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Thursday, June 16, 2011
On the day we met Mei Mei, the director of her orphanage and several caregivers traveled with six babies to Guangzhou. In Jiangxi Province, when we met the Tongginator in 2005, officials gave us the opportunity to ask questions both on the day we met the Tongginator and the following day, our formal adoption day. With Mei Mei, we had about two hours to talk with the caregivers, during an extremely emotional time.
I’m glad I wrote down my questions ahead of time, otherwise I wouldn’t have remembered a thing.
We learned our daughter’s nickname, although I’m not sure how often they used it with her. With 25 to 30 babies in a room, and only two caregivers, I’m sure they had their hands full simply changing diapers and making bottles. We learned a few facts about Mei Mei’s daily life, but even the two caregivers disagreed on some facts, so I don’t feel too confident about all of the information. We didn’t receive a developmental report, nor did we receive a written schedule, so we’re learning about Mei Mei as the days inch forward, just as she is learning about us.
When I talked with Mei Mei’s favorite caregiver, I peppered her with questions, asking everything from “is there anything you remember about the day she first came to the orphanage?” to “what comforts her?” to “did she have a cribmate?” It was that last question that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Because, y’all, we are traveling with a family from Minnesota who adopted their daughter, Nixie Knox, from the Tonggu SWI on the same day, in the same room, that we adopted the Tongginator. And their newly adopted youngest daughter, Little Lola Lopp, is from the same orphanage as Mei Mei.
Even more special is that Little Lola Lopp and Mei Mei shared a crib.
They were cribmates, y’all.
Which means our two oldest knew one another in China before we ever met them. And our two youngest knew one another in China, before we ever met them. This doesn’t happen… or at least I’ve never heard of it happening before, not in real life, and not on-line. When Mei Mei’s ayi pointed to Little Lola Lopp after I asked about Mei Mei’s cribmate, I called out to my travelmate and friend, the Queen of Quincy, to tell her the news. Tears welled up in her eyes. They welled up in my own. And when the ayis saw our tears, they asked our translator what was going on. She shared with them our story.
And they cried, too.
Even the director of the orphanage became emotional when he heard.
The connection our two families share, because of our four girls, will always be with us. I can’t believe our two youngest shared such a special connection during their first year in the orphanage. And I can’t believe that our two oldest, already so connected, were able to become big sisters together.
The sting of the five year wait has disappeared for me.