09/09/09 Another Milestone

5 Years ago we officially became a family of 3. I have already told the story of our "Gotcha Day," which is a phrase used by adoptive families to mark the day that the parents and child "got" each other and became a forever family. It wasn't until just a little bit ago, that I realized that this seemingly innocent phrase was so controversial in the adoption community. I won't go into the details but if you Google "Gotcha Day" you will find the strangely heated discussions. Honestly, I am continually amazed by how certain types of people look for something negative in anything they can. Well, for the Millers, "Gotcha Day" is an endearing and powerful phrase that we use to celebrate our union as a family. It doesn't cheapen the bond, it doesn't imply any selfish desires or motives. People who want to be miserable and nitpick everything under the sun can do so, but it won't stop us from celebrating one of the most amazing days of our lives, a day that will continue to change us forever.

The story I will share today, to add to the previous blog post on last year's "Gotcha Day" is about the day we traveled across the China countryside to visit the orphanage in Fuling City where Gracie spent the first 10 months of her life. Since I seem to be on a theme of emotions the past few posts, I'll continue my trend. We visited the orphange 1 or 2 days after "Gotcha Day."

First of all the trip in our tour bus with our new daughter and the other 4 families and their new daughters was an amazing experience to all the senses. The vivid bustling cityscape, the sound of millions of people carrying about, the smells of markets, and the many other overwhelming sensory experiences we had. It was amazing to go from streets and masses of people to rural countryside with farmers living in grass huts in a matter of minutes. After a couple hour bus ride, we arrived in Fuling and went to the 1st Social Welfare Institute, Gracie's home for most of her life at the time.

Upon entering the emotions were intense. Seeing all the little children in little walkers was amazing. The all scooted towards us as we entered with our guide, Michael, and toured the facility. It was actually nice by most standards. We could immediately tell the orphanage nannies and workers cared very well for the kids. The next part was probably one of the most intense experiences we have ever had, the room full of baby cribs where all the babies slept. Seeing where our new little girl spent all her nights was so moving, words simply cannot begin to illustrate. The head nanny tried to show us where each of the girls had slept. We took pictures, then just took in the moment. We saw many other parts of the orphanage, and eventually got to see pictures and plans for the new and improved orphanage. By the time we returned to our hotel that day we were so physically and emotionally exhausted we could barely walk and stay awake. It was truly an amazing day.

It is still incredibly amazing to me to recall our journey and how we became a family. God truly orchestrated everything and for that we are so very thankful.

I will post some additional pictures of our trip to China in 2004 tomorrow. Check back for some links.


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