"Is she your daughter?" a girl asked me at church. She wrinkled her forehead and studied Princess' crooked nose and jagged scar on her lip.
"Yes." I told her, offering no explanation.
"But," the girl continued still scanning Princess' face, "she doesn't look like you."
"What's different?" I pressed.
She was silent for a moment, then said, "I don't know, but something is different."
There's no denying it. She is different. But different doesn't have to be bad. Or scary. Or wrong. From the day we met her, we loved her because of her differences.
A lot of people have opinions about adoption. I've been asked how much we paid for our daughter. If you're truly interested in adoption, I'll tell you the fees you pay for services--not for the child. Most people won't adopt, so I politely ask them how much they paid for their car or house. I've been ask if the government paid us to take in an orphan. People ask why her "real" mom didn't want her. Some wonder why we didn't adopt domestically or foster. After all there are needy children in the United States. I'd never argue with that. My answer is simple: A kid is a kid. They all need homes. So why not the United States, Russia, or Ethiopia. My daughter happened to be in China.
These questions aren't new and they won't ever go away. People in China were just as curious. Our guide told us that most Chinese citizens don't know adoption is an option. The government doesn't tell them there are hundreds of thousands of children waiting for families. We carried around a card that said in Chinese: We are from USA. We are adopting Ling Chen. We love her and Chinese culture.
Most people either hugged us or gave us a thumb's up. We heard "lucky baby" over and over again. Luck had nothing to do with it.
I believe God meant for her to be part of our family from the beginning of time. It is his perfect plan for an imperfect world.
So, yes, I am her real mother. And if you saw us together, there's no denying it.