September 10, 2001, Hanoi, Vietnam
Christina: In a few minutes, we'll meet Lucy Thu Lien, the 6-month-old whose photographs we've been studying for three months, the baby girl who'll become our second daughter and complete our family. For over a year, we've done nothing but talk about what this moment will be like. Yet now we're speechless, each of us in our own world of trepidation and joy.
The minivan we're in, with two other adoptive families, charges through the Hanoi traffic -- an anarchic river of bicycles and mopeds heading directly toward us. Finally, we arrive at Tu Liem orphanage. Exiting the van into the steamy, fragrant heat, we walk up the steps of the weatherworn building. Before we can prepare ourselves for the big moment, Lucy's in front of us, perched calmly in the arms of her caregiver.
She's tinier than in her photos; her hair has been crudely cut and she smells a bit like sour milk, but still she is completely lovely and precious. The moment Josh, Olivia, and I first hold her is both awesome and ordinary. Suddenly and forever we are a family of four.
Christina Frank is a freelance writer. Josh Lerman is a senior editor at Parenting.