Us becoming a family of three happened in an instant.
From the time Lottie was placed in her mother's arms to the time, 10 baby girls later, Hallie's mom reached out to hold her for the very first time, less than five minutes had gone by. Honest, the time stamp on my camera says that it is true. Eleven families grew by one ~ and perhaps because it was a shared delivery room of sorts, we grew into one extended China family ~ in that crowded, hot room in the Guangdong Civil Affairs office back to back to back.
Yet despite how quickly it passed, it is one of my eternal moments.
Somewhere in that five minutes of chaos, I became a mom.
Oh sure, technically becoming a mom didn't happen quite that fast.
It's not like we walked into a room and someone handed us a baby unexpectedly.
There were years of longing, weeks of seeking His will, months of paperwork, many more months of waiting to be matched, weeks of waiting for travel, hours on planes, and then the last excruciating moments making small talk with the couple beside us (little did we know then how much their friendship would mean to us as our girls grew up going to church together), comparing baby pictures as we nervously waited for the moment to come.
No, I didn't come by motherhood in an instant.
It was however, that very moment when my empty arms, the arms that had craved a child of my own, were satisfied.
Along with my arms, my heart too became full, so full that there had to be a release of the intense emotion. And as I walked back to our seats, arms full this time, I wept tears of amazement and gratitude and wonder.
While I had (and still have to this day) so very much to learn about being a Mommy, part of me was forever changed in that instant. It was as if flat white light had passed through a prism and the rainbow of color burst through. Suddenly meeting the needs, feeding the hopes and encouraging the dreams of someone else colored my world like never before and those things became far and away more important than I ever could have dreamed. She was so tiny, so helpless, so unable to do those things for herself.
Over the last six years she has grown from that chubby baby I carried 24/7 into a willowy girl showing more independence with each passing day. She is maturing into a beautiful young lady who is seeking to understand her story ~ and the story of her beloved China sisters ~ on her own terms.
In His infinite wisdom, He placed us together, this daughter and I. Six years later I am still humbled to the core of my being by the honor of hearing her call me Mommy.
It has been one of my greatest joys in life to love her, earn her trust, and have her love, truly love, me in return. We may not share DNA, but I am hers and she is mine.
**Kristin, Darby, Sarah, Marisa, Olivia, Caroline, Nellie, Grace, Hallie and Lottie, we truly consider you and your families as our extended family. We wish you all a very happy Gotcha Day and look forward to our next reunion!***