My Journey to Wuhan
Actually, I've been there twice. The first time was in September 2001. Have you ever heard an interviewer ask an interviewee this question? “If you could relive any moment in your life, what would that moment be”? For me, it would be the moment my daughter was placed in my arms. That moment happened in Wuhan, China.
We had been in China about four days. We'd visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and a Chinese dentist. (That experience really needs a whole other post). Our trip was fascinating and exciting, and the best part was still to come. A bus took us to a four or five story building where we were ushered into a room that looked like a classroom. Twelve families in our group were there to adopt. There were siblings, grandparents and a random uncle who was a bachelor. My husband and I had left three sweet sons ages 11, 8 and 6 at home while we went to adopt the sister we’d been waiting for 18 long months.
One by one, the babies were brought into the room by their respective nannies. I studied the face of each one to decide if she could possibly be a few month’s older version of the small face we met just weeks earlier on our computer screen. Finally, I saw her, my beautiful daughter. She was wearing tiny red socks and a thin blue striped playsuit. She was 13 months old and a few days later at her physical we would learn that she weighed only 14 pounds. To say she was tiny would be an understatement. To say that she was the most precious baby I'd ever seen would be a gross understatement.
The adoption facilitator called our names and we nervously moved to the front of the room. Then she said our baby’s name, Guo Chun Hua. Back in the day when we had been having our children the conventional way, Jimmy's preferred "girl" name was "Spring." I wasn't enthusiastic about this name idea at all and since we never actually had a girl, it was a moot point. Thankfully, in the adoption process, he'd forgotten all about that name and I got to choose her name. Well, part of it anyway. Come to find out, Chun Hua means "Spring Flower.” The adoption agency shared this information during the very first phone call when we were told about her. Since “Spring” was indeed part of her name, this was precisely the moment that we knew that she was, in fact, our very own daughter.
As families received their babies, after about 10 seconds every single baby in that room began to scream. It was normal for this to happen. Every single one of those babies - except ours. Micah just looked at us curiously as if to ask, "Where have ya'll been?"
That was our "Gotcha Day," September 9, 2001. Two days later, we woke up to the horrible news about what had happened at home. It was shocking and scary to think that we were on the other side of the world and planes were not flying. But God held us through that, and we returned home a few weeks later, only about two hours behind schedule, toting our very precious cargo, Micah Chun Hua Smith.
The second time I went to Wuhan was last summer when we took our daughter back on a heritage tour to see the country of her birth. Again, fascination and excitement prevailed. The best part of that trip was when we got to travel about two hours to the actual city where Micah was living before she was brought to Wuhan to meet us. We had asked to visit the Social Welfare Institute where she lived. A welcoming committee met us. There were gifts, speeches and a fancy banquet style lunch. And did I mention there were tears? It was so, so special. I will never forget it.
Until about six weeks ago, you probably never heard of Wuhan even though it's a city of 12 million people. The fact that a scary virus originated there has given it an extremely negative image in the minds of most. Most, but not all. Now, instead of those troubling images of people wearing masks and disturbing looking meat markets my hope is that you will have a new image in your mind. One that shows a tiny girl with her forever family.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’.” - Jeremiah 29:11.