Three-year-old Daisy went along with her, as she almost always does. Indeed, nothing really animates Ryan like talking about her children, whether it's a cool YouTube video she's watched with Jack, or how she found Daisy in an orphanage in China. She gets her wallet and pulls out the picture the orphanage initially sent her of the girl -- she's a moppet with wisps of hair sticking straight up and a strangely piercing stare. "I always thought I'd do it," Ryan says of adopting. "It's such a deliberate act, this adoption, as opposed to getting pregnant sometimes. You have to be very, very awake."
The orphanage arranged for Ryan to meet Daisy in a hotel near Shanghai. Ryan waited in a rotating restaurant on top, while Daisy was in a conference room below, crying and crying for an hour and a half, before the officials came to get Ryan. "She had tons and tons of clothes on her, Teletubby long underwear, another layer, then this electric blue sweater. She was red-faced, screaming and crying." The officials passed her to Ryan and "Daisy stopped crying. I'm not kidding you. She checked me out and then she went to sleep. The next six to eight hours, she'd wake up and be very afraid and then she'd cry and then relax and play with you. I'd do the same thing. Just get really afraid, then really expanded. It was this metaphysical kind of labor, this crazy meeting."
Ryan says she never felt as if she was rescuing her daughter. "It wasn't that. I just saw that face and I knew we were just related. It taught me a lot about any expectations you have in life. Just toss them away. Throw them out."