Just A Moment in Time

We all get overwhelmed at times with the complications of life. And sometimes God will take one of those profound events that has absorbed our life and insert an almost insignificant nudge just to remind us that He is, and has always been, in control. And it always comes at just the right time!

International adoption has many facets including volumes of paperwork for the U.S. and for the foreign country, communications and coordination for travel and for medical concerns, and, finally, adapting to your new child while your new child adapts to you. Dealing with foreign countries and their cultures can be almost alien at times. We began our first adoption journey in 2000. This is a snippet from that adventure!

Erin in Her Silky Yellow Dress and Red Jelly Shoes
Erin in Her Silky Yellow Dress and Red Jelly Shoes

The taxi bus dropped us off at our hotel in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China, on Sunday evening, June 11, 2000. After a year of paperwork and waiting for the clearance to travel, Charlotte and I, with our oldest daughter Cara, arrived in China to adopt our new daughter, Erin. Two ladies from the orphanage brought Erin to our room an hour or so after we checked in. She was dressed in a silky yellow dress with red jelly shoes. It was an emotional meeting for everyone: for us, for Erin, for the orphanage ladies and even for our guide. There were no dry eyes. Erin was scared. We tried communicating as best we could but never really make a breakthrough. After the orphanage ladies left us, our guide told us to be in the lobby with Erin in about twenty minutes; we were taking a taxi to get family and passport photos.

We rode to the shop in a Toyota Corolla cab. My wife, our oldest daughter and our guide rode in the back seat. I was in the front seat with Erin on my lap. At six-foot-three and two-hundred-and-none-of-your-business pounds, I shoe-horned myself into the seat with great difficulty. This amused our driver. My head wedged up into the roof liner, my knees pressed on the dash board leaving my feet to swing off the floorboard, and my arms snugly wrapped around Erin on my lap. She sat rigidly and sniffled during the entire trip. It was a hot and rainy night. It felt like film noir as we rode through the dampness and darkness. Everything seemed to be in black and white.

We stopped in front of the shop – there was a black door in a white cinder block building; a window edged away from the door to the right. An empty, white display shelf stretched out behind the window. We walked inside. There I saw only a glass case like one would see at a jewelry store – it was empty too. A black curtain hung across an opening in the back of the room. A grungy man in a white t-shirt smoking a cigarette dangling ash about an inch or so stepped from behind the curtain. He spoke with our guide briefly. I was not sure if we were here for pictures or to meet Mr. Big. We followed our guide into the back room which served as the studio. A dark red backdrop blanket hung on a wall, two wobbly stools stood in front of the blanket, and a young lady, presumably the photographer, stood by a small camera on a camera stand.  Other than that, no furniture adorned the room, there were no windows, and, beside with the curtain to the front, there was a small opening into a hallway along the back wall. And Mr. Big never stopped by. The lady, the grungy man and our guide spoke among themselves as we began our photo session.

Erin's First Day at Home
Erin’s First Day at Home

The session went quickly and we loaded back into the taxi to head back to the hotel. I had my left arm holding onto Erin as we drove the night time streets of Fuzhou. She sat just as stiff as before. There was some small talk coming from the back seat but I sat quietly and looked at the city. It was dark and still rainy; the buildings were dancing in the shadows and through the rain drops on the window. Suddenly and silently, Erin moved ever so slightly. She relaxed and leaned her head back onto me. She quit sniffling and began breathing more evenly. Then she wrapped her little hand around my thumb and began to squeeze it. She briefly looked up at me and shot a wisp of a smile. I was shocked to say the least. I did not move. She continued squeezing my thumb and playing with my other fingers. In the big scheme of things, the moment was almost nothing. No one heard or saw what had happened save for she and me. And I would not mention it to anyone for a long, long time. But this was one of the most unforgettable moments in my life. After months of paperwork, talking and listening, waiting and then traveling to China, wondering what we would find and where it would lead us, I received a simple but profound validation of what we had done. For in that instant, Erin and I transformed from a father and a daughter to a daddy and his little girl.

12 Comments

    1. Thank you very much. I was honored when James offered me a guest post spot. I knew this post would fit nicely in his blog. My blog has moved more into photography but I still stick some adoption stories in from time to time! I appreciate you looking around – hope you enjoy what you see!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I can replay the moment in my mind in slow motion. And that was 14 years ago. Erin is a senior in high school now getting ready to go to college majoring in elementary education. How fast the time goes!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I appreciate the comment and the like!

      I have been at this blogging for about two months now. I don’t see much from adoptive father’s points-of-view. Erin (the subject of this post) is now a senior in high school and preparing to go to nursing school. Stories about the kids will pop up from time to time. Come by again when you get a chance.

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