January 26th… ONE YEAR since we first saw our Julianne!
Some call it “gotcha” day. Nope. I’m not going that route. That day was HARD. Hard for us, hard for her. We got something, and it was a lot of anxiety. So, no.
Some call it “family” day. We’re saving that one for the day when all six of us finally got to be back together again.
So, we go with J-Day. After all, it was all about Julianne on that bitter cold January 26th.
There are so many memories that flood our minds from that day. It felt even more surreal than the time we went to the hospital to have our firstborn daughter! I suppose some of that had to do with the fact that we were in CHINA! So. surreal.
We got to the office building. It didn’t stand out from the buildings around it at all. I don’t know, I guess I was expecting it to have a flashing sign with cheering crowds and a party happening in honor of the event. It felt SO BIG to us, and yet everyone was just going about their business like it was any other Monday.
It wasn’t. They just didn’t know. It was J-DAY!
She was so timid, and rightfully so! But she didn’t cry. Didn’t scream. Just stared at us like we were aliens from a different planet. And in some respects, she was correct.
I was so afraid to reach out and touch her, like, if I did, would she run screaming down the hall or burst into the tears I felt sure had to be just beneath the surface?
She did not.
She had learned to assess situations before reacting to them.
We gathered her up, and headed to a grocery store to load up on some snacks and supplies.
She was NOT a fan of sitting in the grocery cart seat, but neither was she a fan of holding our hands or being held by us. So, we made it through the trip, flinging some money at the check-out in hopes that it was the right amount, desperate to just be back at the hotel so we could breath and take in the fact that we had our daughter!It took a while for the smiles to be real. For the longest time, she would laugh maniacally and run around like a crazy lady just touching everything she could.
The schedule the orphanage staff gave us said she took naps at a certain time every afternoon. Not THAT afternoon! Not on J-Day. Think about it… you’ve been handed over to complete strangers, taken to a strange place, given as much of anything as you want, and now they expect you to RELAX AND TAKE A NAP??
And who can blame her?
J-Day was beautiful, and so hard. Taking an orphan by the hand and leading her into her family has been the best and most difficult thing we have ever done. She knew that we were “mama” and “baba”, but she didn’t know what that meant.
Now she does.
I am feeling all the feels today, and who can blame ME? She doesn’t understand the significance of this day yet. People have asked what we plan to do to “celebrate” it. Well, nothing extraordinary right now. She gets to go to preschool today where they are having Pajama Day, and for her, that’s about as good as it gets! One day the reality of what happened January 26th, 2015 will sink in and mean something, and when that happens, we will honor her decisions in regards to how she wants to acknowledge or not acknowledge the day.
January 26, 2016.