After more than two weeks and over 15,000 miles and.....  it could have been easy to miss. Without all that context, it was nothing overly significant. Our new daughter was merely still misunderstanding this strange babbling that came from our mouths, and taking a cue from her bath and teeth brushing session, she just assumed it was time for bed next right? That is what my jet lagged, food poisoned, road weary brain settled on initially. "Should we let her go to bed?" I asked my wife. We both agreed that we didn't have much of a choice. I would then get yet another display of my wife's amazing unconditional, sacrificial love, as she sat beside the bottom bunk, to provide comfort for Gia Pearl ChunYu as she drifted to sleep, for the first time in her new bed, in her new home. (I purposely didn't use house) This act would have been heart-moving in itself, but I left out the fact that my wife has the same jet lagged, road weary symptoms as I do, plus one of the worst colds she has had in long time. But she put it all aside, to ensure her newest daughter would feel safe, secure, and loved, the most important things a child can ever experience.

The easy to miss part? Ah yes, I'm getting to that. You see, initially, I just thought, "she is tired," and "she doesn't understand what we are saying," and "she is used to going to bed after bath and brushing her teeth." But it wasn't until I replayed this in my head, and had a chance to look at the pictures that it hit me. I'm very thankful for Gia's orphanage, the Social Welfare Institute of Shijiazhuang, and all they provided for her the last 8 years. But she slept here...

... among the myriad of other beds, children, and whatever else. Can you imagine this? The minute I met Gia and saw this little girl smile at me, I could see the courage in her eyes. All I can say is that it was immeasurable, and I knew it without a doubt. You see, I think all these orphaned kids, in China, and everywhere for that matter, are so brave and resilient, that it is both heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time. But to be able to smile like this when meeting 4 total strangers, who are going to take you away, that is immeasurable courage. Gia Pearl ChunYu Miller, to me, you are the bravest.

Now it still hadn't quite fully clicked with me but remember, I'm still reeling a bit. As I was reviewing how surprisingly awesome the road trip was today, despite a rough start to the Pacific Standard Time day, I quickly remembered how silly with happiness Gia was for most of the trip, at least while she wasn't sleeping sweetly on Amy's shoulder. But in particular, the last 30 or so miles when we started saying "we are almost home!" she seemed to understand what we were saying. We didn't get the Chinese "huh?" like we usually do when we tell her things with motions, looking like we are playing a game of Pictionary©, but instead we got a bigger grin and much squirming in her car seat. Kind of like this...

Additionally, we had sent Gia a small booklet upon being matched with her quite a while back. It includes pictures of us, and other family members, with labels in Chinese, so her nannies and teachers could introduce us and prepare her for when we came to meet her.

Well, the last page, my brilliant wife, decided to include a picture of the front of our house, so Gia has looked at this image for months...

As we neared mile # 15,324 or something like that, and as we turned up the tiny gulch that goes to our house, we opened up the booklet and showed her the picture of the house. We then slowly approached our street and came to a near stop and pointed out the front of the car, in the precise spot the picture was taken from, to create the exact same image out the car windshield as through the plastic of the photo album. Her bewilderment was priceless! The picture was no longer just a promise or image. After pulling into the drive way, and me not being able to resist showing her the automatic garage door opener, by pressing the button on the mirror (like any good tech geek dad would do) she then took it all in. We never even made it downstairs to the toy room! I tried to video some of it, but it was just so real and authentic, the video will merely document the occasion, but won't do it justice.

That is when I missed the significant part of the premature, and giddy bedtime. Gia Pearl ChunYu Miller knew something... Actually I think she knew somehow that this last day long drive was the final step. She just seemed so happy and content in the car, the very thing that made her violently ill the first few times we traveled with her. It was then that I think it finally fully clicked for her, and came full circle. This was HER bed. (Better yet, she got to share it with one of her sisters as Gemma would be on the top bunk!) I'm sure some of the giddiness was due to the stuffed animals, colorful blankets, and treats left by some dear loved ones, but I'm even more convinced she wanted to go to bed uncharacteristically early, because she knew she was in her very own bed. Not a temporary albeit fancy Hotel bed, but HER bed. She was finally HOME.

Welcome Home Gia Pearl ChunYu Miller. We have been waiting for you for longer than you, or we, know.


Unknown said…
Awesome accounting of the whole trip Simon and Amy. May the transition go smoothly and the family grow together seamlessly.

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