We enjoyed another hotel breakfast Monday morning followed by another visit to the fish and gardens. (This time the kids were in actual clothes). The kids had a great time running around the gardens while Brian and I sat on a bench in the sun. Then the official adoption part of the trip started off with a group meeting at the hotel. We are in a group with 9 other families from Lifeline who are adopting children from Guangdong province. We spent a few hours going over our schedule for the next 2 weeks and preparing our paperwork for this week. It was so great having my mom there to watch the kids so they didn't have to sit in a room and entertain themselves for 2 hours! We finished around lunch time and went back to the room to eat some quick PBJ sandwiches. I was feeling a little nervous so I did a workout video in the room to get some energy out. Caroline and Matthew did it along with me, and I'm pretty sure Matthew has better push-up form than I do. I'm telling myself it's because he has less body weight to lift. After a shower we had a family meeting to talk with the kids about what to expect and what Lily might be thinking and feeling. Then we prayed for her and for our time together. Matthew prayed that she would have fun with us. So sweet :o) We headed down to the lobby and hopped on a bus with all the other families. Matthew was so excited and said that this was his first time riding on a bus!
When we got to the Civil Affairs office we went up to the 8th floor to wait for our children. There was a playroom separated by a red curtain where they were all waiting. We had to fill out one more piece of paperwork, and while we were doing that I saw Lily come through the door with her caretaker. I only saw the back of her head, but I knew it was her! All of a sudden it got real!
They started calling families to come to the entrance to the playroom as children were brought out one by one. Soon it was a quite chaotic with kids crying, adults crying, people taking pictures and videos, and hardly any open space. We were the last family I think. They called Hui Cheng Tang and all of a sudden there she was! I don't even remember seeing her caretaker's face, just hers, as she stared at us wide-eyed. She came right to me and just stared all around the room. Caroline was so excited and wanted to hug her right away. Brian picked her up and the hugging marathon ensued. Lily was so brave, and such a good sport!
She went to Brian with no tears and just kept staring at her new family. She came out of the room holding a soft book, and kept a death grip on it the whole time we were holding her. We headed over to a chair to sit down and play with her. I put her on my lap and she just kept holding her book and looking all around. After about 15 minutes her caretakers came over, and I only realized that's who they were because she saw them and started crying. She stayed in my arms though, and calmed down after only about a minute.
Our guides started circulating and serving as translators while we asked their caretakers questions. Since seeing her nanny had made Lily cry, I kept her faced slightly away and Brian asked the questions. They told us that she had a bit of a cough and had brought her some medicine. We also learned that the orphanage did move locations 2 weeks ago, so that will factor into our decision to visit the orphanage later this week. The orphanage director also told us that she was scared of men because she hadn't seen any. We kind of expected something like that, so we will have to be patient on building her relationship with her daddy. Then we took our official adoption picture with the nanny and orphanage director. That was the second time Lily cried. She reached for her nanny and I let her have her and hold her for the picture. In just the few minutes we had to interact I could tell that she really cared about Lily, and I was so grateful for that. I know that while it wasn't the same love as a parent can give, she was loved.
She took a bit longer to calm down when the nanny handed her back to me again, but soon she was snuggled into my body observing everything around her. Caroline was so sweet and kept handing her all of her toys and giving her hugs. Finally it was time to head back to the hotel. Lily did great on the bus ride. Caroline however, not so much! All of the new adopted babies were quiet but my 2 year old was screaming like a crazy person! It could be because she was up half the night and didn't take a nap since we spent the afternoon getting Lily. Then when Brian got off the bus to stop at the grocery store for formula Matthew joined in the fun. I think the combination of not much sleep and adding a new family member was too much for them. They settled down once we got back to the room and gave them a snack.
We showed Lily around the room and sat her on the floor to play. I got the first little smile out of Lily when I started tickling her toes! I can't wait to see more of those :) We also practiced her walking. She is pretty good at taking steps by herself, but she has to be motivated! She reached out for our hands though and walked around the room. When Brian got back from the grocery store at 5:30 he had to turn right around again and go fill out paperwork back in the meeting room. The plan was to go get pizza after and bring it back to the room. Little did we know how long the meeting would take! We thought he'd be done around 6, but at 6:15 he came down and got my signature then went back to do more paperwork. We fed Lily one of the bananas we snagged from breakfast, and we got her second smile! She is definitely a good eater! Sweet Caroline fell asleep on the couch around 6:30, and Matthew joined her shortly after. Soon it was just Lily and I awake and I could tell she was getting tired. Around 7:15 my mom woke up and we decided to just put the kids to bed. Just then Brian walked in the door with pizza! The adults all ate some, then Brian fed Lily her bottle. She was not too happy at first because she couldn't see me so I moved and then she was fine.
I was exhausted and decided Lily must be too, so we attempted bed time. She let me hold her and rock her and she fell asleep rather easily. I was about to fall asleep standing up so I tried to lay her down in her crib. She immediately woke up and stood up in her bed. I showed her that I would be right next to her in the bed, and I honestly think I fell asleep before she even sat down. But she must have fallen asleep just fine because I didn't hear a peep!
She cried once around midnight but didn't actually wake up, and I rubbed her back and she fell back to sleep quickly. Then I was wide awake for an hour! I took some more melatonin and finally fell back asleep. Lily woke up again around 5:00 because her foot got stuck in the crib. I removed it and that made her mad, so I picked her up and lay down with her. At first she wouldn't lay her head down, but slowly as I rubbed her back she gave in and fell asleep on my chest. Once she was asleep I tried to roll her off to the side so I could sleep, but as soon as I did she climbed back on me. So I was awake pretty much from then on but I didn't care! She, however, slept a solid 12 hours!
Our Gotcha Day experience was everything we had prayed for and more. The past several months we have been praying for Lily every day, that God would be preparing her heart for her new family. We know that she is too young to really understand what is going on, but we prayed that when she saw us she would somehow know that we were her family, that she would feel safe with us, and that she would adjust quickly. Today all of those prayers were answered and we are so grateful!
Here are the things we learned today:
* The Chinese do not believe in air conditioning. Even though it was 75 degrees outside the Civil Affairs office was hot! Or maybe it was just the 50 or so people crammed into one room with kids crying and emotions running high.
Pictures from today: