Waiting for our third adoption was greatly influenced by the SARS outbreak in China.
For a couple of weeks it was uncertain if this adoption could be finished in time, for Erik
was near his 46th birthday, the absolute endpoint to adopt under Dutch law.
In June it became clear that the epidemic was at its end. Waiting became almost unbearable now... Finally, on July 16, 2003 we received
the referral of Zhu Shouping, a nearly three year old girl we named Dido. On the first
schoolday her sisters Ajiet (7) and Lotus (5) wore a T-shirt with her photo to show her
to the world. Only one week later the four of us were on our way to China.
We had a very good flight and arrived in Beijing in good shape. The bad news was that we
had to hang around all day in a hotel lobby before flying to Hefei in the evening.
The weather was very hot, so we returned quickly from a walk outside. After a long wait
we finally went back to the airport. We arrived in Hefei in a thunderstorm when it was
already dark. We met with mister Ding, the same guide who helped us adopt Lotus three
years ago. Our travel group was quite small, three families in total. One family
travelled with a grandmother and their first daughter, from the third family only the
mother travelled to Hefei.
Mister Ding told us we would meet our daughters the next day at three o'clock.
So we were permitted a long night sleep, which was very welcome. The next morning we
had some time to kill. The children were even more impatient than we were. We walked
the familiar streets, for we adopted Lotus from the same province.
The rain of last
night had driven away the hot weather. At least for one day, it was nice and relatively cool outside.
We were looking
for an Internet café, and after a lot of asking around found one in an unexpected
place near an open market. We sent some messages home and I made some photos at the
market. Then back tot the hotel, we dressed up and waited….
At three o'clock our three families were in front of the Peony room in our hotel.
We carried camera's, video camera's, toys, water, cookies, paperwork. We even tried
to discuss camera tactics to catch 'the moment' for all families.
However, the door
opened, we got in and we all got the children the moment we entered. So far for camera
When I entered I saw a nanny with a girl in a blue dress, that didn't look at
all like Dido so I walked on. The nanny pointed enthusiastically towards the T-shirts
of Ajiet and Lotus that showed Dido's referral photo.
At that moment I knew the girl
in the blue dress was my daughter.
Was it romantic? No, it was hectic, getting inside, putting stuff down, hurrying towards
the nanny who already had wanted to give Dido to Erik. Erik had his hands full of things
and also felt the child should be given to her mother. Dido started to cry when I took
her, but she did not fight. She was just so scared. She cried and cried. Her sisters
could not believe it finally had happened and kept asking: Is this Dido? Yes, here
she was! It was so good to finally hold her, after all these months of waiting.
We did not recognize her, for they had cut her hair very short because of the heat.
She was so small and light as a feather. She was not happy. Mister Ding gave us more
than half an hour just to sit with our new daughters, before starting paperwork.
We talked to the nanny and were told that Dido had been very excited when she had
heard that her papa and mama came to get her. At this moment she sure was not
happy, but I felt that her age (nearly 3) and the fact that she knew she would
be adopted helped her greatly in the transition.
Paperwork went very smoothly, and it was our third time. So no surprises here. We made our fingerprints and Dido had her
little feet put in red ink and onto the paperwork.
Dido had stopped crying and was posing with her sisters. She started to
get interested in her new family.
In the end we returned to our room. At that point I realized
that everything had changed. You had left that room a few hours ago with two
children and now you were back in that very same room, clothes lay in the same
place you left them, but…your family had changed forever.
Ajiet and Lotus showed Dido the toys we took with us and they played, all three of
them, on the bed. Dido had stopped crying during the paperwork and was happy ever
after. One hour in the room she was laughing and jumping on the bed and chasing
balloons through the room.
Erik and I sat and watched and tried to take it all in. Some moments I felt too
much happened in one afternoon. We felt so happy to see our family complete.
We just looked at Dido to take her in, to watch her play. She was not familiar
yet, we knew nearly nothing of her. But finally we were together.
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