Suddenly, there she was. Months of anticipation, waiting, hoping and wondering all came to an end. Bundled up in layers of coats, rosy red cheeks, and adorable pigtails. This was the moment we’d longed for.
It was such a joyful time for us, but even still there was a layer of sadness close the surface of my emotions for that day. About three hours away from that cold room in the Civil Affairs office was another mama equally as broken, devastated, and sad for this day she had known and selflessly hoped would come: Lydia Kate’s foster mama. She had sent us a carefully and lovingly written letter, telling of her love and care and hopes and dreams for our girl and making sure we knew she had “loved her as her own daughter.”
A small photo album was filled with pictures of our daughter from the time she was a tiny infant, all the way up until the week she was brought to us. There was such a smile of pride on her face as she posed with our daughter. We spoke to the kind ladies from the orphanage about her foster mama. They communicated to us in Chinese words but said much more with their eyes as tears flowed.
Lydia Kate came right into my arms. She kissed my face. She never cried. She was so brave. Without a doubt, she had been prepared for this day.
She had been prepared for this life altering transition in way so selfless that it hurts to think about. We sat down and began flipping through our family picture album we had sent and were surprised to learn that she knew who we all were.
Time was taken. Love was given to her on our behalf. “Thank you” is not enough.
I then gave her a baby doll that we brought for her. She propped it up on her face and began kissing it, and sniffing its neck. I knew then that this was something that had been done to her as a sign of endearment. She knew how to nurture, to show love and affection — something which is not typical for the scenario we were in. According to the books we’d read, we would have to teach her to do these things.
It turns out that being in a loving foster home was teacher enough for our Lydia Kate. She had been given the gift of secure love. She was able to more easily trust us in this crazy difficult transition because of that. We got in the van to return to our hotel, and she never looked back.
As we got settled into the hotel room, she got too hot in her many layers of clothing. Tears came and my heart broke into a million pieces as I peeled the layers of clothing away. Lydia Kate’s precious foster mama had dressed our sweet baby so carefully that day. Everything she wore was brand new — even her socks. She had planned and prepared for her gift of love to our daughter to be shown even down to the tips of her toes.
As Lydia Kate played contently on our bed in the hotel washing her new baby with a wet wipe, wrapping it in blankets and loving it, I watched and reveled, as I still do today, at the depth of honor and gratitude my heart holds for this woman. You see, she was the first one to influence the lens through which our daughter will forever view the world.
Our daughter knew love from a young age, at her most vulnerable of times — a foundling — because of this precious woman and the amazing foster care program that Love Without Boundaries provides. That has and will forever make all the difference as she continues to acclimate to life in our family as a beloved daughter, life as an adoptee, life as a Chinese-American, and life as a person with disabilities — all beautiful parts of who she was created to be!
Currently, Lydia Kate is thriving. She is walking (doctors weren’t sure she ever would), running, climbing stairs, playing at the park and making friends at preschool.
She loves life. She loves her mama, her daddy, and her brothers.
All because of a devastating beginning becoming more beautiful through the love of a precious, selfless foster mama and now, from her forever family.
We are and always will be forever grateful.
~Elizabeth is the proud Mama to Lydia Kate and her brothers William and Anderson. She and her husband Jason live in McDonough, Georgia (USA).