remember how it felt when I discovered outlet malls. I don't mean
regular shopping malls. I'm talking about OUTLET malls.
I first discovered them I thought, "Wait a minute, wait a minute.
You're telling me there's a place where all of these stores are
within close proximity to one another and everything is on sale
ALL THE TIME? And the SALE things are even on sale?"
my life was changed forever.
you this to give you some insight into who I am. It seems that almost
anything can be a life-changing epiphany to me. My initial response
to adopting my daughter was not much different from discovering
that J. Crew had an outlet store adjacent to Coach. Until I realized
that the maintenance on my daughter would be more extensive than
an annual conditioning with leather moisturizer. Or, as my husband
Tom says about having a child, "One day you're single, the
next day you're in charge of an impulsive quadriplegic." All
of this, and more, I experienced in China on July 12th, 2004 when
we first met our daughter, Milan.
and I had been through the lengthy and bureaucratic process of adopting
a baby from China, which we had decided to do after a series of
discussions, and attempts at having a biological child. We felt
that we really wanted a little girl from China, and we were very
had taken us not the normal twelve to eighteen months to complete
the process but, rather, over four years, due to some complications
along the way, both emotional and financial. I was depressed, our
strained, and we had very little income. We were
not the perfect candidates for adopting...anything. Even a highway.
But, eventually, we managed through these "speed bumps,"
as Tom called them -- because he's Swedish and doesn't understand
emotion -- and got to the point where we were ready to leave for
some odd display of feeling, Tom said to me several times in the
months leading up to our departure, "You won't believe how
married we are once we have a baby."
Was this a tease? A warning? A threat? I had no idea. All I knew
was that Tom had already had two children, who are now fairly grown,
at 16 and 20. So, whatever he was talking about was based on solid
experience. Therefore, I chose to ignore it, and continued to do
some last minute shopping at gap.com.
left Los Angeles after midnight on July 9th and, after a very long
flight, but not the longest I'd ever flown -- but the only flight
that was delivering me to a baby -- we arrived in Guangzhou, China
on Sunday morning, July 11th. The next morning we, along with the
other couples in our small group, flew to Nanjing where we were
going to get our babies at approximately 2 PM. We then got on our
overly air-conditioned bus and drove to a street that looked like
any other street, and walked into an underly air-conditioned government
building that was barely distinguishable from any other building.
numb. I attributed it to the extreme change in air temperature.
I didn't want to consider why I was really numb. That was way too
we walked into the building Tom noticed, across the room, two caregivers
playing with a couple of babies on a sofa. Tom grabbed my forearm
and said, "That's Milan. I think that's Milan."
see very clearly without my glasses. "Really?"
I think that's Milan." It was so weird to hear the name we
had chosen for a baby we had only seen in a picture being said out
loud and in reference to an actual human being sitting in the room.
PAGE 1 2
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|