...Just a Reminder...This story builds FROM THE BOTTOM UP...so if you're joining late, be sure to catch up by reading from the beginning...Thanks.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

It's a Girl ! ! ! The Lockheads Welcome Ashley JianJie Lockhead.

C here,

Sitting in AR's room, typing while watching the replay of the Phillies win the NLDS as described by Chinese-speaking play-by-play announcers. Nice Job Phils!

This morning, Monday October 11, 2010, shortly after 10 AM, Ashley joined the Lockhead Family.

We had a good morning - breakfast in the Hotel followed by a ride to the Civil Affairs Office, and the Center for Intercountry Adoption of Hubei Province.  By the looks of things, we were the last of about seven families to arrive in the presentation room.  As we walked in to the room, all of our eyes scanned the entire scene hoping to spot little JianJie.  We didn't need Grant to tell us that she had not arrived yet, but he did anyway.

Most of the other families had already begun the paperwork processing and were seated around a very long conference table with their agency representatives/guides.  Their children were in other areas of the large room attended to by one of the parents or by their Chinese nannies/orphanage representatives.  For us, it was more reminiscent of Kyle's gotcha day more than Dylan's, though much less chaotic.  The room echoed with a mix of screaming and crying babies, parents speaking with their childrens' orphanage representatives, and Chinese Adoption officials calmly trying to make sure the paperwork processes continued to move along for all.  Slightly confusing or alarming to some, but like music to our ears.

So we waited...we had waited for so long already that another few moments would be no problem.  We were the only ones who had other children with them; and our two boys raised an eyebrow or two!  Grant told us that Ashley would be there shortly, and then he disappeared to make a phone call.

He was right, because a moment or two after he slipped away, we saw Ashley's foster mother and foster grandmother come walking through the door.  But the sightline angle from where we were sitting (there was a large sofa positioned just inside the door) made it look like they were alone. A split second later though, Ashley came into view as she walked around the end of the sofa, head up, alert, and looking like she owned the place! Her foster mother and grandmother recognized us immediately and broad smiles lit up their faces.  K & D shouted almost in unison, "Is That Ashley".  Once we confirmed that it was in fact their sister, they began to exclaim "There's Ashley" and "There's our sister!" I shot a quick glance at Lisa, hoping to catch here eye, but could not, as she was completely transfixed with the little person who would be our daughter.

Although I have never been in a delivery room for the birth of a child, you could never convince me that the rush of emotion, adrenaline, excitement, pride and relief is any different that we, or any of the other parents experienced today in our "delivery room".  Either way, you just have to be there...

As Ashley's Foster Mother and Grandmother approached, Grant kindly made the introductions.  At the same time, the boys went to work - hovering around Ashley trying to introduce themselves!  Ashley was very apprehensive at first, and as expected, she clung to her Foster Mother.  As Lisa scooped Ashley up into her arms for the first time, she burst into a loud scream and started to cry, as if on cue. Not to worry though, Lisa the experience mom, quickly returned her to earth, and all was well again.

After the first few moments of interaction, Grant, Lisa, AR and Ashley's Foster Mother peeled off and huddled to go over the details of Ashley's day to day care.  Ashley and the boys seemed to get along great from the very start, they were completely absorbed with entertaining her - and I sensed that she was already sizing them up for how quickly she could have them tightly wrapped around that tiny little finger of hers!  Interestingly enough, she was completely entertained by the SAME stackin plastic cups that we had brought with us four years ago and had used to disarm Kyle.

Grant did an excellent job of facilitating the questions and answers, and Lisa took a lot of notes on a whole range of topics.  Later, in a moment when Ashley's foster mother had stepped away to attend to her, he told us that she was clearly trying to contain her emotions as she explained all that she felt was important for us to know.

Me..I was snapping pictures, taking video, speaking (sort of) with Ashley's foster grandmother.  She had retired to a nearby couch, knowing full well what the next twenty minutes would bring.  She patrticipated with the boys in their attempts to break through to Ashley.  I popped in and out of the huddle, trying to follow along as best I could.  But mostly, I circulated around the perimeter, trying to capture whatever images/video I could.

We were oblivious to it at the time, but one by one, the other adoptive families in the room slowly filtered out, heading to their cars and vans and then back to their hotels to begin their new lives.  We were the only family left and we remained behind as the only ones in the room for about 15 more minutes.  The boys did a great job of keeping Ashley entertained - we are so very proud of them for they way that they have opened themselves up and welcomed Ashley to our family.  Especially Dylan - we had both been wondering how he would react to allof this, even though we had been coaching him for months on exactly what would be happening.  This morning and all day since, we have had the wonderous opportunity to see a completely different side of him.  He is a deeply caring little boy, and has taken to gently rubbing Ashley's tiny arms and carefully running his fingers through her fine mop of baby hair.  It's hard to describe, but we see him differently now.

Kyle is the consummate gege (big brother). All the while, as we prepared ourselves, our home and the boys for Ashley's arrival, Kyle had given us little doubt as to how he would react.  He has done everything that he told us he would do for her, and more.  He is a very generous, and loving little person and he takes his responsibility very seriously.  We are very proud of him as well.

As we wrapped up our meeting this morning, we took some family photos with Ashley's foster mother and grandmother.  They said their good-byes in a very low key way and simply faded away out of the room and out of Ashley's sight.  We were all touched and moved as Ashley's foster grandmother hugged and kissed Ashley and handed her over to us for the last time today and maybe forever.

It is clear to us that Ashley's entire foster family has had a tremendous impact on her life and development so far.  They essentailly saved her life when she was very young and needed intense care and love.  Today, Ashley's foster mother expressed to us how much she appreciated all the we (Lisa mostly) had done to help her prepare Ashley for today - Photos, gifts, cakes for their family.  In much the same way, we are extremely appreciative of all that she and her family have done for Ashley.  If not for them, we would not be here today.  Thank you for helping us to complete our family and for allowing us the opportunity to help and guide Ashley as she finds her way through life.

As we look back on today, as with any highly charged event, it's already all a bit of a blur.  Lisa and I will compare notes in the morning and we will try to fill in some of the blanks in the story through this weblog. We still need to tell you about our first family dinner tonight - and the walk home and all of the things we saw, heard and smelled...

We realize that we have been very fortunate over the past six or so yaers as we have gone from couple to full house so quickly!  As for today...not everyone gets the chance to experience ONE of these day.  We have been so very fortunate to have experienced THREE!

It's getting late so I'm going to head off to bed now.
More to come including pictures.


  1. How wondeful! Hope everything continues to go well!

  2. Congratulations to the Lockhead family! It sounds like you have two wonderful little boys to help little Ashley along through a hopefully smooth transition.

    Best wishes,
    Denise, Cresson, Casey, Justin and Kyle Green

  3. Happy to hear everything went so smoothly.
    How nice, to have Kyle & Dylen along to welcome Ashley to her new home.
    As you might suspect everyone is anxious to see some photographs of Ashley & the family.

  4. So happy for the entire Lockhead family! The Ringmasters cannot wait for Kyle and Dylan's return with their sister and all the stories they will both have to share in the morning! Congratulations!
    Much love and all the best,
    Ms Amy

  5. AWESOME!! CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!! We can't wait to meet Ashley and see the boys. Have a wonderful time making memories. WE love you and miss you,
    The Careys

  6. I'm so happy Ashley is at last in the arms of her family! Enjoy these precious first days as a family of five... memories for a lifetime.

    Wendy Cater
    An online friend to Lisa and a mom to three precious kids from China

  7. Congratulations !!!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!

    - Sean