Monday, December 24, 2007

Is It Possible...

...for the best day and the worst day to be the same day?

We began the day yesterday full of hope and excitement for an early ceremony uniting us as a family. We woke early and were off to the center with our two traveling companion families to see our babies. We hoped our fourth trip to the center would be our last. We longed to collect our child and begin our lives together. But, it was not to be...

After visiting an hour or so, we were told to return to the hotel and wait. We were not to checkout (not a good sign) and not to leave our rooms. So, we waited. We finally received a call...check out at 1 and head to the center. Get DoriGrace and go to the Justice Department by 3 for our ceremony. We hurried to get our things downstairs so they could be loaded on the bus.

We drove the bumpy, busy route to the center and found the children waiting for us on a blanket in the center room where we'd spent a great deal of time in the last four days. We played, we waited, and we fed. We laughed, we joked, and we stressed with each tick of the clock. Two thrity...two forty-five...three...three fifteen...three thirty...still no word. With five o'clock approaching, we finally found someone to ask. "Please be patient" we were told. I physically and emotionally can not leave this child again. I can not. Period. It ain't gonna happen.

Finally, the phone rings. The nannies whisk the children away from us and dress them in the finest they have to send them away for the first and last time. Our princess in a bright pink shirt, white pants with pink embroidery and pink and white high-top tennis shoes. We are off..."quickly...quickly."

The workday is ending. The streets are busier than we've seen in Can Tho. The driver finally pulls to the curb. We are off the bus, scurrying down an alleyway into an official building with throngs of people already waiting. We are taken to a large office with a conference room and asked to be seated. It is almost five. One of the Cline girls is sick...turning green...not complaining, at this point she is my hero!

The clock is ticking...we are waiting...surely if the ceremony is cancelled we can take these babies back with us. Surely. I can't possibly go in to details, as I am not entirely sure what happens next. People are coming and going. We are waiting for the official to sign our documents, to have this ceremony we have been waiting for. But our guide says, "Go...Let's go...all done." And we are off; exiting again through the stares, back down the ally to wait for the bus.

We are filled with joy! We are on our way...HCMC...the oasis at the end of our desert is on the horizon. On the horizon, it won't be long now. No, just a five-hour white-knuckle ride. No seatbelts, no car seats, no rules. The stress was almost more than I could bear. The beds of my non-existent fingernails were now throbbing in pain and I found myself singing...."Jesus take the wheel...just take it from his hands."

As we near the city the traffic increases...so this is the "frogger-like" traffic we'd heard about. With each street we pass, the traffic builds and builds until the bus is no longer moving. Hordes of scooters around us and we are in total deadlock. The driver makes the decision that we'll walk...we'll walk...with three babies...three children (one so sick and medicated that we wonder if she can even walk) and TONS of luggage. We begin packing up, placing the babies in carriers and getting off the bus. We are met by two bellmen, one with a luggage cart, one with a wheelchair. We are engulfed in a crowd unlike any I've ever experienced...it must rival Time Square on New Year's Eve. The exhaust from the scooters is stifling and so is the heat. I cover DoriGrace with a blanket in an attempt to shield her from sensory-overload. WB grabs his dad with one hand, with the other hand he pinches his nose to keep the fumes at bay.

We inch along through the streets, following two Jerry Lewis-like bellhops, one dragging a luggage cart, the other pushing a wheelchair packed with luggage. The noise is unbelievable. As we walk, I see the terror in my son's eyes. It is Christmas Eve, 10:30, he should be home. For a moment I am filled with guilt so I do the only thing I know to do, "Baby, Mom's so proud of you. You can open your presents as soon as we get to the room. Hang in there baby!" He smiles. I glance under the blanket. The baby is sweating, with eyes fixed and WIDE open, as if to say..."What in the world have I gotten myself into."

Fortunately, the walk wasn't too far, but it did seem like forever. We make it to the hotel. We check in. Even in the lobby, the noise is so loud that I can't hear WB talking to me. I wonder how in the world we are going to get any sleep and we start again at 8:00 a.m. for physicals and a passport for the DoriGrace.

We are exhausted and overwhelmed when we enter the room. I didn't know it was possible, but we have an interior room...no window...no noise from the street. What a miracle!

I unbuckle the carrier, take DoriGrace out and lay her on the bed. She stares up at me with a smile, this tiny, precious girl who has yet to cry, just smiles and coos. She is AMAZING, simply AMAZING. It is all clear now. We are all where we are supposed to be this Christmas, no doubt. We gather around our babe. "I know we started kind of rough, but we're a good family...really. Welcome to your new life baby girl!"

We are blessed beyond measure! Merry Christmas everyone!

3 comments:

Nadra said...

Merry Christmas Leigh, JB, WB and Dori Grace....

Miss Val said...

Merry Christmas Booth Family, John, Leigh, Walker and Dorigrace!

Tonight during Candlelight Service at Church Lori and I were sitting by each other anxious to hear from your family. As I read your post and all you have experienced the last 24 hours, the song we sang tonight, Away in a Manger, came flooding to my mind. I am sure Mary and Joseph could relate to the day you had. You are now holding your future and hope, that Jesus gives all of us.

Happy Birthday Jesus! Merry Christmas to all!

Love you guys, and thanks for letting all of us share in your joy.

Miss Val

Chuck and Jean Anne said...

Amazing...just amazing. Hang in there!

Merry Christmas!

Adoption Timeline

  • 01/01/08 - Home at Last
  • 12/24/07 - G & R
  • 12/18/07 - Travel
  • 12/7/07 - Travel Packet/VISA Authorization
  • 12/06/07 - I-600 Approval
  • 11/16/07 - I-600 Received for Review
  • 09/26/07 - Referral
  • 03/23/07 - Log in Date
  • 02/23/07 - Dossier to Vietnam
  • 02/08/07 - Dossier to Agency
  • 08/08/06 - Switched to Vietnam Program from China Program