Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy 2nd Family Day!

I have the opportunity to blog about our lives with Kelsey everyday. Today, I want to take you back to the first time we met our Angel Face in China. These are the first photos of her and us as a family. Enjoy!

I don't want to ever forget a single second of our stay in China. Our journey started out with a few challenges en route to Beijing, but once we got there...all was exciting and fascinating! We toured, shopped and were treated like royalty. The guides were wonderful and the travel group was a large mix of great folks who were so excited to be having their children!

It was cold in Beijing, and in my quest not to be over weight on luggage, I didn't pack warm coats for us. However, the layers of sweats got us through. I joked a few times that the touring in 2 days in Beijing (Great Wall, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Silk Market, Pearl Markets) was a test that if you could pass without dropping from the cold/exhaustion, you got to go onto Changsha and have your baby.

Every day I counted down to the day we'd met our girl. Finally it was time to get on the plane to go Changsha, which is further south in China. It was warmer there. We only had one evening left before finally becoming a family.

Finally, our day arrived! We were supposed to meet at 8:30 in the lobby of our hotel to go for the short ride to the Civil Affairs Bureau. You never saw so many prompt families in your life! I sat with Kerry and Richard and made small talk...I was nervous...but mostly about not crying. I really didn't want to bawl in front of Kelsey and frighten her.

We got to the building and parked. We walked into the room and were told that one of the groups of babies had a hold-up due to a bus breakdown and would be delayed. We all cried about that because we all wanted to receive our kids together...but it wasn't Kelsey's group. We were told that all the babies from Huai Hua (Kelsey's orphanage) had arrived and were ready to meet us. We were supposed to go one at a time and we'd have to give our passports and TA to the Head Nanny to confirm our identity. I mentally prepared for a wait because there were about 11 families with babies in Huai Hua. We all promised to take photos/movies for each other.

To my suprise, the doors opened and they immediately called Huai Shuang! I stepped up with the passports/documents and they reviewed them and returned them to me. The Orphanage Director himself was holding Kelsey. She had been crying and her eyes were wet with tears and she was congested. While I took back the passports, Kurt stepped forward and took Kelsey. I was happy for this because I wanted to get a good look at her and see her face and could do this while he was holding her. She didn't cry and didn't seem upset, but when I see photos of her now, I can see that she wasn't happy. However, I did have a couple of toys in our diaper bag that I pulled out for her. She loved the ducky with the plastic keys and clung to that for most of the time. To my great shock she had 4 pearly teeth, 2 upper and 2 lower. She did smile for us a few times.

We waited and watched smiling as the rest of our group received their children. Then we left for a short time (not sure if we went shopping for formula/diapers then or later) and went back to the hotel to get acquainted. We were to return back later to complete the adoption and sign everything and transfer the money.

When we got back to the hotel, I laid Kelsey on the bed, and tried to undress her to see if she was okay or if she had scabies or I wanted to dress her in an outfit I'd brought, but she was frightened and cried, so I let it be. Kurt and I played with her and tried to get some smiles out of her. She was much tinier than I realized she'd be and she couldn't sit up or roll over yet. Kelsey really seemed to like the toys we brought her so we spent a lot of time showing them to her and letting her hold them...Other than a cold, Kelsey was fine, no scabies, rashes or anything.

Pretty soon it was back to the Civil Affairs Bureau. We spent a long time waiting in the waiting room. I remember other families there, waiting to receive their children and one little girl in particular, who was older and sobbing dreadfully about being separated from the nanny.

Finally we were led into the large room where we first met our daughters. The Nannies were there and the Orphanage Director (who was a man) they all answered questions about the babies and their routines. To my amusement, Kelsey was one of 3 babies that were eating table food (at 8.5 months!) and only took 2 bottles per day. She was also labeled the worst sleeper in the group! (HA!)

Eventually, we moved into the Adoption room, where we promised to love our daughter forever and never to abandon her (as if!). We signed on the dotted lines, stamped our fingerprints and Kelsey stamped her foot print on the files. Every single worker commented about Kelsey's big eyes and said how pretty she is. One of the workers called her name "Shuang Shuang" and Kelsey whipped her head around in answer to her name...this suprised me because first...I thought they might have called her Shu-Shu and second that people used her name to speak to her. This made me feel happy and we did call her Shuang while we were in China.

Eventually, we did get to a few stores to buy diapers, formula and a stroller.
Kurt went to a "paperwork party" while I stayed with Kelsey. She kept making these clicking noises with her tongue and seemed distressed when I didn't respond. When I questioned our guide Helen, she said that this was a tease that the nannies did to the babies. Kelsey was trying to communicate with me! We did a lot of clicking after that!

One more thing...while still in the US, I bought some biter biscuits as a lark. I packed them thinking she might like them...well, these were a god send. Every day about 3-5pm she'd be in meltdown mode...not happy and crying. These things calmed her down and she could gum her way through one in about half an hour. I hoarded these like gold while in China!


Wayswin said...

Then they visited Maine...
And they lived Happily Ever After!

Special K said...

Happy Family Day!
Love hearing the story.

Vicky said...

Great pictures.. I forgot how tiny Kelsey was... I loved reading your post !! Happy 2nd Family Day..

Vicky & Emily
Kelsey's orphanage sister !!!