Meeting Darcy

Traffic was very light this morning on the way to the civil affairs office, and we made it by ten after nine. Savor, our guide here in Hangzhou, was walking in front of us leading the way. As we approached the office she said, "Oh my..." Apparently traffic was light for the orphanage staff too, because as we walked into the room, there she was, wearing the butterfly silk outfit we sent her and clutching tightly to her photo album. And of course the camera and video camera were neatly packed away in the backpack.

She actually smiled when we walked in, but her demeanor quickly changed as I approached her. She got down off of the chair and ducked her head, so I decided to pull out the big guns quickly and went straight for the M&M's.

The orphanage director and Kylie watch as Darcy takes a few mini-M&M's from my hand.

(The woman in red is the orphanage staff member responsible for international adoption).

Darcy showed her willpower over chocolate. This girl wasn't buying in. She held them for a second, tossed them down, and then ducked her head and began to cry. What I learned next just about crushed me. The director told Savor (who of course translated for me) that Darcy is a very smart girl. And that she is very shy about her birthmark in front of new people because there have clearly been people who have been cruel about her birthmark in the past. So she was hiding her face from us, her new family. I wanted to crumble on the floor, but instead I increased my resolve to make this baby understand that I think she is beautiful and that I will always be her safe place. (And I can't go there anymore right now or I will start crying ~ this is gonna be a tough battle for she and I to face together).

But she wouldn't lift her head for anything. We pulled out fruit gummies, offered her some of the snacks in her little backpack, tried Dora on the DVD player, and even some stickers. Nothing was working. Finally the director talked to Darcy for a minute, picked her up, and then handed her off to me. My heart was both elated to hold my girl, and breaking into a thousand pieces for her as she protested and tried to wiggle out of my arms. I tried singing to her, but that only made her cry harder and repeat herself louder in an attempt to be heard.

I would say that the weight I was given (35 pounds) was pretty accurate. And holding her with one arm while putting my thumbprint over my signature with the other was no easy task!

She continued to cry and try to get down. And she was saying something over and over, but she learned to speak in a dialect from her foster family and the orphanage staff speaks Mandarin. No one could understand what she was saying. My heart was breaking again as I considered how very frustrating it must be to go from being understood by those around you, to using the same words with no results within a matter of minutes.
"Please understand me!"

In a final desperate attempt to get the results she wanted with her sentence that she had repeated about 50 times, she put one hand on my cheek and finally looked me in the eyes, pleading with me to understand her and respond with her desired result. And there was nothing I could do but tell her I was sorry that I didn't understand. At that point I was close to tears myself, I felt so helpless to make her feel validated. If I only knew what she had been saying, but it would have been difficult even if I spoke her dialect because she had the "snubs.". Finally Savor suggested that I take her out of the room and walk the halls for a few minutes. She still was pushing away from me a bit, but at least the crying stopped.

Of course I had been praying the entire time, and suddenly I heard a tiny voice in my head remind me of the toy cell phones and keys that I had so carefully packed in my purse. When I showed Darcy her set, she gave a tiny grin. Then as I began pushing buttons and holding the phone up to my own ear, she gave in and smiled. Actually a full and complete smile, and even with a tiny giggle to top it off. And that was when I knew that though we'll have a long road until she's fully integrated into the family, that we're gonna be okay.

After all the paperwork had been signed and reviewed, we walked back out of the civil affairs office a family of five. Stopping by the Carrefour for water, snacks, and formula (Darcy still takes a bottle before bed ~ I'm thrilled! What a wonderful bonding opportunity!) and some diapers and formula to donate to the orphanage was next on the list of things to do. We left the camera in the van, but there were several sweet sibling moments as we pushed the kids in their shopping carts. We did some serious damage at the Carrefour ~ to the point that a bellhop had to use a luggage cart to bring up our purchases. Most of that was for the donation, though I will admit I went a bit crazy in the chip aisle... We then went for our family photo for the adoption decree and were back in our room by about 12:30. And we haven't left since. Ian and I decided that we're going to give her a day or so to BEGIN to trust us before we attempt much sightseeing or even meals out of the room. (We had ramen noodles in the room for lunch). Or maybe the "Mr. Xie" incident the first night with Caleb still rings in our minds...

One good thing though is it left for lots of play time.

Kylie showed Darcy how to use Color Wonders markers,

and the sisters discussed how silly their brother was as he played with his cars.

After a three way chat session,

there was group coloring time.

Things are going to be okay.

Some observations: The 39 1/2 inches we were told in height may have been conservative. She is CRAZY tall, I'd say less than an inch shorter than Kylie. And the weight of 35 pounds must be pretty accurate. My arm HURTS from trying to hold her for so long while she was struggling. Thankfully she has a coat ~ a pink Strawberry Shortcake one at that ~ so I won't have to buy one for just the remainder of our NC winter. She TOTALLY DIGS the brown Sketchers with the pink flowers that were Kylie's last year. When I showed them to her she pulled off her socks so that she could try them on. She then paraded around in them all afternoon and evening, even wearing them with her pajamas after bath time and they are currently beside her side of the bed. She's obviously colored with magic markers before because she knew how to put the cap on the end of the marker without being shown. She LOVED dressing up in the stash of dress-up clothes that I brought for she and Kylie. And oh man, are she and Caleb going to give me a run for my money. As "girly" as she was with the dress up clothes, she is also a little destructo like Caleb. I'm done for when she starts speaking English and they can plot against me. Her birthmark is much more extensive than we knew. My "mama bear" instincts are already kicking in to protect my little girl's heart and self esteem. She is being so brave. Earlier today she would tolerate me rubbing her hands or stroking her cheek for a little bit, and even would maintain eye contact for long periods of time. We're all totally captivated!

Oh, and the picture in the previous post? Kylie and Caleb were so engrossed in their coloring that I couldn't get them to look up ~ unlike Darcy who is happy to smile as long as you let her see the picture. So I used one of the oldest tricks in the book and said, "Hey, what's that out the window?" Both Kylie and Caleb fell for it, but they do look rather confused... I more chose the picture because of Darcy's smile! Kylie is making so many efforts to engage Darcy, and Caleb keeps talking to her and then saying, "Mommy, she not yis-en when I say Dar-hee." I keep trying to remind him that right now she is used to being called Qing You (pronounced "Ching Yo").

I'm sure I'll think of more later, and there is still more to share about the later parts of today, but my eyelids are growing heavy...


Jason said...

Kristi -- Leslie and I couldn't stop thinking about you last night. We are glad Darcy is finally with you and will be praying for this transition time. Your post captures your emotions very well ... and as I read it I find myself going along for the ride with you.

Kylie and Caleb are going to be great siblings ... and of course you and Ian are going to be wonderful parents to your newest little girl.

See you all soon!

Anonymous said...

She is so beautiful. Too bad she can't understand that right now. But with you and Ian as parents, she will soon see herself as the beautiful and wonderful child God created her to be. And in my opinion it is always okay to be Mamma Bear protecting our children however we need. And is far as I am concerned, she can't have too many momma bears protecting her (you have a volunteer in me!) Her smile is out of this world adorable and I thought from the picture she looked like she and Kylie were a lot less than a year apart. She must be really tall. I am glad you are already seeing small glimses of all the wonderful moments to come. Praying for many many more wonderful moments. It won't be long before she realizes just how much she is loved!!!


Kathy said...

My heart goes out to all of you. But I truly believe the worst is over - whatever comes will be buffered by the knowledge that Darcy is loved by the whole family. And she is surrounded by people who dearly adore her and know her beauty. My prayers will continue that she feels your abundant love. She is so precious.
Love, Grandma of THREE

Grandma Shultz said...

That precious baby trying to hide her face because she has had people be unkind to her about it - breaks my heart. Thank heavens I know that each one of you looks beyond that and loves her unconditionally. Also, I am surprised that they didn't have someone there who could intrepret for her. How frustrating for all of her that not one person could understand her.

You two have such wisdom. Spending a complete day in the hotel room where you could just be a family and all of you could become relaxed around each other.
Darcy's smile is so beautiful. Kylie is such a sweet child, you can see that she is really trying to gain Darcy's confidence.

I'll continue to pray for all of you - the new M family of five.

Love you, LaoLao

Shannon said...

OK I am now in a puddle of tears ...of joy and awe and wonder and compassion etc...My heart melted at her not wanting to show her sweet face and then to see her hold your cheek like that and look at you and plead for you to understand her...deep sigh....oh sweet Darcy...if you could only know how much your sweet mama longs to understand and know your sweet thankful that there is ONE who understands and knows her heart even now and can comfort her and empower you to be able to comfort her as well. Looks as if prayers have been answered!!I know it has not been easy but it does look as though things are going quite well after the initial uncertainty of it all for her. So thrilling to see the three of them playing already!! Oh how we can't wait to meet her and play too!!
Hearts bursting with love for all of you!!

Cindy M said...

Okay, what is with you and the tall girls?! :-) She looks so little in the picture to me. Maybe it's just her sweet little face. She is just beautiful. I love her already. I must admit that I'm choking back tears, thinking about that moment with her ducking her head. Oh, the language barrier must be killing you! BUT love has no bounds, and she will quickly see the strength she has in our Lord through you and Ian. She is exactly where she's supposed to be.

Love you all!

Tricia said...

It breaks my heart to see her duck and try to hide her face from you. I know she'll quickly learn how beautiful she is and how much she is loved by her family. I'm wondering if she is sleeping in her coat. :)

Much love,

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, rip my heart out and throw it on the floor! The thought of her being embarrassed about her birth mark makes me want to cry! She has such a beautiful smile! I am totally captivated! I can't wait to be able to talk to you in person and be able to ask all the questions running through my mind!
The part about Caleb getting frustrated about her not listening when he says Darcy made Adam and I both snort! That is funny.
Claire and Mickey have been following too. (PS they are now engaged).
I love you guys! Tell all of the kids that Aunt Cici loves them!
Talk to you soon!
Aunt Cici
aka Traci and Adam

Nicole said...

Ok, I couldn't help but cry for her, ducking her head, makes me mad the things people say to little babies!

I don't blame you at all for wanting her to know she is loved and in a safe place now, surely now is the beginning of something wonderful for her, for you!

Thanks for sharing, I think Darcy is BEAUTIFUL, that smile is to die for!! She has to be the bravest little one!!

Can't wait to see more of her with her now FOREVER family!

Leslie said...

What a wonderful, beautiful, glorious story has begun in your lives. Thank you so much for posting your story, Kristi. My eyes keep filling with tears. I've thought about you all so much in the past 24 hours particularly. I hope that things continue to go well, and we will be praying for you and your beautiful baby. She is just precious. Sounds like from the other comments (and from my heart) she has LOTS of new momma bears. Watch out, world! Here comes Darcy! Can't wait to meet her.

Harsch Family said...

Nena, Malee, and I have been following your trip, but today mommy read it alone. And cried. Poor little baby - I am so glad that she is going to have you all as a family. She will learn to be strong from you guys!!
Praying lots for all of you!!

Amy Murphy said...

OH! I'm so excited! Our little boy also spoke the local dialect of his foster parents, so no one could understand him. (There goes those last 6 mos of learning some Mandarin!) His counting seemed to be the same as Mandarin. Some words that he used were "tung woo" which seemed to mean "more, please" and "la luca" which was something like "I want to sit up (or down.)" He said something like "gow" for wanting to be picked up. But he's really good at hand gestures, so we didn't have too much of a problem understanding what he wanted. If I remember any more of the words that he said, I'll post a comment for you. I hope those few little phrases will help (if she speaks the same dialect as Ewen, Zhejiang dialect, they called it.)
Your hotel room looks identical to ours except for the 2 beds instead of our one. You must be in the same hotel. (Lakeview, if I remember it correctly.)
So excited for you! Congratulations!!!!!

Sharon said...

Oh it brings back memories...that incredible conflict of being overjoyed to finally have your child in our arms and the utter heartbreak that they have no idea how much you love them, that they will be safe with you and if only they would just trust you life would be good....just like us and God...

and yes, that incredible arm ache from the fight and struggle,,,mine hurt into the next day....

Hang in there mama were PICKED to fight for her and along side her!!!!

You are absolutely beautiful Darcy!!!!

Ann Marie said...

Hi Kristi,

Hugs from one port-wine-stain mommy to another. Once you are home I will share with you what our guide said on our second adoption trip about what Nora's life would have been had she not been adopted. China is not accepting of differences particularly cosmetic ones. Your family will teach Darcy to be confident and that she was made by God perfectly...that plus laser treatments will leave her a whole new girl. Love to all of you,

Ann Marie

Jess Danielson said...

She is absolutely beautiful!! I pray she feels safe in time and lets you all in! Good idea to stay in to eat for a day or two-walks around the hotel are always good to break up the small cramped room time!

Rachelle said...

Darcy is beautiful. So glad she is in your care now. So many memories of those first few moments with the boys when you described her fear.... such a huge moment in her little life. Oh how this makes me want to get back on the adoption wagon.... Soon...

Emily said...

She is so beautiful!! Love seeing your THREE kids together.

Praying for you all in these earliy days... and for sweet Darcy's heart, especially!

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing these moments with us. Darcy is beautiful and with a little one with a visible "need" I know very well how you are feeling and wanting to protect and comfort her small heart. God knew exactly who she would need to protect her and raise her to be so very proud of who she is. Sounds like things are going well. I pray you all are getting some sleep. I had to go back and look at the previous picture and then giggled at the big kids' expression - but desperate times call for desperate measures, ha! :) Love it. I will be stalking .. waiting anxious to hear all about the next adventures.

Jenny Wheelis said...

I have cried many tears and I have read your post three times! Thank you for sharing your full heart- pain and joy! I am praying for all this wonderful bonding time you will have in the hotel with your THREE kids and that God will pour out His love on all of you as you walk through the healing His love will bring to Darcy. May your family time be sweet.

Laurie said...

Gosh, those first few hours must have been so tough for you - wanting so badly to comfort her and just not having the words. Thankfully children learn to understand our actions rather quickly, so I bet she'll catch on soon that you're all going to love on her like crazy! She's so beautiful, Kristi, Blessed 3 times- how awesome if THAT!!??!! I think the "stay in the room" plan was a good one- time is just what she needs. And markers and dress up clothes. :) What a great mom you are!

Jen Barbee said...

Oh Kristi - what a heart wrenching time you had. But how joyous that Darcy now has you and Ian to make her know how beautiful she truly is. While we were in China the Chinese stared at Mia and talked about her lip. I didn't have to speak their language to know what they were saying. I'm so glad Darcy now has a Mama Bear to be her safe place!!!

DiJo said...

Hi Kristi!
Congratulations.. She is DARLING!!!! And, so brave!
I am so happy that I just checked Sharon's blog where she has your link.

We leave Wednesday for Changsha where we will meet Sienna Grace who is 4.. Your words about communicating with her in the beginning just touched me to the core.. But, thank you for reminding me to just pray and breathe.. And, to listen for God's guidance.. The photo of her touching your face is priceless!

Blessings to you and your precious family!

Amanda said...

What a beautiful little girl! I am so happy for your family and pray her adjustment goes quickly and smoothly.

Lilly said...

I absolutely love the pictures of the sisters chatting together. It looks like a great conversation they are having. I can easyly picture them again 20 years from now and doing the exact same thing. Your daughters are so precious and of course cannot forget about the man in the house...all boy on the floor playing with cars!

Pam said...

Oh tears.... sigh....that beautiful girl hanging her head to hide her face is absolutely heartbreaking. We received some negative comments in China regarding Kate's birthmark, too. In fact, one of our AWAA guides even said, "Now you WILL be able to take care of that when you get her home,right?"

Darcy is a beuaty and I can't wait to see her blossom in your family!

Debbie Sauer said...

She is just precious! Congratulations. I am really looking forward to all of your updates and pictures. Blessings, Debbie

Jenn said...

What a darling, beautiful, precious daughter you have been blessed with!!! Seeing her want to hide her face made me cry! Sweet girl!

I'm praying for you as you all adjust over the next couple of days!!


Donna said...

Oh my. That photo of your face in sweet Darcy's little hands just kills me.
Darcy is such a beautiful girl and in now in the perfect family for her to grow and thrive in confidence. We're praying for continued bonding and smooth adjustment.
Love to you all....

Anonymous said...

This story about her hiding her face needs to be on NHBO to show others that mama bear instincts are just that instincts... not forced. We can love our children before we meet them and in an instant if necessary. I love seeing the 3 amigos together!

Melissa said...

Oh, you have me in tears and I am SO glad we brought our computer along with us this week-end....I wouldn't have missed your Gotcha story for the world. What a precious story - and what an amazing picture of Darcy touching your face....that shows so much. She is so beautiful and you are an amazing Mama bear. She's just perfect. I also love the new sibling pictures and I LOVE that she is going to give you a run for your money just like Caleb!! I hope your day was wonderful in the room playing, and that you have all slept some!!! Again, we are so happy for you and are continuing to pray!!!

Gavin's Family said...

Oh My Goodness!!! Your family of five is ADORABLE. I am so happy to see you guys all together.
I even came down with the flu today but I had to drag my self out of bed just to see you guys with Darcy.
If you don't mind me asking what size cloths and shoes is Darcy wearing? Her height and weight are the same as Gavins last time I got an update.
Congratulations on your Gotcha day!!!

Angela said...

What an amazing story..THANK YOU for sharing it! Praying for all of you!

nikimac said...

She is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Renee said...

Darrel and I sat here reading this with tears in our eyes. We are so happy for you all and can not wait to meet sweet Darcy. When we were done reading I told Darrel I am so glad I bought the phone and keys to take with us.
We look forward to reading the rest of your adventure.

Lisa said...

Oh Kristi! I tried so hard to catch up with you guys and read your posts in order but I couldn't stand it! I jump straight to your meeting!


I'm praising God through tear filled eyes at the wonder of how our awesome God brings these precious children into loving arms!

KayLi was so good at nonverbal communication because not even the SWI staff understood her. But there were many moments like what you described. It can be heart breaking. Praise God that it passes quickly. And praise God for toy telephones!

You have been prayed for even though I have been away fro my computer for awhile. I'll continue to pray for a smooth transition. Smart move on staying in for awhile...

kimberly said...

Thank you for sharing how things are going. It brings back such memories for me of getting our Sara 18 months ago. God has blessed each of you with His grace and love. Keep the post coming!
Kimberly ("Tingle" as Stephanie calls me)

Nancy said...

That so broke my heart reading about Darcy putting her head down and crying. But I am so overjoyed for the M family! We will continue to pray!!! HUGS!

TanyaLea said...

Oh Kristi, this is SUCH a personal journey, and I appreciate you sharing these special moments with all of us. I loved reading about your 'gotcha day'...but my heart absolutely ached when I read about how Darcy tucked her head and began to cry, partially because of her self-consciousness. No child that age should even know what it means to be self-conscious. The photo of Darcy with her hand on your cheek, looking you in the eye is definitely a tugger on the heart-strings, too. You just keep showering her with love and kiss all over that birth mark on her cheek and tell her over and over and over again how BEAUTIFUL she really is! Praying for your mama-bear heart, as I know how much it must hurt.

It's wonderful to see the smiles on her face and the interactions with your family already though! She's BEAUTIFUL...I've always thought so and I STILL think so! It is also fun to see the kids together... watch out mama...I see some teams already forming. LOL!! ;)

Have a blessed week and CONGRATS once again! <><

love and hugs,
~ Tanya

Kristi said...

You are so beautiful,even more so than your pictures we have seen. I'm thankful to God for giving you to your Mommy and Daddy. They love you and will always take care of you. I can't wait to see you in person and watch as you grow. We will have lots of fun play days ahead! We love you and your family!

C.C. said...

Oh Kristi, Darcy is just beautiful!!! She has "Kylie hair!" My heart aches that her little heart has been wounded so much in her short life. But it looks as if the healing is already beginning. I can't wait to meet that sweet baby!!!

Denise said...

Wow, she is just beautiful Kristi!!
Thank you for sharing your heart here. The picture of her hiding her face is so heartbreaking, but I know that with the love of her forever family and her God, she will overcome this! Can't wait to come back tomorrow to see more~

Anonymous said...

Today is my daughters 10th adoption day! We had a very similar experience when the director handed her to me but before we left China she was a changed child! She is now a happy Christian 13 year old that I could not be prouder of! I am praying that things go well for your family too!

Our Journey said...

Kristi - tears were in my eyes as I was reading your post ... she is an amazing & beautiful little girl - and she will soon learn the love your whole family has for her & will never have to doubt that again I'm sure!

Melanie said...

You had me crying...seriously. But my heart was overwhelmed with joy to see the pics of her smiling a short time later. She's a lucky little girl to have you and Ian as her parents. Love you guys, Mel