One year ago today at 10:00ish A.M., a tall Chinese man entered a government building, exchanged a couple of words at the front door with our translator, walked a few steps over toward us, and placed Airlie in my arms. I wailed and so did she. My tears were tears of joy and tears of relief. I had thought of her so often over the year-long wait, and she was finally OUR baby...an orphan no more. Her tears were tears of fear. She was as stiff as a board. She didn't know how to be held. She didn't know that she had to wrap her legs around my waist. She had likely never seen people like us, and she suddenly found herself surrounded in a room full of Americans, speaking an unfamiliar language, and the one with the "golden" hair (that's how the Chinese described my hair) was trying to comfort her. She was very fearful of Chris, as all of the girls were of their new dads. A man trying to care for them? No way! They had always been cared for by women. Those first few moments were full of emotions coming at us from every direction! To top it off, there were about ten children united with their families that day, so it was nonstop chaos in the room of the government building! Crying, wailing, laughter, anxiety, anticipation, fear, happiness, relief....between the kiddos and the new parents, the room had it all.
I remember being most touched by a couple seeming to be in their forties from Spain. We didn't know them, as they had traveled with a different agency. We really couldn't have a conversation with them either, as our Spanish is limited to "hola" and "taco." However, when they received their little girl, the man literally fell to his knees and wept. It was so beautiful to see how wanted she was.
Each time a child was received, it was simply beautiful. I cried each and every time. My tears symbolized the joy in my heart that another child had been rescued from a terrible fate. Each of my children's "births" are memorable for different reasons. However, Airlie's birth from orphan to beloved family member, was an absolutely amazing experience.
As I look back over the last year, I see how far Airlie has come. Has it been easy? No! It has been one of the hardest things we have ever done. She was 1 of 180 with about 10 caregivers for most of her first three years. Many of her friends at the CP Hospital were immobile due to their medical condition. As one of the mobile ones, I do not think she received much rearing. When we got her, she was WILD! However, with firm instruction and lots of love, she has progressed quite nicely and is developing into a mannerly little gal!
She is truly a blessing, as are Cavan and Kian. God has beautifully placed each of our babies into our lives differently. I am so proud to call Cavan, Airlie, and Kian my children. Here is a look back over Airlie's life. We were fortunate enough to receive a few baby pictures. They are included in this video, along with pictures from her first year with her family. Turn up the volume and enjoy!
Happy Forever Family Day Airlie!
We love you!
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.