I was recently asked if the Princess was different from the boys.
My first reaction was, "Umm, yes, she's a GIRL. She plays with dolls, sits quietly, loves princesses..."
But no that was not what this well-meaning person was asking.
What are the differences between giving birth and adopting?
It took a long, long time to get pregnant.
We waited a long, long time for a referral.
Until you're in the abyss of the never-ending paperwork of adoption, you don't understand. Especially if there's a baby on the other side of the world waiting.
Until you take a pregnancy test that's negative, that you really want to be positive, you don't understand.
I kept taking and retaking pregnancy tests...just to make sure.
I kept looking at her pictures...just to make sure she was mine.
I was in shocked when the stick turned blue.
I was shocked when I opened an email and saw my daughter's face.
Labor is perhaps the most painful and scariest thing I've ever done. And I had drugs. Lots of them. So was boarding a plane to China. I really wish I'd had an epidural for that, too.
During labor, we lost the Big Boy's heartbeat. The nurse whispered in my ear, "We're not in the business of losing babies here."
When we stepped off the plane (that's a 14 hour labor) in China, we were told our daughter would not be able to come to the United States because of medical reasons. My husband and I decided we weren't in the business of leaving babies.
The middle one, was born 5 weeks premature. We could see through his skin.
The Princess was so shutdown, we didn't think she could see us.
I wasn't ready for the Middle One to be born.
I wasn't ready to fly to China. But in less than 14 days of getting our TA (travel assignment) we had our daughter in our arms.
I cried when I held the boys.
I cried when I held our daughter.
I cried when I brought the boys home and all my help (AKA Grandma) left me all alone...with them.
I cried when we brought our girl home and all my help (AKA Grandma) left me alone...with three of them.
When I had the Middle One, I felt tremendous (yes, it's silly) guilt that My Big Boy would no longer be my baby.
During the flight to China, I felt that same silly guilt, the Middle One would no longer be my baby.
I told the doctor, before The Middle One was born, that I was done and didn't really need to have another baby. I wanted to go home.
I told my husband when we hit the runway in Beijing to buy me the next ticket home.
When The Middle One was in the NICU, because he couldn't suck or regulate his own body temperature, I wanted nothing more than for my two boys to be in the same place--Home.
When we were in China, and the boys met their baby sister over Skype, I wanted nothing more than for my three babies in the same place--Home.
Three very different stories. Three very different kids.
So, yes, I guess she is different.
But so are the boys.