When we received the referral picture of our beautiful Fu Hui Ping from Linchuan, Jiangxi Province, we received very little information about her other than some sparse medical statistics. Determined to learn more, I found Peggy Gurrad's website, and contacted her. She informed me that most of the children under the age of 3 were in foster care. Since our daughter had just turned 3 (b 4-25-97), we assumed that she was in foster care, even though this was never officially confirmed for us prior to travel.
We fell immediately in love with out daughter through her picture. Every time the song came on the radio, "I Knew I Loved You before I Met You", tears would well up in my eyes. We read much literature about adopting toddlers and toddlers from foster care. We knew that children who were well-loved and cared-for would be more likely to bond well with their new families. We also knew that they would grieve deeply before that could happen. Still, we anticipated meeting our Olivia with great joy, and deep down hoped that she would immediately accept us. Thanks to Peggy Gurrad, we obtained the orphanage address, and were able to mail her a family album, a blankie, and a disposable camera so that her foster mother could take pictures.
On June 25, 2000 on a Sunday night, the scared, shy Hui Ping was escorted into our hotel room clinging to her foster mother. There are no words to express the rush of love that one feels meeting their 3 year-old child for the first time. Her foster mother brought her over to me and pointed to my husband and I and repeatedly said "ba ba (dad), ma ma". Olivia wanted nothing to do with these strange looking people. She clung to her foster mother. I had been practicing my Chinese phrases of love and affection for weeks, but all I could choke out, was "piolian" (beautiful) and "women ai ni" (we love you).
Her foster mother tried to push her to us. Still, she would not come. We just sat on the floor near her and tried to engage her with a ball or a doll. After a few pictures and about a 15 minute visit, (it seemed much shorter!), the orphanage director, the translator and Olivia's foster mother left forever! Olivia was petrified! She launched into a full body slam temper tantrum. My heart broke in a million pieces for her. I prayed for her courage and understanding, and that we would do all of the right things to help her. We sat close to her on the floor at first while she cried and kicked and screamed. She kept calling out her foster mother's name "Mia" and tugged at the door handle. Then, she allowed us to pick her up while she cried. After about 90 minutes, she fell asleep in my arms from sheer exhaustion.
The next morning, she woke up crying, but she did not seem quite as scared as the night before. We had to bathe her, because we had treated her for scabies that evening. Once my husband got her out of the hotel room, and down to breakfast, she calmed down. She was definitely depressed at breakfast, and would not eat. But she did engage me a little with a game of passing her hair ribbons back and forth. By the time we arrived at the adoption offices, she would not let me put her down. So I stood there for 2 1/2 hours rocking her and singing her name and what little broken Chinese I could muster. By that afternoon in the passport office, she had really begun to enjoy being with us.
That evening, we were thrilled to see her eat a big dinner of soy soup and rice! After that, she and I went up to the room, and tickled and laughed and played until she could no longer keep her eyes open! We were definitely in love with each other! We were so amazed at everything that she could do! She could stack cups, play with dolls, write with a pen, eat with chopsticks!, sing and dance! We expecting to nurture a backward child and work hard to help her catch up. No way! She was funny, smart and ornery! And like all parents, we were so impressed with everything our daughter could do. She still had a few more grieving spells the first week, but she would go to no one else but ma ma and ba ba. She would not even engage with people when they spoke to her in Chinese. And she refused with store clerks and waitresses wanted to hold her. She loved us very quickly and very intensely. When we arrived home, she bonded immediately with her jie jie (big sister -10) and her gu gu (big brother - 8). She was curious and comfortable in her new surroundings, but she did not let me out of her sight or her reach for the first month. She kept saying "wo'g ma ma", (my ma ma); "wo'g ba ba", "wo'g jie jie", and "wo'g gu gu."
Olivia has truly had a wonderful start on life. She is embracing her new life with great joy and expectation. She starts preschool tomorrow, and is so excited to take her Teletubbies lunch box with her (even though she is not staying for lunch). We are so grateful to Olivia's foster mother and whoever made her foster care possible. I know that her foster mother must miss her terribly. I think about her often. I pray that she is comforted by knowing what a great thing she has done for Olivia. I also pray that she fosters another baby right away!
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional information or if your child is from here and you would like to post a picture here or other contact information.