July 11, 2012

Family Day.

Seven years ago today I woke up in a beautiful room at the White Swan Hotel.

It was 4:00 a.m.

I laid there, on the hardest mattress I've ever felt, and tried my best to will the hands of the clock to move forward. No matter how hard I tried to make those hands move, they hardly budged.  I spent the day trying to make those darn clock hands move and by the time 2:00 p.m. finally arrived, and we met our guide and the other families in our group, I was exhausted from doing nothing more than waiting.

We boarded a bus and drove to the Guangdong Civil Affairs Office. 

This was the day Eric and I would finally meet our girls and become parents for the first time.

As we approached the Civil Affairs Office I felt sick -- really sick.  I had to stop for a few minutes outside the building and lean over just to catch my breath.


We entered the building and took a small elevator to a fourth floor conference room. It was July in Southern China, and the room was warm and stuffy.  A long, highly-polished conference table stretched down the middle of the room and seemed way too large for the space.


Our guide called the first family in our group and a nanny entered the room with a baby.  I took pictures of the smiling parents with their new daughter. A second family received their daughter and then a third.  More pictures were taken and the room started feeling heavier with heat and humidity. 


Our guide called out, “Shuang Bo Tai,” the Mandarin word for twins.

It was finally our turn.

Eric and I made our way to the front of the room.  A nanny in the doorway was holding Michal's hand.  She was wearing a pink-flowered dress and matching sandals that were much too big for her feet. I reached down and picked her up.  Kenna stood just behind her holding the hand of a second nanny.  Eric lifted her up.  She softly patted his back as he held her.


“Hi, baby girl,” I said to Michal.  I’m your mommy.”

She stared back at me but didn’t cry. 

Eric and I traded babies and now a small, sweet hand was softly patting my back. I felt fiercely protective of these two little girls and had the slightly unsettling knowledge that I would stand in front of a speeding bus if it meant sparing either of them just one moment of pain.

Motherhood, it struck me, is that miraculous moment when indescribable love overwhelms you and you know nothing will ever quite be the same again. 

I felt the soft pats on my back again and, for the very first time that day, I didn’t want time to march forward more quickly.

I wanted the moment to last an eternity. 


Happy Family Day baby girls!  I love you to the moon and back.


  1. I am not sure how I found your blog, but I've followed it for a while. Beautiful post, thanks for sharing. Your daughters are stunning.


  2. Anonymous9:54 AM

    This was beautiful and I remember the day I first read this when you were in China meeting the girls for the first time. Has it really been 7 years? Wow!

  3. Happy Family Day Kristi! And I always tell our girls that I love them to the China Moon and back and dancing on the stars. We'll be celebrating Cate's 7th united as a family day on 8-28 and Cara's 9th anniversary on 9-1. Just reading your post, I can feel the heat and humidity of those summers past as well as that overwhelming feeling of love when the daughter you dreamed about is in your arms BTW, The Vintage Pearl has a great "I Love You to the Moon and Back" necklace. They changed it to "We" for me and added charm with their American and Chinese names to go with it.

  4. Oh Kristi...I have tears of joy. I know what an incredible mother you are, just from reading your blog, so I imagine you're even more amazing in person.

    You've been infinitely blessed with your two beautiful girls.

    Happy Family Day.

  5. Beautiful! Happy Family Day!

  6. Happy Family Day!

  7. Janet H.4:55 AM

    And babies make four! So beautifully written Kristi! Thank you so much for sharing your stories with all of us. I hope you had a wonderful family day with a little dessert before dinner. :-)

    Janet H.

  8. Anonymous9:50 AM

    We were waiting for our daughter from China when you traveled for your girls and I remember reading your posts and celebrating with you at the wonder of it all! Happy Family Day to your girls. We are all truly blessed.


    Proud mama to Amelia MeiYun, a sassy six year old, born in PRC

  9. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Congratulations on celebrating another wonderful Family Day!
    I just realized that we share the same date . . . we received Anna Kathryn last year, in Guangzhou, on July 11!
    You describe the hours and minutes leading up to "the moment" perfectly!


  10. Happy Gotcha/Family day! I loved this post.



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