i have never shared much about what bella's "gotcha day" looked like. the day we first met bella was such an incredibly emotional day. the first time we touched her skin, held her in our arms, stroked her hair, listened to her laugh...it really is still too overwhelming for words. i have tucked away in my heart much of that day. many of those moments. it is mine to treasure. i am certain it won't fade. we have some video taken of our meeting. i am not even sure who was filming, but we have it. funny thing though, we haven't once sat down to watch it. i don't need to. i have the play by play so imprinted in my memory, i am not sure i will ever need video. i am sure a day will come when we will want to share it with bella, and for that i am glad.
there is one thing about that day, however, i do want to share now. i have wanted, all along, to tell the experience of that first evening. after arriving back at our hotel, new child in arms, we had to attend a meeting with our guide and the other adoptive families. it was mostly a paperwork kind of meeting. one parent stayed behind in the room with their child and one parent attended the meeting. i stayed. rick attended. he came back later that night and told me the most amazing thing had happened. while our guide, simon, was going through the files on each of the children and giving the parents different forms and information he opened up bella's file. rick said, "all of a sudden simon gasped." while going through her file in this meeting he had come across a letter. the letter was from bella's biological parents. we had no idea it was there. simon was stunned. he told us it was highly unusual to find a letter. almost unheard of. we were told a year ago, in her referral file, a note had been left stating her birthdate. but that is all the information we thought was given. no one seemed to know anything about this letter. it was a complete surprise to all of us. simon sat at the conference table and translated it as he read out loud. there wasn't a dry eye in the room. all the other families were transfixed as well. after rick arrived back to the hotel room and told me what had happened, i wasted no time grabbing the video camera and heading back up to the 28th floor of the hotel in search of simon. he graciously agreed to re-read it and allow me to video. i have shared this video on facebook and you tube....but have always wanted to share the actual words in my blog. so...on this uneventful thursday evening, almost two months later, i am now, finally, getting around to it. it is worth capturing.
"this poor baby girl at the first moment after she was born she was diagnosed with heart disease. and both of us, her biological parents were from a poor family. we could not afford the expense of the inpatient medical treatment. we were not willing to see her staying in pain. we had no idea. we had to abandon her. it is hard to tell how painful i am. we do hope some people with great loving hearts and some good doctors could help this baby girl and give her the medical treatement. thank you so much."
i probably don't have to tell you what a treasure this note is. an obvious and amazing gift. someday we will be able to share this note with bella. someday our little china doll will read through this blog and she will know her story. someday she will listen to simon's reading of the note. someday she will understand how much her biological parents loved her. even in her abandonment she was deeply loved. i cannot imagine a more perfect ending for our "gotcha day" on july 19th. i went to bed that night completely overwhelmed with how loving and generous our Very Big God is. i am tickled knowing He saved for us this surprise...on this very night. bella fell asleep that night while her mama whispered into her ears, "baby, you have been loved and you are loved."