Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Busy and Productive Day Filled with Celebration and Mourning

Today was such a busy day. Things will die down tomorrow since the paperwork isslowing down, but today was still very busy. The day started on a high note with all of us traveling back to the registration office to receive our official adoption certificate. So as of this morning, Liliana legally became our daughter. This was a highlight of the day. It was filled with tears and claps and many pictures. We also traveled to the notary office to complete several documents there as well. In both places we had to pay fees and present some gifts.

We stopped back at the hotel to grab a quick bite to eat before heading back out to the bus to head to Louyang, the city where Liliana's orphanage is. We had togo to the city for completing her passport. The ride was two and a half hours long on bumpy roads with crazy traffic in a private bus that felt like it was stick shift and missing several gears. Liliana napped on the way.When we arrived in town, we headed to a police station. The place was mobbed with people conducting all kinds of business. Getting Liliana's passport photo took forever. The people taking the picture had too many jobs to do and so they were multitasking way too much. The computer they were using had a slow processing speed, and the program they were using had difficult requirements for us to meet in the photo. Basically, the person at the computer clicked the photo but the program judged if it was picture that we could use or not. It took two photo shoots and a break in between because the photo people missed so many possible shots and also made Liliana cry (I had some respectful but direct words for them ... amazing how fast that Daddy Defense Button kicks in). In the end, it took me sitting her on my lap and holding her head in place along with one of our guides talking to her and making her doll dance above the camera to get a good picture.

The next things we needed to do was re-photocopy several pages because this particular office decided last week that it wants only photocopies on A4 paper (which is slightly larger than our standard 8.5 x 11). Once that was completed, an officer inspected our documents, quizzed us as to why Rachel was not here, and eventually approved our passport request. Thank God for CCAI and their rep Rita for guiding us through that experience.

Once finished, we headed to the orphanage where Liliana spent the first nine months of her life as well as months seventeen through roughly twenty-four. The time in between was spent at Maria's Big House of Hope getting treated for an illness and the months after twenty-four and to the present were spent at the Swallows Nest. So this orphanage is where Liliana spent the first nine months of her life as well as several months leading up to her second birthday.Liliana did not seem to recognize the outside of the building, but once inside she did say several things in Chinese as she pointed to different play rooms. Iheld on to her the whole time and reassured her that we were just visiting and we would leave together. It was crazy to see rooms I have seen in pictures and on short You Tube videos. But there they were. The last room we visited was the crib room. Several nannies were in the room. They appeared to have positive and gentle interactions with the children. One was sitting in the corner feeding a child his/her evening bottle and holding the child closely. The room was fairly clean. Two babies were in each crib. The cribs were rather large and well made. Since it was getting close to bedtime, all of the children were in their cribs. So many orphans being left behind. That was difficult. How I pray that each one of them would be adopted by someone.

While in this room we met a nanny who turned out to be Liliana's nanny. She remembered Liliana clearly, and I recognized her from a photo we have at home. Liliana recognized her as well. We got to spend a few minutes together to greet each other and say good-bye one last time. We captured several pictures of her with us. Both Mom and I gave her hugs and thanked her for taking care of Liliana. Mom was able to give her one of the extra gifts we have here ... such a small token considering what she gave us. She was such a sweet woman, and I am so thankful that she cared for my daughter while God worked on bringing her to us. May she know Jesus and be a light of peace for him in a very dark place.

By now it was time to leave. We had snapped so many pictures, and it was getting late. As we got on the bus, Liliana began to cry. She's such a deep little girl, and I am certain she was mourning her loss. Yes, it is an orphanage, and yes it was cold and dirty in some parts, and yes it is nowhere near as good as being part of a family, but for our little girl, this was once home, and home is never easy to say good-bye to. One day Liliana will be able to look back at this orphanage with the perspective that age, time, and wisdom bring - today though she is just sad to say bye-bye to a nanny that loved her well.

As we drove out of town, I sat there with my daughter on my lap, wiping away tears, holding her close, allowing her to mourn, and praying God's peace over her life as I myself shed a few tears both for her loss and for her inability to truly know what joys lay ahead. How often does God shed such tears for us as we travel this life not knowing the joy that He has laid ahead and mourning the losses of this life?

The bus ride home was long, dark, and bumpy. I think we left parts of that rickety bus all over the highway. Tomorrow we hope to go to Swallows Nest, and since that is where Liliana spent the last ten months of her life, I am sure it will be a more difficult visit. Pray for our little girl. She had two big days these past two days and another big day coming up filled with emotions a two year old should not have to face. Yet in that sorrow God can still be found. He is nearer than we often think, and the trials of the orphans are close to his heart. 

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