Tuesday, July 1, 2008

5 years ago...a love story began

Grace's referral photo-Fu Lan Li. Lan Li means 'beautiful orchid' and that she certainly is!

5 years ago today, the phone rang in our home in Geneva, IL in the early afternoon. The caller ID said 'unknown name.' It was Bethanne, our SW from our agency. Now in those days there was no Rumor Queen, just a May 02 DTC yahoo group called the 'Maydie bugs' that I belonged to and would get a little bit of information from, but you didn't find out ahead of time when referrals were arriving. SARS had shut down the China program for about 6 weeks right before we were due to get our referral. I remember I was heartbroken, but felt in my heart that it would all work out somehow. I was completely surprised by our SW's phone call on July 1, 2003 and then what she proceeded to tell me...you and Dan have a daughter! She then went ahead and told me all her specifics, her name and what province and SWI she was from, and the little bit of info she had. My hand was shaking as I wrote it all down and I was crying very hard as we spoke. I still have that piece of paper from that day 5 years ago. The next day we received Fu Lan Li's referral in person, and saw her pictures for the first time. They were presented to us in a small card with a Chinese paper cutting on the front. I was so nervous opening the card...and then we saw her face for the first time. I don't show people Grace's referral pictures very much, I'm not sure why really but I feel like they are something for us and her to share and kind of private. There were 3 photos, the first one is the one I've put with this post and the one that I fell deeply in love with. Though I loved Grace before I saw that picture, I gazed at it and saw the most beautiful baby girl I'd ever seen and fell in love immediately. I know families who received their referrals and told me it took a while to warm up to their child's first picture, but not me! I saw this child, the one I'd waited almost 10 years for with infertility treatments and losses. She was the one God had chosen for us. Her mouth looked like my Dad's(and mine) and she had my round cheeks. When I look at that picture now I see our Grace at about 5 months of age, looking a little sad and perhaps tired, stuffed into a fleece jacket and maybe not too happy about having her picture taken at the time. That photo of her still makes my heart skip a beat. Our lives have changed so much in the last 5 years, Grace has brought us incredible joy and so much love to our family. We are eternally grateful. So on the anniversary of Grace's referral I think of all the families waiting for their children. My heart is with you always, you will have your referral day like we had 5 years ago and your child will be the one that you were meant to have.... and your love story will begin.

13 kind words:

The Morris Family said...

...and so, another chapter is beginning in your love story, Gail. One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 2:9...each day with our Maggie, something happens to remind me of this truth...that we can never, ever imagine the wonders God has in store for us...as good as we think it'll be...is only the beginning! So excited for you- and keeping you all in prayer.

Paula said...

I love Grace's referral pic. What a story! How exciting for you and now you get to do it all over again!

Story of our Life said...

((HUGS)) She is just as sweet and beautiful today as she was 5 yrs ago.

Sometimes I see referal pics and then the kids a few yrs later and doon't think the kids look anything like they did as an infant. (Even my own kids look SOOOO different then they did as infants) Seeing this pic...seeing her today...she still has the same beautiful features.

What a beautiful little gem youhave. She sure is sweet!!

Tell her I'm proud of her backfload and jump ins today. (I did see her do them even though we were chatting. :) )

OH MY #6 said...

Beautiful post. I love it. Gave me chills.

have a good day friend.


Angie said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing with us and giving those of us who wait hope. Without those of you who have already been down this road, I don't think I would make it. You and Miss Grace are an inspiration to me.
I hope you all had a great time celebrating her referral day.

Steffie B. said...

Just beautiful Gail....I love reading people's memories of their special journey to their child! ;)

Have a great day....

Ashley said...

Gail, that is such a beautiful post. Reading about you getting "the call" brought tears to my eyes. I try to imagine what that moment will be like. It leaves me breathless just thinking about it.

Thanks for sharing your love story. You really do give those of us waiting, hope....

redmaryjanes said...

I love your post. Grace is a beautiful child. I am so looking forward to seeing her with Will. She looks just beautiful in her referral photo. One of the best ones I have ever seen.

Kerry said...

Oh- thank you for sharing your story. And as you are beginning another chapter, this must be such a wonderful time of reflection and excitement. I also loved reading it because we are close to Geneva, in fact I worked at the courthouse there for many years and I volunteer for SR. I can just picture your story and love seeing Grace's adorable little face.
Happy Anniversary to your family.

Christine said...

Thanks for the thoughts. I love her Chinese name - how beautiful.

Gail said...

First let me dry my eyes.

A beautiful referral picture and a beautiful child.

Happy Anniversary.
The first chapter in your love story. It was a beautiful post.
Looking forward to future chapters with Grace as the big sister and Will in your arms!

Mark & Terri said...

That's a beautiful post, Gail. Thank you for sharing such a special story.

Lady in Waiting said...

Makes me all teary - it is SUCH a great thing! BLessings!!!

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