As excited as I am about the start of the Olympics in London, I can't let this day pass without remembering that four years ago today we had just met the future-love-of-our-lives in a city called Nanjing, China.
We don't celebrate this particular anniversary per se, since her adoption is still a bit of a sore subject for Q, who still remembers the visceral loneliness of having no parents. But every year at this time I revisit our photos from China.
This first photo was taken by the director of Q's social welfare institute, Ms. Tang, who was good enough to document the pre-adoption days for us on film. This kind of care and attention from an SWI is fairly rare, so we are fortunate. This is a photo of Q seeing our photos for the first time, thanks to a care package that we were allowed to send while we were waiting for permission to travel to China.
Another pre-adoption photo that was sent to us by the director during our wait. Q used to hold a hand up in front of her mouth, presumably to prevent people from touching her mouth while her cleft was still open. She continued to do this until after her first surgery.
The room in which Q spent most of the first year of her life. I can now recognize that that's her in the second bed back.
Several of the best days of our trip, prior to meeting our daughter, were spent in Beijing with our wonderful tour guide, Leo (both of us, oddly, wearing contrasting orange stipes). We could not have hoped for a better introduction to China than Leo who, despite his youth, was extraordinarily smart, open and informative. He really did China right for us. We had such a blast with him in Beijing!
The beautiful Ms. Tang herself, with Q on adoption day. We are so grateful for all she did for us, and all of her very open and caring communication before, during and after the adoption.
Me about to walk into the adoption office on the day we met Q.
Ms. Tang, me, Q, and our Nanjing guide with the adoption certificate moments after the official adoption ceremony.
|Mike and Q at the French café in Guangzhou, waiting for the final steps of our adoption journey.|
A vegetable market in the backstreets of Nanjing.
Learning to be a father: Mike feeding Q in the French-colonial streets of Guangzhou.
A Chinese magazine stand in Beijing, just hours before the start of the Beijing summer Olympics (and yes, customs was hell-on-wheels that day at the Beijing airport...six HOURS of hell-on-wheels, followed by nearly 30 hours of air travel back to the US)
And...our girl today.
How far she has come.
How far we have all come.
And, as you can clearly see, what an amazing job our surgeon has done! Major props to Q's genius of a plastic surgeon, Stacy Folk M.D., and also to her speech specialist, Theresa Snelling, MA, our ENT Tyler Lewark M.D., our pediatric dental specialist Scott Smith DDS MS, and the rest of our brilliant team of cleft specialists.