them a favor. Which I guess she was, but seriously? It’s really a win/win. They opened the file and instantly shot their hands up to their face as if to shelter the emotions that lay underneath. They looked at each other and then hugged…and then sobbed. This was their first child. Ganelle tried to snap away while wiping away tears, and I tried unsuccessfully not to pay too much attention while shedding my own tears over people I didn’t know.

This went on for over an hour, after which all the new moms walked around holding their pictures and held an ad-hoc show-and-tell. “Look at those cheeks!” everyone commented about Ginger’s baby girl. “Wow, check out all that hair!” we observed about another. I’m telling you, if I am ever having a bad day I will attend Match Day at the Chinese Adoption agency. It was emotional candy, and now I just can’t wait to meet this little girl for real. Too bad Ginger's not very excited:


Laura said...

Thank you for posting, Kristy! Of course just reading it after hearing about it all and seeing the pictures makes me even more green with envy. What an amazing experience for all of you. I can't wait to meet our baby girl!!!

Anonymous said...

More tears!!! Can I get that printed sometime? You put in words what I could not. Thank you for being a part of this!

Anonymous said...

Same thing for me as my mom! Wow that was a good story. It made tears come down my face as well. Bailee is the most wonderful child ever, and I was wondering if we could get some copies of those pictures you have?

Kerri said...

Congratulations to Ginger and her family! What a wonderful experience to have been a part of, Kristy.