We started our second adoption as quickly as we were able to, only about six months after we returned home with Nova, so that our dossier would be ready to send on Nova’s one year family day. We did this primarily for peace of mind and because we knew the waiting periods were extending. We had talked about being comfortable with a 2-3 year wait. Since our profile was so specific (we requested a child with albinism and younger than Nova to maintain birth order) we felt the wait would be very long. Still, we felt confident in our choice, and that both our children would benefit from having someone who looked like them and from the same country of origin in their family.
Before our dossier had even sent, we received our matching call- you can read the full story here. We were completely shocked by the timing. It was quite surreal.
Our wait to travel ended up being six months because our dossier hadn’t shipped yet (we found out later that adds up to two months because it’s a massive document that has to be translated).
Anyway! We finally did arrive in China at the beginning of July. I’ll share more travel photos in my next post, in this post I am just going to focus on meeting Marigold.
We arrived in Nanchang, China, the city where Marigold’s orphanage was. Our hotel was shockingly nice- one of the nicest hotel room we’ve ever stayed in. My sister Emma was traveling with us for the first part of our trip, and of course our daughter Nova. We had Japanese for dinner and could not wait to wake up the next morning to meet our baby girl.
A few hours later we met up with our guide and she took us to the government building where we would meet Marigold. I was horribly nervous. Nova seemed unphased. After maybe 20-30 minutes of anxiously waiting, they brought in our little girl!
Our first moments with Marigold were so calm. As much as I had tried to have no expectations, I remember being very confused that she wasn’t crying. I asked her orphanage representatives if she seemed ok to them- they said yes.
She was incredibly calm. She didn’t seem happy or sad- she just seemed blank. I felt that any minute she would burst into tears- but she didn’t. We left the government building pretty much tear free (ok, I cried a lot). And headed back to the hotel for lunch and naptime.
The way China adoptions work is so surreal because within an hour or two of meeting your child you are feeding them, changing them, getting them ready for a nap… it feels like a dream at first.
When we arrived back to our hotel Emma and I took Marigold up to our room while Jeremy and Nova went to get lunch for everyone. While they were gone, we sat on the bed and played with Marigold and suddenly we were seeing smiles and hearing giggles. It was one of the best moments of my life!
Marigold was smaller and more delayed than we were expecting. This is super common in China adoptions, but it still took a bit for us to wrap our heads around it. She was 18 months old, but most people we met assumed she was about six months old. She wasn’t walking or talking at all. For all practical purposes she was more baby than toddler those first few months.
These are a few photos from our first night together, at dinner. It was cute how much Nova was trying to help. Marigold had a pretty open palette and it wasn’t difficult to find foods she liked. She only had four teeth when we got her, so we focused on mainly soft foods. Her favorite food was noodles and congee. We noticed pretty quickly that she loves savory food over sweet foods.
The next two weeks in China were a dream with her. Don’t get me wrong- going from one to two kids is challenging in a lot of ways, but she made it a little easier by being the most easygoing baby.
Because she didn’t cry much or show signs of trauma in China, we had a feeling that our bond would take more time to form- and that was true. It took time before she began to see us as her family. It took a good five or six months before she cried when being handed to another adult- but eventually it started happening.
Marigold completed our family in all the best ways! She is super curious and sneaky and is completely obsessed with music. We are so in love with her and grateful every day that somehow the stars aligned for us to become her parents.