China was quite the journey, exciting and fun, yet stressful and nerve-racking at the same time. The jet lag the first two days was extreme. We found ourselves wanting to sleep during the day and sitting up through the night. On the third day we met Kacey Xing-Yu Powell. The night before our meeting was sleepless. It was a lot like preparing to go to the hospital the day before the birth of a child, except with Kacey, we knew we were getting a child that already had a personality and physical limitations.
“Gotha Day” arrived and I can’t describe what it was like to gather in a room and wait to meet your child. After we found a place to sit in the room with 15 other families, I made a beeline to the restroom and there she was. At a sink outside the restrooms, washing her hands, I spotted my daughter. She had her back turned to me, but I knew it was her because she was wearing the same dress that I had seen in so many pictures. Tears welled up in my eyes. There she was: the little girl that we’d been praying for, dreaming about, and working toward bringing into our home for months.
As I passed her, I stopped, looked down and said, “Hello Xing-Yu.” She smiled from ear to ear and said, “Hello,” seeming to recognize that I was her new daddy. I watched her run across the room to her orphanage workers, then turn back and point at me with a huge smile.
After ten minutes or so, they called: “Powell family.” That meant it was time to be united. We walked forward. Then out of a room she came and embraced us, saying, “Hello mama and baba.” It was a time of rejoicing. We gave her gifts, met her orphanage director and nanny, and took a lot of photos. However, the joy was short-lived.
After fifteen minutes, the room began to clear out. Her orphanage director and nanny left. It got quiet. There we sat with our new daughter, not able to communicate, and tears began to trickle down her face. Within a few minutes, she was weeping and began to wander the hallways of the building searching for her orphanage director. She eventually found him in a room signing documents.
She entered the room crying and began to speak to him in Mandarin. He tried to console her, and at this point our hearts were sinking. We were in a group with several other families, all of which had adopted much younger children who were not aware of what was really going on. However, Kacey was very aware that her life was about to change drastically. She refused to leave the building, and in China, any orphan over ten years old has to agree to be adopted.
Her orphanage director agreed to walk out with us in an attempt to get her closer to the bus. She had to be pulled onto the elevator to go down to the lobby of the civil affairs building. She cried the entire time. While all the other families held their infants and toddlers, we were almost in tears as we struggled with our teenager. After exiting the building, she spotted her orphanage director’s car and walked to the door wanting to get in and return to the orphanage. He kept pleading with her to go with us, but she refused.
So, there we were, in the parking lot: she’s clinging to him saying ‘no’ and the rest of the families are in tears on our behalf. Finally, my fatherly instincts kicked in and I ask our guide, “Can I pick her up and carry her to the van?” She said, “Yes, that is the best solution.” So I swept her up, told her that I loved her in Mandarin, buried my head against her stomach where I could actually hear her heart beating, and started walking to the bus. I could hear the families around me crying.
I entered the bus, went straight to the back seat, sat her down, and had our guide explain the process to her in Mandarin. She was required to stay with us one night before the decision could be made. She wouldn’t look at me on the ride to the hotel. However, once we arrived, she had come to terms that she would be spending the evening with us.
To make a long story short, through the course of the evening, we worked hard to win her heart. By that night she was sitting on the bed with us laughing and playing games. The next day she signed the documents to become our daughter and the rest is history.
There is so much more to tell about our experience in China and the journey to rescue our daughter. All I can say is that God is good and his mercy endures forever. He has shown us so much grace in this process and we are very grateful. We love God, our family, our church, and our new daughter beyond what words can describe.