Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A day like no other.

Our instructions were to wait in the hotel dining room for Jack.

We sat at a large table with three other couples. The young servers were pouring coffee and smiling with excitement. They knew what was happening and were so happy for us. Everyone was really chatty eating their breakfast and drinking coffee. Except me.

I could barely swallow. I had no appetite. My chest was tight and heavy, I could hardly breathe and I felt like I might throw up or burst into tears at any moment. I'd never felt so much emotion before in my life.

Everyone was doing their best to try and calm me. This was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. And I was scared to death. This is not how I imagined I would feel.

At 8:30am Jack appeared in the dining room and said the magic words "The babies are here. Let's go!" The entire table immediately said to us "Go. Go get your baby. You go first." We jumped from the table and practically ran to the elevator.

We got in and looked at each other. I don't remember if we held hands or said anything to each other. I just remember thinking "This is it. This is what we've been waiting for. It's finally time. We are about to meet our daughter." I couldn't believe it was really happening. I could feel goose bumps spread from the top of my head to my toes.

The elevator stopped. This was it. Oh my gosh. I felt like crying again. We got off the elevator and started walking down the dark hallway. We could hear the babies crying so we walked faster. I couldn't wait to get in that room.

The door was open. Towards the back of the room were several men standing around chatting. I had expected to see sweet nannies. Not men. Two babies were sitting on the queen size bed crying. The other two were being held. I looked at them all wondering which baby was ours.

One of the men asked us our name. He pointed to a man holding a baby. He handed her to us. He said something to me. I have no idea what. I was just staring at her and smiling. She looked different than we imagined. Her face and eyes were not the same as the picture. Her head was heart shaped and her eyes were so sad. She was incredibly shy and timid and very, very small.

Suddenly there was a lot of fast-talking. The Chinese men were huddled together talking to each other with worried looks on their faces. They were looking at papers and the babies and us. Something was wrong. They had made a mistake. They had given us the wrong baby. The minute they put the second baby in my arms I knew she was the one. She too looked different than the picture. But the eyes were the same. She had the same bright, big, brown eyes.

They told us her nickname was Dong Dong. All the commotion really scared her. She was crying so hard she couldn't catch her breath. Even when she finally stopped crying she couldn't steady her breathing. I held her tight and kept whispering to her that everything would be all right.

She was so beautiful. Her brown eyes were so huge. Her pink lips round and full, and her skin so smooth and soft. Her cheeks were pink from crying and her face was moist from her tears. Her little teeny hands held onto my finger. Her body was so small and thin. We held her tight in our arms so she would feel safe.

The other families started trickling in. There was so much joy and excitement in the room as we all met our daughters for the first time. We were all congratulating each other and hugging and laughing and crying. We were so happy. It was over. The long, long wait was finally over.

**This was my first time participating in a writing club assignment with Red Writing Hood and The Red Dress Club. I haven't written an assignment like this since college. It's not perfect. But I did it!

The topic: Write a memoir. Imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? 700 words max.**

And here's my little Dong Dong from those first 5 minutes.

Elli "Dong Dong" and Don. Day one in China.
August 14, 2002.


  1. An absolutely beautiful story to match an absolutely beautiful granddaughter!

  2. Wow, I'm so full of emotion for you. What an amazing few minutes, when you first met your daughter.

    I just love that photo too...

  3. Kris - this is so poignant and well written. Thank you for sharing.


  4. wow. amazing! How am I supposed to work now? I'm crying like a baby! :) The stars aligned that day for you guys because Elli was a perfect match! You should keep writing Kris and document the whole experience in a memoir. You could take Dad's class but it's a little far to drive. LOL

  5. So beautiful! Thanks for making me cry! :)

  6. Kris, this is beautiful. Wonderful story, powerful writing and a priceless subject! I got goosebumps. I'm so glad I have the pleasure of knowing you and little Dong Dong!

  7. Tears. Burning, stinging, predictable tears. :-) This is an amazing story. I love that you knew the first baby wasn't Elli. I love that you knew her before you knew her. Thank you so much for sending me this link. I adore these stories of hope.

    We thought we may have had a lead on a private adoption. It sort of fell in our lap this week, without solicitation, and as much as we knew not to get excited, we did. I just got off the phone and it looks like it's already fallen through, so this story has given me the strength to know that it will happen when it's suppose to happen. :-)

  8. Oh, wow. I had missed this one first time around. What an experience, and you described it so well. I was riveted. Like I was there with you.


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