Monday, May 13, 2013

Gotcha Day

There are so many countless things to stand amazed at about today I pray as I type I can capture them all for you and for me.  This may be breaking all blogger rules, and may go down in the Guinness Book for longest blog post, but I don't ever want to forget the details of this day, not ever.

We woke up, OK, Scott woke up because I never slept, at 5:00am.  Got ready and headed down to meet our guide in the lobby at 6:15.  We left for the train station to catch a 7:40am train.  We traveled out of the biggest train station in all of Ch*na.  It was overwhelming, terrifying and fascinating all at the same time.  We saw many homeless and it was heartbreaking, we got to experience the chaos of piling through people because they don't create lines for anything, not for tickets, not for entering the station, not for piling on the train.  It was crazy!  I have never been so thankful for our guide.  He is like a body guard, literally.  He makes sure we don't get separated, he warns us of everything, prepares us for every step.  We love him!  He got us boxed breakfasts to eat at the station while we waited because we had to get such an early start.  My stomach was so upset I felt like I could throw up at any minute.  I felt horrible that I couldn't eat any of it.  Scott ate the things he knew would be safe, but there was some fresh fruit in it and he ended up throwing that away, again feeling awful about it.

We boarded the train and that train ride was exactly what I needed.  It was two hours of beautiful and not so beautiful country side, it was relaxing, smooth and I even slept for 30 minutes of it, which I needed so desperately.  In my head I prayed, sang worship music and The Lord really met me on that train ride and calmed my anxious heart and upset stomach.  When we arrived at the station the director and caretaker met us at the exit.  They knew exactly who we were, I'm guessing from the album we sent, or maybe because we were the only Americans.  (haha)  We had to take a long walk to their drivers because in Xingtai right now the farmers are protesting at the train station.  Apparently they were never given the  monies they were promised for their land that the govt. built the station on 3 years ago, so they gather together and block the road way to the parking lot of the station. It was crazy.  Lots of police and military people, lots of people gathered and you could tell they were upset about something even though you didn't understand them.  It was a little scary (especially before we knew what exactly was going on).  However, it was also a funny walk because so many people were captivated by the sight of two Americans and would try and practice their English with us.  Despite the fact that they were protestors, they were very kind, friendly and welcoming people.

We had about a 30 minute drive to the orphanage.  Xingtai, Hebei is BEAUTIFUL!  Such a welcome change from Beijing.  I cannot even begin to tell you the peace that fills the streets in her city.  I saw more children playing, sitting with their parents, riding on the backs of bikes or on their parents backs.  I saw more smiles and people seemed so relaxed and happy.  We took lots of pictures and tried to soak it all in, for her and for us.  It was such a wonderful change of scenery.

We pulled up to the orphanage and were greeted by a few adults sitting outside, then the head of the orphanage and some caretakers inside.  We were escorted up three flights of stairs through a very filthy, dingy institutional type building.  We entered a conference room where they had fresh fruit and hot tea waiting for us.  We stayed clear of the fruit, but the tea was the best tea I have ever had in my life!  We just sat while our guide spoke with all the others.  He tried to take moments to share with us what they were saying.  I think I have shared this before, but Mercy is the very first adoption out of her orphanage.  We are in essence the guinea pigs.  The wait of that hit me hard on the train ride.  If they liked us and we impressed them then maybe other kids in the orphanage stood a chance of being adopted out, if they didn't like us this may be the first and the last.  I do believe we can see God's hand at work for those orphans.  We see now that all the things laid upon our heart to have with us that day may have been for this very reason.  We knew early on we wanted to show up with something for all of the children.  Our friends the Hamakers donated 80 rings pops for us to take.  There are EXACTLY 80 children in that orphanage.  There was one for everyone.  We wanted to take a hat and sunglasses for the other little boy with Albinism that we saw in some pictures.  While shopping for them I ended up buying more in bigger sizes for as he grew.  Well it turns out there are two boys, one is 6 and one is 12, so we had enough for both of them.  We were told to take two gifts, one for the director and one for the care taker, one male and one female.  We took 1 male and four female and that is exactly how many we needed for those represented in the room who have cared for her or played some part in this.  Also, we made it a regular practice to send Mercy letters and care packages every month during the wait.  Through our translator they said those gifts gave them assurance she was going to have better life and they knew we would love her because our letters showed them.  I know in words I can't describe what I want to say about all this.  It's not us, we are just not that good of a people, I truly believe The Lord was at work here and all these things that we were doing, some even out of selfish ambition (like care packages being sent in hopes of more pictures) The Lord blessed it and was using it.

Mercy finally arrived in the room and as we watched her being escorted down the hall I began to physically tremble.  It's so hard to describe the adrenalin rush and emotion taking place in that moment.  The caretakers were not looking to hand her over to her momma though.  They actually took her off to the side and held and talked with her until our guide finally told them to hand her to me.  She fussed the tiniest little bit, but had Lego in her hand and was quickly distracted with pulling them apart and putting them back together.  OK, the fact that she had Lego in her hand was one more confirmation that this girl is a Miller.  Holding her was nothing like I expected.  I thought she would be sweaty and smell, maybe even be dirty.  You could tell they went to great lengths to clean her up and prepare her for this.  She was dressed cute, clean and smelled fresh.  She seemed to "know" us so I'm guessing they did their part to share our album with her more than once.  She was willing to go to both of us at any time, which was amazing.  We took turns holding her, as we signed paperwork in between.  Scott met with the director and caretaker and got ALL of our questions answered (two pages worth).  The other nannies talked to Mercy while I held her.  Others in the room snapped picture after picture.  Her orphanage care takers took more pictures then we did!  No joke.  They were as eager to capture this moment in time as we were.  They took their turns standing next to me holding her and snapping away.  As we left they even wanted everyone to gather out front for a group photo and you would have thought we were famous and the paparazzi had just shown up.  We will be greatly blessed by this because we have all the same pictures as our guide grabbed our camera and snapped away.  Mercy was abandoned right out front of the orphanage gate.  That was very risky for her parents to do, but I find great comfort in knowing they were willing to take that risk in making sure she was found quickly and at the right place.

Our guide came to us and told us that the director decided he wanted to send one of the nannies back to Beijing with us to stay for three days until our Civil Affairs appointment.  WHAT?  They wanted to be sure Mercy would be well taken care of and they thought we could use the help.  This became a very awkward moment that our guide handled very well.  I panicked inside and then prayed because there was no way this could happen, but what would turning down the offer mean?  The last thing we want to do is offend them or have them change their mind.

This little girl has been loved deeply.  Her care takers did not want to "give her up."  It showed in that conference room as they doted all over her, and she smiled for them.  They stalled us being there for as long as possible.  As we left and headed down the road the next thing we know we are pulling into the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant.  They decided that we should stick around and eat with with them.  In my heart at first I was hesitant because this whole day was overwhelming, but we headed in and we were treated like royalty!  They took us into a private room with a huge table and they brought food in, never ending dish after dish of authentic Ch*nese.  We were able to feed our daughter lunch for the first time ever, and they watched our every move.  They laughed at her interacting with us and they just watched and stared and watched and stared.  If I had to guess they were needing more time to make sure we were what they hoped we would be for her.  I think they needed more time to be with her.  The nanny jumped at the chance to change her diaper.  I let her, I mean why not I would have plenty to change in the future and this would be her last.  This little girl was greatly loved by everyone at her orphanage.  It showed the entire day.

We finally left the restaurant and as we got out to the cars her nannies began to cry.  It was heartbreaking and I instantly began to cry too.  Our guide saw what was happening and he quickly separated me and Mercy from the others and escorted me into the car.  I will forever have the image of her nanny standing in that parking lot, sobbing as we drove away.  It is making me cry just typing it now.  The heartache that these caretakers who love these kids go through is also not fair.  They take these children into their hearts and love them to the best of their ability, maybe not in every orphanage, but such is our case.  I'm beyond grateful for it.  It's a curse and a blessing.

We got to the train station only to discover that we would have to wait TWO HOURS for the next available train.  Would you believe that the director and one of the nannies followed us to the train station and walked all the way to the gate with us.  I'm telling you these people could not let this precious little girl go.  When they found out we had a long wait they tried to convince the security officer to let them through without a ticket so they could sit and wait with us.  He did not grant them this request and they fought hard for it.  As we waited exhaustion set in  We were beyond tired, emotionally spent and not so sure Mercy was up for a two hour train station wait followed by a two hour train ride.  I mean at some point this girl is going to wake up to what just took place and the fact that all those familiar faces had gone.  She actually fell asleep on the car ride to the train station and she slept on Scott for almost the entire two hour wait.  She was great on the train, rammy at times, but easily distracted.  We got back to the train station in Beijing around 8:40, had to wait in the crowd for a ride back to the hotel.  We got in around 9pm and we were beyond spent.  Scott and I had trouble keeping our eyes open and she was tired too.  We gave her a bottle and laid her in bed.  She cried when we left the room so we just stayed with her and she drifted to sleep and we all went to sleep.  SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!  That was huge.

I am so sorry this post took so long.  I know you have all been waiting with great anticipation.  It was such an exhausting day and we weren't sure how she would do through the night.  In the moment it seemed wiser for us to sleep when she did then to stay up blogging and I was too tired to think and type.  If we had known she was going to sleep through the night, I may have done it differently, but I didn't.  We are all refreshed today, woke up at 6am this morning and now Scott and I have been facing the reality that we are RUSTY when it comes to caring for a baby!!!  Oh my word, she has kept us busy on our toes and we never even made it to breakfast, which doesn't end until 10:30, but we just couldn't get our act together to get down there.  Scott ran down and brought some food back up at 10:15.

I will be writing a totally separate post about Mercy.  Don't you think this one is long enough?  I will make a third post just of pictures.   Your prayers have been felt and answered in so many ways. We love and miss you all!!!


  1. I am praising God with you for all that has taken place. So thankful to hear that you got sleep. I have been praying all day that you would be able to sleep! Can't wait to hear and see more!

  2. We are praising the Lord with you, and crying our eyes out!! How awesome is God to have orchestrated so many things down to the very detail!! We are so thrilled with you and so grateful to God for the blessing of this day!! Welcome Home, Mercy!!! At the gathering where we celebrated Mercy, Scott opened prayer with "Thank you God for Mercy." What a packed line - YES - we thank you God for Mercy!! And God, we thank you for mercy!!! Mercy in our weakness, mercy in our anxiety, mercy in our efforts, mercy in our helpless state. Thank you now, Heavenly Father, that you have not left Mercy fatherless. Thank you she was treated with such kindness and cared for with such love. Thank you for the knowledge that she was in such a wonderful, nurturing environment. Bring comfort to her caretakers. Thank you, Lord, for peaceful sleep for Scott, Jane, and Mercy. We ask for your continued hand of protection, guidance, mercy over the rest of the appointments and trip. Thank you for your faithfulness and kindness to the Millers. Love you, Scott and Jane (and all the M's)!:)

  3. Tricia sent us a pic of Mercy sleeping on Scott!!!!! SOOOO precious!! The kids loved it too!!!!! We're enamored, Becky

  4. Rejoicing with you at the gift of such love and caring that has been lavished upon Mercy. While it makes her grieving and separation hard for sure, it will also pave the way to a strong bond with you. She knows how to love and be loved. That is a GIFT beyond measure. Tearing up with joy for you my friend.

  5. oh my - the tears are rolling. This is such an amazing story. His story, really.

    God is good.

  6. Happy Gotcha Day Mercy!

    Your mom wrote a beautiful post to describe a most beautiful day. We are thankful for answered prayers.

    May the "Lord bless you and keep you;
    The Lord make His face shine upon you,
    And be gracious to you;
    The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
    And give you peace.”

    from Krystal's Mom (your Hebei "cousin"!)