Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy Family Day!

Eight years ago today, we were standing in a big room in Changsha China watching as numerous nannies carried a bunch of scared, little girls into a room and one by one, placed screaming children into our arms forever changing our world and blessing our lives beyond anything we could have ever imagined.  I was so busy rushing around playing "mom taxi" tonight, I completely forgot what today was until some friends of mine who shared this journey with us, reminded me.    I took a trip down memory lane tonight that I'd like to share with you.  I wrote this email to my family and friends from China the night we got Kira.

Today was incredibly amazing.  The group met at 8:45 in the lobby for a pre-baby group photo and then headed to the Ministry of Civil Affairs Office via tour bus.   The area we had to go thru to get there was really poor and run down, with a lot of dilapidated buildings that looked like people were living in (there were laundry lines strung up with a bunch of laundry everywhere).  Me along with many of the other parents felt like throwing up. 

After arriving at the Civil Affairs Office, we walked into a very nondescript building and went to the third floor into a big room.  To get a picture of what it looked like, it had very sparse decorations and lots of wooden benches along the wall.  A conference room was off to one side.  We placed the "gifts" on the table and sat down to wait.  About 5 minutes later, the caretakers filed thru the door each carrying a baby and then they lined the walls.  Dave picked out Kira IMMEDIATELY as she was brought in with her caretaker.  Her diaper was falling off and her caretaker tried to set her down to put it back on.  She had a hissy fit as the caretaker put her down (it was a woman) and a man, presumably from the orphanage, tried to console her as the caretaker put it back on.  She was wearing a very plain blue dress with tiny white socks. 

One by one, the adoption agency guides called the family's name out.  As you went up to them, they had the adoption acceptance form with Kira's picture on it, then Dave had to show them our passports to prove we are who we say we are and the caretaker handed Kira over to me.  She did not want to come to me and screamed her head off.  We walked away and tried to console her and Dave tried to take her into his arms and she wanted absolutely no part of that.  We tried to get away from most of the frenzy as other parents took their screaming and angry babies and went into a corner to try to calm Kira down.  She sat on my lap bawling and then sucked in deep breaths between the screams.  There were big crocodile tears and I tried to sing to her to calm her down (by the way...didn't work).  By the way, she is the most beautiful baby girl on the planet. 

After about 20 minutes or so, everyone had their babies and another group was moving in to receive theirs.  We walked to the door to leave and I made the mistake of walking by Kira's caretakers and boy what a mess.  She screamed, tried to go to them, they pointed to me and said mama and pushed her away gently and I got out of there quick.  She pretty much cried till we got on the bus and she peed on my lap.  The caretakers did not get the diaper back on very well and I had a very, very wet ride back to the hotel. 

By the time we got back to the hotel, she had calmed down a little bit.  We went to our room and placed her on her back on the bed and just let her watch the world.  She checked out Dave and my every move (Dave's calling us her captors because we basically kidnapped her in her mind) and after a while, we decided to try to give her some juice.  Boy the girl can put away the food.  After juice, we sat her up and started to play with her.  We got out some chew rings that live on a cow and a Pooh stuffed animal.  Dave got her playing and actually got her to smile.  She leaned forward on the bed and bit Pooh on the nose and then giggled and smiled at Dave.  We played for about an hour and then fed her some baby food we got at a grocery store last night and then gave her water in a bottle.  We tag teamed the food (Dave had the smashed green veggies and I had the pork and kelp) and she ate very well.  Well, just to know, we didn't want to mess with her too much, so we didn't put a diaper on her immediately because she was mad enough about the whole situation.  We put down a garbage sack on the bed, put a blanket on top of it and prayed for the best.  Well, big mistake.  She peed on the bed.  So then we had to have bath time. 

Bath time was exactly like bathing the dogs.  She stood up, would not sit down, grabbed my arm and tried to pinch it off and tried to put one leg over the edge of the bed to escape.  I have never washed anything so quick in my life.  After drying her off on the bed, we brushed her hair.  She grabbed the brush and tried to brush her own hair, then the brush became a new toy.  We got her all dolled up in a really cute dress and played with her a little bit more.  She really likes playing with Dave and will go to him, but doesn't like to be held for long by him.  She can't walk by herself, but Dave got her walking across the bed as he held her.  They trucked it a couple of times across the bed before she got bored.  Then we put her down for a short nap because we had to leave at 2:00 to go back to the Ministry of Civil Affairs to finalize the adoption in China.  We had to wake her up from her nap and I just reached down and scooped her up.  She was very, very cranky, so I had to walk her around the lobby quite a bit.  She watched everything on the bus ride.  She is very, very inquisitive and is just soaking it all in.

At the Ministry of Civil Affairs Office, we had to have a personal interview with one of the officials indicating that we accepted Kira as part of the family and were willing to adopt her.  After agreeing to this, they took our fingerprints in red ink and then red inked Kira's right foot on the paperwork (sticky icky mess that was to get off her foot).  We then had to go back into the room we got her in and they called parents back to pay the notary fees and then all the other fees.  They only needed one parent to do this, so Dave went and I held Kira.  She ate Cheerios and played with her toys.  We cannot lose the cow teething rings while we are over here or we are in big big trouble.  We then had to stand in line for our first family photo for the Adoption Decree and Kira did really well for the photo.

After we finished the photos, we went back down the elevator, out the door, back on the bus and back to the hotel.  Kira just watched everything outside the window on the bus ride.  We then got back to the hotel and took group photos in the lobby.  We went back to the room for  a little bit, Kira ate a snack and drank some water and then we met up with some of the group for dinner in one of the hotel restaurants.  I can now see why parents can't eat anything after becoming parents.  She would not sit on Dave's lap.  We tried.  I forgot her spoon and the restaurant just had chop sticks so I had to run back to the room.  Apparently she got upset and just said "mama"  "mama" over and over until I got back.  So on my lap she went.  We played drums with the chopsticks and spoon on one of the plates, then discovered that the glass with water in it makes a pretty sound if you bang on it.  She spilled a glass of water before we figured out that everything (and I mean everything) had to be moved out of her reach.  She ate congee (which is a rice porridge kind of gruel) and we pretty much didn't eat a lot.  The waitress tried to play with her (she wanted no part of that - she just wants Dave and I) and said that she is a lovely baby (she really is.  The pictures didn't do her justice - she is really really pretty).  There was an after dinner scream fest and we left the restaurant pretty quick after paying.  We went back to our room, put her in her jammies and then played with her some more.  She climbed on Dave's stomach, laid down and then tried to go to sleep.  Just before coming down here, I put her to bed and she was sound asleep when I left her.  After one day, we will kill anyone who makes a sound when she is sleeping. 

She is a little developmentally behind from what we can tell.  She should be walking by herself, but isn't.  She will walk shortly, though, so we aren't worried about it.  She can pull herself up and Dave tested her by making her get up by herself (which she did by rolling on her side and pushing herself up).  She had hold things in her hands (boy she is really territorial over her toys and gathered them all around her and kept them close - the referral was right about that) and she can turn things and pull on things.  She found my glasses and jewelry this evening after she became more comfortable with me and these things became unfortunate play things for her.  She can tell you what she wants with a distinctive grunt, she giggles and smiles.  She throws her toys and then laughs. We'll have to see how much she loses when we get home because we've been warned that once you get the kids home, they sometimes regress pretty badly for a couple of weeks.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
She HATES the elevator.  I'm not sure why. She crys and crys and points to the elevator door.  Unfortunately, we're on the 27th floor so we kinda have to use the elevator as a mode of transportation several times a day.

Eight years later, my beautiful daughter is a competitive gymnast, a fierce soccer player and she plays the guitar.  She is an extremely inquisitive, highly intelligent, giggly, sweet, and compassionate little girl who I am so fortunate to be blessed with to be her mom.  By the way, she got over her hatred of elevators.  Now, she likes to push the buttons.


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