Sadly, today we left our daughter's birth city. We did the usual routine of waking up early. The sun is out here by 5:30 a.m., so our biological clocks are now adjusted to waking at the crack of dawn. We had our last breakfast at the Holiday Inn's revolving restaurant that overlooks the city and then finished packing.
Yesterday afternoon we were shown where Anna Grace's finding spot was. Ironically, it is literally caddy corner from the hotel where we are staying. We passed it at least 15 times throughout the week, and never knew it was there. This morning we took the opportunity to walk over there and take pictures. It is definitely a very public place with much hustle and bustle, which puts my mind to rest about her birthmother definitely wanting her to be found right away. I forgot to mention yesterday that we were blessed with a copy of the birthnote that she was left with. Her birthmother even included the time of birth. I know this is not a real common occurence, so it is something that we will treasure and plan on passing on to her when she is older. Also, from yesterday, as with Kai, we asked the assistant director to please write her a note for when Anna Grace was older. She did and we had our guide translate it. Another memorable piece of her past that she is blessed with.
After visiting the finding spot, we went back to the hotel checked out and were taken to the airport, joined by our guide. Our agency has been magnificent in planning out every detail of the trip and we have had to worry about nothing. Our guides now in YiWu and Hefei have both been wonderful and have gone above and beyond. Doris, our Hefei guide, was so very sweet. She was so gentle with Anna Grace and truly made sure that we were pleased and satisfied with every step of the journey in our daughter's birth city.
Our flight was non-eventful. Anna Grace fell asleep during take-off and awoke when the flight attendants were passing out our midflight snacks. How appropriate, since she loves food! :) Kai was again filled with delight as the plane went up and he beamed with joy watching the clouds go by.
We arrived in Guangzhou and were greeted by Bob, our guide, who also happened to have been our guide for part of the time when we were here with Kai. He remembered us and our stay in Guangzhou began with a great start! He checked us in to the White Swan and memories flooded my mind as we walked into the lobby filled with red couches. The same silk screen stood behind the couch that I took the picture of Kai which now graces the cover of his adoption announcement. It was almost like being home again. It was a warm feeling to see a familiar face and familiar surroundings. Shamian Island is very "Americanized". After checking in we agreed with Bob to meet in the lobby at 8:30 a.m tomorrow morning to take Anna Grace to have her visa picture taken and to do her medical. We then walked over to Lucy's for a delicious dinner. Scott savored every bite of his pork chops and mashed potatoes and it was wonderful seeing so many adoptive families with their little ones. The days will now fly by for us.
This has continued to be such an awesome and memorable trip, it's bittersweet that in a few days we will be heading home.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Sadly, today we left our daughter's birth city. We did the usual routine of waking up early. The sun is out here by 5:30 a.m., so our biological clocks are now adjusted to waking at the crack of dawn. We had our last breakfast at the Holiday Inn's revolving restaurant that overlooks the city and then finished packing.
This morning we awoke bright and early again. We went up to breakfast and prepared for the day. Anna Grace woke up in a more cheerier mood and did not fight with me to feed her. Actually, she even let me play with her a bit at breakfast! Baby steps, but we're moving along.
Friday, June 22, 2007
After breakfast we met the guide downstairs and headed to the Hefei Wild Animal Park. I decided to sit in the back of the van alone with Anna Grace and hold her while we were driving to the zoo. It was about a 20-25 minute ride. She was not in the mood for me whatsoever and would respond to none of my requests. I could very few times pull her out of her shell by tickling her, but this time it just brought on an onslaught of sadness. The first few tears we have seen were in the back seat that morning. She cried deeply and began calling for her “YeYe”, which means grandfather. I originally thought that she was asking for her foster father, but later have found out that at the orphanage she was a very spoiled by many of the elderly residents. One particular “grandfather” was very special to her, and this is whom she was referring to.
I know that time will make things better, and I so badly wish I could communicate with her. All I can do is have patience and continue to show her that we will get through this together and regardless of her actions, I will never stop loving her.
Hefei has a huge amount of smog. This is the fifth city I have been in China, and this city has to have the worst smog I have seen yet. We have seen no sunshine whatsoever here.
Getting back to the zoo, it was a cool morning, but the humidity must’ve been 100%. You walk outside and sweat. My hair has this funky frizz thing going on. Oh, well.
The entrance to the zoo consists of probably 60 steps up this large hill. We, of course, had two strollers that had to be carried up, and two toddlers that weigh a ton when you are carrying them up those steps.
The zoo was nice. Nothing spectacular, but much nicer than I expected it to be. The highlight of the zoo for the kids, I think, was some ancient amusement rides that they went on. Kai was in his glory. He loves rides and Anna Grace did well on the first one, and really didn’t care much for the rest. I rode with her on the bumper cars, and Scott rode with Kai. It was funny to see the look of confusion on her face as to why we kept bumping our cars together.
We walked around the entire zoo and made a couple of stops for ice cream and water. Just before leaving, we saw a group of middle school students on a field trip, who quickly left the chimpanzee exhibit where they were to run to where we were and practice their English. They were really cute!
We were also excited to see they had a panda exhibit. But, to our disappointment, there was one lonely and sad panda hiding in her enclosure to try and keep cool. Again, Kai enjoyed the animals. Anna Grace could have stayed home if it were up to her. She was phased by any of it and had no intentions of playing with anyone.
As we were leaving, I decided to carry her out. I picked her up and accidentally she tugged on a small branch from a nearby tree. The branch sprang back and smacked me in the head. Oh my gosh!! She was doubled over laughing. I then realized that this was a huge amusement for her and maybe it would break the ice and draw her out of her dark day. I grabbed the branch again and pretended to let it hit me. Again, she cackled loudly. Well, after a couple of times, the game got out of hand and by then she was outright just slapping me. I quickly put an end to it, to which she didn’t appreciate and withdrew herself again.
We returned to the hotel where she played with Kai a bit, we went down to the noodle shop for lunch and then met our guide in the afternoon for some shopping.
About 3 blocks from the Holiday inn is a “walking street”. It’s pretty much a wide street shut down to traffic and lined by stores on both sides. We went to purchase our agreed orphanage donations, candy for the children and a stroller for Anna Grace. While strolling, both Anna Grace and Kai had fallen asleep. They awoke about 20 minutes later while we were in one of the department stores. Both children were drenched in sweat since the air conditioner appeared to not be working. Suddenly a sales clerk came up to me and rattled something in Chinese. The guide turned to me and said that the lady would like to know if I wanted a quilt for Anna Grace since she seemed to be cold. HUH?? A quilt. Holy cow! The girl literally was soaked in sweat. She needed a towel to dry off, not a quilt. But, I just politely smiled and said, “No thank you.”
Another thing we found with her province was that it was EXTREMELY expensive, compared to Guangzhou. We ended up buying an office shredder for the orphanage that was 3x the amount of what we would have paid for in the U.S. That’s pretty amazing considering it was made in China. UGH!
Anyways, we have no regrets. It is an honor to be blessed with another beautiful child from this amazing country and we do what we have to.
Tomorrow we visit the foster family and the orphanage. Please continue to pray for our baby girl and her healing heart.
Missing our kiddos at home…..
Scott, Ohilda, Kai, Anna Grace & Po-Po
I am a bit behind on posting, so I will begin in the order of events as they occured from the last time I posted and try to catch up before we get to Guangzhou, which is later tonight. I also want to say thank you for all of the comments and guestbook entries. I am trying to slowly answer email. We all gather as a family and read them....and it, no doubt, brings smiles to our faces to know that we have so many hearts with us in spirit.
Tuesday morning, June 19, we awoke to a very sad little girl. After going down to breakfast and a bit of coaxing we were able to break a little smile on her sweet face. We met the guide downstairs and headed back to the Civil Affairs office to legalize the Chinese portion of our adoption. When we arrived, we could tell that she recognized the building. She was a bit unsure of what was happening. It was raining and we scurried so she really didn't have much time to think. We then went up the elevators and down the same hallway where I had paced and sat on the floor trying to comfort her little heart, just one day before.
We again entered the room with the long tables. As we entered, the first person I notice sitting right by the door is that assistant director of the orphanage. I sort of clenched a smile and nodded hello, praying that Anna Grace would not leap from my arms into hers. She didn't!! She saw her as gave a half smile as the AD spoke to her. Then the AD turned to our guide, (who by the way has been EXCELLENT) and commented on how well she was doing.
We took a seat towards the back of the room, a bit away from the AD. The adoption legalization was very different from the process we went thru with Kai in Hangzhou last year. This was very informal. We would be called to go see the notary in the next room. We'd grab her gift, gather our papers, go sign papers and come back. This occured 3 times with three different people. It was funny because to finalize the adoption, they remove the child's shoe and rub their foot in red ink, and then press it down on the paper we signed. Well, my Mom and I were taking pictures and videoing while Anna Grace was going thru the process. Once she finished, I look down and there stood Kai with his shoes off, waving his foot at our guide. We all laughed. He, too, went thru the foot inking process. :)
Afterwards, we were called again to the other room where we stood behind the red sheet that would be our first family picture and our on red adoption booklet. I remember with Kai we stood before everyone and had to raise our right hands swearing that we would never mistreat or abandon this child and love him forever. It was very emotional for me. With Anna Grace, the questions were asked differently and we were not asked to raise our hands and swear anything. It was very business like. Regardless, it doesn't matter how we said yes, the bottom line is that we did say, "Yes, she is our daughter and we will love her forever!" Today, June 19, 2007, a little girl from Hefei SWI known as Lu Feng Qin, became Anna Grace Fengqin Bombardier, and we couldn't be happier!!!
We left there about 11:30 a.m. and went back to the hotel for some lunch and then met the guide at 3:00 p.m. to visit the countryside. We headed to the outskirts of Hefei after driving about 30 minutes. We turned on a long 2 way paved road lined with trees on both sides. After turning, we had fields on both sides. We passed many rice paddies, bean fields and beautiful areas where the lotuses were already beginning to bloom. They have a large grape festival there every year. It was neat to see the green grapes on the vines.
We continued on this road for about 5 minutes and then stopped at a small lake where a fisherman was just pulling in a small fish. We got out and took some pictures. Anna Grace was playful, but reserved. Kai was.....well, he was Kai. :)
We then crossed the street and went to a duck breeding area. There we saw hundreds of ducks. These ducks are sold, after a month of being born, to the local restaurants and villages. For some reason, this area reminded me a lot of the Napa Valley.
Again, we boarded the van (which is the highlight of Kai's days), and this time went to visit some local families. When we arrived, a lady with pretty good English approached us. She was the town's middle school English teacher. We walked down the dirt path. Kai saw all of the children and soon became excited. Anna Grace remained very reserved, but I let her follow Kai. Children came running out of the dim small, concrete homes to take a peek at the foreigners. The word had spread and many families then came out to greet us.
Kai, with his outgoing personality, gathered crowds and we were asked numerous times how did we get twins. At one point, I had seen 4 beautiful children together and asked them to line up to take a picture. I need to explain something though before I continue. Kai, since he came home has this word that he loves saying, or shall I say, yelling. The word is "Mona". No idea what it means. I couldn't wait to get to China to see if it was a Chinese word. It's not. But whenever he is playing or gets excited he screams, "Mooooooonnnnnnaaaaaaaaaa!!!!" Anyways, back to the children. They are all standing against the wall. And here comes Kai, prancing over to them. He stands in front of them (they were between 9-11 years old) and yells out, "Mooooooonnnnaaaa" at the top of his lungs. The children all giggle hysterically and begin yelling, "Mona!" I take the picture of them, all of this while Anna Grace is standing wide-eyed looking at everything going on. Then a crew of about 10 more kids come on bicyles and on foot from around the corner. The four original kids tell them about Mona, and we now have a village full of kids running and laughing while screaming, "Moooonnnnaaaa!" at the top of their lungs. When we got in the van and began driving away, they followed us down the road yelling Kai's famous, "Moooonnnaaaaa". Aaaah.....it's nice to know we have taught these children something. heh.
The people of Hefei have been very nice and we've enjoyed our stay here thus far. Our trip has been magnificent. I think the days before receiving Anna Grace, God truly wanted to prepare us spiritually, and He did. Since receiving her, we have felt much peace over her grieving and are filled with patience, which we knew we would need. We love her dearly and hope that each day brings her heart a little closer to ours.
Amanda, AJ, Tito, and Adam:
I'm really missing you guys soooo much!!!!! Sending you all lots of kisses in the wind and counting down till we all are together.
Love you as much as the whole wide world.....and back again,
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Hello outside world!
Yes, Baba does exist….. he just doesn’t get to be on the computer because Mama posts at night. So he gets to read his latest Steven King novel and sleeeeeep! Lord knows I need it!
So here it is… I played it smart and hopped onto the laptop as soon as we walked into the room so Ohilda couldn’t absorb it again for the evening, and I told her it’s MINE for an hour and to go away! HA! No just kidding… but I did say I could use the time to say a few things to the Babas who will be coming to this beautiful country of China.
I don’t know how many of you future Baba’s go through our postings each day, so I’m gonna condense for you the things we’ve done and the things to expect. So Mamas out there go get your future Babas and tell em to read this post!! Because I’ve got some great tips for you!
But first of all, I just want to say that through all the little things that seem to drive me crazy.. ( especially the ‘statues’, (explanation coming soon ).. ask my mother in law! ) nothing compares to seeing that beautiful little girl whose pictures you’ve been looking at, and who’s videos you’ve been catching glimpses of for a year or more. When Anna Grace walked into the hallway as we were waiting for the elevator to open, my heart actually leaped! For a split second the world didn’t exist and my little girl and I were standing alone right there! She…. Is… ADORABLE!!
And her little giggle… man, I’m telling you, I’m going to be beating boys off of her with a stick! And even though she’s not spoken a word of English to me I’ve feel I’ve been with her from the day she was born. My life with her and the rest of my kids is going to be the reason God placed me here on this earth. But the one I miss the most is Amanda…. My little muttonhead. She’s my baby and I miss our true conversations and our wrestling matches. Amanda I’ll see you soon!! Give AJ a kiss for me!!
VIDEO CAMERAS AT THE READY!
Ok guys, like I said, here’s some tips for all of you husbands out there who don’t keep up with all the things you’ve been watching your wives run all over the place for!! She’s got all that under control, your job is to take video! DON’T MISS A THING! The wife will kill you! Ok maybe not, (because I’m still alive), and yet I must have had 5 times that something awesome we walked into that if I had the video camera at the ready would have been so cool, and oops! Missed again! We bought one of these mini DVD recorders that record directly onto the disks… very cool. BUT!!! I learned that from the time you power up the DVD player and get it ready for actually recording is about 5 secs. After those 5 seconds, your wife will be saying…” Did you get it ? Did you get it ? “ YIKES!!! And there’s nothing worse than saying…” Ummm… sort of…”, because she knows you missed it, and the recorder will only get the look on your wife’s face when you say that! Yes, have your video recorders fully charged and at the ready, like a Marine with his sword at his side, ready to snap to attention!
If you drink coffee like I drink coffee (Most people have blood running through their veins, I have Maxwell House coffee) then do yourself a favor…. Bring a BIG COFFEE MUG!! A travel mug is best! Because here they serve you a coffee in a thimble! It’s a cup that’s about the size of a Nyquil medicine cup! GULP! It’s gone! ARGH!! This is my second time here, and it’s the second coffee cup I’ve bought… and it’s a beauty!! So if you’re a coffee drinker like me, bring a big travel mug! Just don’t fill it before the airport…. The FAA will absorb that too!
OUR GOTCHA DAY
Our “Gotcha Day” was awesome. Each time God played his silly tricks on us and had us see the kids as soon as we walked into the buildings (And yes… my video was at the ready… I didn’t miss a thing). But the pictures you’ve been seeing and the videos you’ve been getting pieces of are NOTHING compared to this moment. Anna Grace was so quiet and cautious…. And deep inside you know its going to be so hard for such a pretty little girl to… in a flash, realize her whole world is going to change, and the people she’s grown up with and has been intimate with are gone, and your heart breaks. But I can tell you guys with every fiber of my being that when she comes around and you watch that little China flower open before you, and she starts to see you as Mommy and Daddy, oh man! And when you take her back to your room and actually get her to fall asleep, and you’re looking at this little girl who you’ve flown halfway around the world is right here with you, sleeping peacefully, you’ll just stare and stare and stare because you just can’t believe that she’s yours! Every crazy thing you’ve been through is so worth this one moment. For this trip it was doubly spectacular, because I have my first adopted son, Kai, here also. So they were sleeping side by side… and I thought my heart was gonna burst!
This is the one thing that is so eerie, but if I didn’t give you guys a warning, you’d probably hunt me down and shoot me. As you walk around town, you’re going to notice that EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT YOU! “ Is it my hair? Is my hat on straight? Did I leave the room WITHOUT MY PANTS?? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?? “, you wanna scream! My mother in law and I have have been working on this subject very hard, just for you guys, and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the STROLLERS!! Yes, its not the kids, it’s the strollers! We had one person ask us why these kids are riding in these things and not walking! Hmmmm….. maybe because THEY’RE BABIES!! Babies that weigh a TON in the hot humid weather after about 10 minutes! HA HA! But this has nothing to do with the statues.
The statues (my mom in law and I made this up… it fits) are the older women who will stand there and stare at you and your kid. These older Chinese women will stand there… not for a few minutes, but FOREVER!! And they will stare and stare and stare until they build up the ability to speak to you in Chinese, in which you probably won’t be able to answer. Don’t be intimidated! She just needs to know how is it you and this child are together!! So here’s a tip!!! Ask your guide how to say the word "ADOPTED"!! It’s … well… I can’t spell it in Chinese, but the word sounds like you stepped on a cat’s tail.. lin-MEOW!! So just say “ LINMEOW! BABA! MAMA! LINMEOW!! BABA!! ME BABA!! Please spare my life and don’t attack me! “ So don’t panic when the statues arrive! My wife says they call them the clothes police…. There’s no way around them except to stay in your room. And you can’t do that!
I had a moment I’d like to share with you. My Mom In Law wanted to shop for fabric for my sis in law here in Hefei, so off we went out into the public, to an area that’s like a outdoor mall. Open shops everywhere, no cars driving through… very nice shopping area. But I digress. Anyways, here we are at this fabric shop, and my wife AND my mom in law AND my guide go in and shop, leaving me outside with the kids AND the dang strollers from hell....All by myself. After 2 minutes, I could see them from a mile away, the statues arriving. The next thing I know I have 15 ( yes… 15! ) statues standing round me. And not one of them was speaking to me…. Just STARING at the kids and me!
All of a sudden, someone flipped a switch, and all 15 were arguing with me in Chinese, and I had not a clue what they were saying! As it was picking up momentum, a middle-aged well dressed man tapped me on the shoulder and said in broken English “Are they twins?” See, here in China, twins are very good luck, and Kai and AnnaGrace look so much alike! So I said “ No no no….. he’s from Yiwu, she’s Hefei! “ “Ahhhhhhh… aha hah hah ahha….” And that ended it. The crowds dissipated and I was breathing again. But you want to talk about one panicked American there!
Well I have to wrap this up, my wife wants the laptop AGAIN….. sheesh! I hope I was able to help you guys out a little bit anyways! There’s so much more, but those are the ones that came that I felt you’d notice right away! Oh one more thing! Don’t be standing alone with your kids and your mother in law….. one set of statues thought we were husband and wife, and I thought the wrath of God was coming our way until they understood she was the baby’s PO-PO!! HAHAHAHA!
Take care and God bless all of you who do God’s work each and everyday!! Because adoption is the most beautiful act God ever created just for us!!
Kai’s, AJ’s, Amanda’s, Adam’s, Tito’s, Nicole’s and now.. ANNA GRACE’S BABA!!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I truly have not had a waking moment where I can find the time to post the details. We are having good and bad moments. Today we went to the park and she cried all the way there while I held her and calling out for "YeYe" (grandfather), which is what she called her foster father. My heart was breaking that all I could do was hold her and try to reassure her that it would be alright.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
This is a short video clip of the first time I held our sweet baby girl. This was after over and hour of coaxing and trying make her feel comfortable.
You can watch it by clicking HERE.
UPDATE: PLEASE RETRY THE LINK. I HAVE MOVED IT FROM GOOGLE TO DROPSHOTS.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I am so sorry that it's taken this long to post. It has been an amazing, yet incredible day. Our beautiful and sweet girl is in our arms forever. I have received all 50+ emails asking for details and pictures...so here they are!
I do understand if you just ignore the details and scroll down to see the beautiful Miss Anna Grace (presently called FengQin - pronounced fong chin).
I started waking everyone when the 5:30 wakeup call came in. By 7 a.m., we were showered, dressed and out the door for breakfast. We are staying the Hefei Hilton, which is very nice.
After breakfast we came upstairs to pack the necessary items to take to the Civil Affairs office with us. We then met our guide at 9 a.m. sharp and were on our way. I was beyond excited. That drive, now for the second time in my life, is something that is pretty indescribable. To know that you are on your way to be presented a child you have only adored thru pictures and those dreams will now be realized.
It was a short 15 minute drive from the hotel for us to get there. The building is a large 20 story modern building with two entrances. The rear entrance has a gate that you can go into the parking lot and there is the front entrance right off of the sidewalk with a security card. Both entrances meet in the same place, the elevators.
We arrived there, thru the rear entrance, at about 9:15 a.m.. I asked our guide if the babies were there yet, and I was told that they would be arriving at 9:30. We got out of the car with Kai, his stroller, our backpack, lots of cameras and an armful of gifts. As we are waiting for the elevator, our guide suggest to us that we take one last picture of our family before the big change. So, we pull out the cameras and begin to pose while she takes the picture.
All of a sudden, thru the opposite door we had entered, a nanny came in with a little guy who was just hysterical crying. I immediately knew that he was being adopted. Then more nannies started coming in. All of a sudden, a lady I recognized from pictures walks towards the glass entry doors. She was the assistant director of Hefei SWI. Holding her hand, was the most adorable little girl. She was wearing an orange ruffled shirt with a butterfly embroidered on it, and white and orange matching capri pants. She wore socks and walked in squeaking away with cute, little, red sandal squeaky shoes! I yell out, and let me reiterate the word yell, "THERE SHE IS!!!" My Mom jumped about 10 feet but I wanted them to see her in the midst of the commotion of nannies, families, guides and babies in this small lobby waiting for the elevator doors to open.
I immediately head in her direction. The AD (assistant director) kneels next to FengQin and our guide tells her that I am her Mama. The AD then tells Anna Grace to come with me and Anna Grace looks at her like she's lost her mind. No way, no how. The elevator door opens and the AD heads inside with Anna Grace in tow. We all follow into the extremely crowded elevator. Scott has this huge backpack on and is pushing Kai on the stroller. He stands at the door of the elevator where I had already secured my spot next to Anna Grace and the AD and says, "I'll take the next one". I think, "The hell you are!" And grab the stroller and drag into the already bursting at the seams elevator while Scott follows shoving its passengers within inches of each other. It was only 2 floors....they'd survive.
We all bail out of the elevator and head into a room filled with long desks and chairs. Everyone finds a private spot to sit in around their child and their nannies. Anna Grace's nanny did not go, only the AD. The AD sits and then places Anna Grace on her lap. I kneel before her and gently reach out to rub her arm. She pushes my hand away. The AD pulls out a cookie that Anna Grace had in a little package and unwraps it for her. She starts munching away, but no doubt, keeping an eye on the looney woman who keeps invading her space. The AD is wonderful in telling her that I am her Mama and we point to Baba, GeGe, and PoPo. No dice. She wants nothing to do with any of us. I then reach into the diaper bag and pull out the little Asian doll. She holds it for about 30 seconds and declares it is not worth going to us for. She puts it down. This went on for about 30 minutes. We tried everything and she would just break down hysterically at the thought of being told that I was going to hold her.
So, the AD hands me a candy and tells me to open it and give it to her. I do. Then she signals for me to pick her up. Oh my Lord. The screams could've been heard in Florida. It broke my heart. She was literally shaking in fear. Her body trembled. I just couldn't hold her like that. I hand her back to the AD and thank her but tell her that we prefer to wait until she is more comfortable. We continue to try or another 15 minutes. Anna Grace remains firm in her conviction that she wants nothing to do with us. I even moved away and let Scott try. Nothing. She would stare at Kai, but no interaction whatsoever. When she wasn't hysterical, it was just a stoic face.
Finally the AD needs to leave. She signals for the guide to entertain FengQin while she grabs her purse and slips out. The guide begins speaking to her in Chinese and all of a sudden when the AD grabs her purse to leave, Anna Grace again screams at the top of her lungs, her body lunging towards the direction that the AD had gone. The guide picks her up and trys to comfort her. The scenario remains the same, except that now it's not the AD, it's the guide she won't leave to go with us. So, we had to make a decision because we had tried for over an hour. Paperwork needed to be completed and almost everyone was gone. The guide said, "Take her into the hallway and try and distract her. I will stay here." I tell Scott, who is videotaping this entire thing I am going to hold her and go into the hallway. He heads out in front of me. The guide peels Anna Grace off of herself and hands her to me and the wailing and grieving cries resonate throughout the entire floor.
I remember when I received Kai, a little girl that was also from his orphanage was pretty much the same. Being taken to the window helped calm her. I look around and notice that at the end of the long hallway there is a window. So, I head in that direction. We get to the window and after a couple of minutes the screams begin to subside and are now replaced by sad, deep sobs interchanged with heavy sighs. She was literally shaking like a leaf. Her entire little body was shiverying and I could feel her little heart pounding against me. I continue to whisper to her in Chinese that it's ok, while rubbing her back. She calms down a bit. I then walk away from the window and start pacing the hallway. I realize she is looking into every open doorway searching for a familiar face. So, I sit on the floor of the hallway against a wall. I straddle her legs around my waist, having her face me and I pull her close. We sit there while I rock her. Her sobbing stops and is now just the deep sighing. We sit there for about 20 minutes. Just she and I. I pray over her and begin to sing. I can tell she is exhausted, but she won't go to sleep.
My Mom had been watching Kai. She comes over and kneels next to us. I ask her to see if Anna Grace wants to go with her. So, my Mom reaches out her arms to her. Anna Grace pulls back and tightens her hold around me. A good sign. We stayed there for another 10 minutes, then I get up and head back into the room where by now, everyone had left except for our guide and us. She sees the guide and begins some quiet crying again, but nothing compared to before. I continue to whisper to her that it is ok and rub her arms and back. She quiets down again.
We, finally after almost 2 hours, leave the Civil Affairs office. We stop at the store to buy some diapers and some snacks, etc. While we are walking thru the store we get stopped 3 times by locals asking if Anna Grace and Kai are twins. Anna Grace is about 1/2 inch taller than Kai. Their resemblance is pretty astounding. I believe she is heavier than Kai. She just fits into 18 months clothes and is wearing about 24 months, which fortunately is what I brought. Her feet are pretty big and she is pretty tall for a 2 year old.
After the shopping, we go into Pizza Hut and have some lunch. She puts down a slice of pizza and a cream of chicken soup. She still remains very stoic. Scott and Kai start fooling around and giggling and laughing. She watches every move that we make. I start playing with her and she tries really hard not to crack a smile. She is usually succesful. When she can't hold it, she will then turn her head away so that I can't see that she is smiling.
We finished our meal and head back to the hotel. Due to my poor sleep last night, and the mental exhaustion that we've all been through, I suggest we all nap. I lay next to her and Kai on her other side. I begin to rub her head, and within minutes she is sound asleep. She slept for over two hours.
We then got up and headed towards a park just a couple of blocks from the hotel. Lotus Park. It is a beautiful park filled with lakes and amusement rides. The kids are both in their strollers. Again we get stopped and asked if they are twins. I have a picture of them taken on a swing and we go to an old playground for them to go on the slide. The stoic look is a bit more relaxed by now, especially when she slid down the 10 ft. slide with her Baba.
One poignant moment today was when we were at the park. We were strolling thru the beautiful gardens and I hear a very faint sound. I tell my Mom and Scott to stop speaking a second, and we realize that it is Anna Grace....singing. It was the sweetest thing. I leaned down to listen closer, but she stopped. She didn't sing anymore after that.
We came back to the hotel, and had dinner at the Noodle Shop on the 2nd floor. I gave them both a bubble bath, which she again was not too crazy about. No tears, but just not happy. We then gave Baba his Father's Day gift and then I put them both to bed. Kai fell asleep on our bed and I moved him to the crib. She fell asleep in my arms, clutching her dolly. I will keep her in our bed in case she awakens. I want to be right there.
She truly is a gift and a blessing. She seems so very sweet. I especially love how she looks at Scott when he carries her. There is no doubt that she will have him wrapped around her finger, if she hasn't already. A few times today he has out of the total blue said out loud, "She is so sweet and beautiful". I have wondered many times today what her true personality is like.
Kai is very sweet with her, although for the most part, not too interested. He has shared his toys willingly. I think they will grow up being great friends. She loves to see him up to his antics, and as usual, he loves the attention. :)
We are so very thankful to our Lord for leading us to Anna Grace. Her being a part of our life has made us complete.
Enjoy the pictures. I will try and put up some video of the gotcha moment. If I can't get it up tonight, I will do so in the morning. Again, thank you all for your prayers. She is doing well and we hope with each passing day she realizes we are here forever and love her unconditionally.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
OMG!! It's 5:15 a.m. here. I really thought the last post I wrote would be the last one before us seeing Anna Grace. But, I've tossed and turned to the point that I think I've rubbed the threads out of the sheets. Kai, my Mom and Scott are all snoring away. I wish I could scream to everyone..."WAKE-UP!!! DON'T YOU REALIZE THAT WE ARE SOOOOOOOOOO CLOSE TO HOLDING ANNA GRACE?" UGH! What's the matter with these people? Or should I be asking, "What's the matter with me?"
I am not at all nervous or anxious. I am excited. Excited in the same exact way that I was excited when I was in labor with my other children and I had FINALLY reached 10 centimeters (epidurals helped...so no pain) and they said, "Now, we're going to push. In a little while now you will be holding your baby." The funny thing is that I feel like the doctor is not in the hospital yet so they don't let you push! heh. Ok. I must sound like I've lost it. But I'm so ready.
I still have gifts to put together and my pants to iron, but I don't want to start making noise quite yet. Trust me, soon!
As I lay in bed, I keep thinking what should we do first when we see her? Should I give her the little Asian doll I brought her? No...food! Food is good. I think I will come in with Oreos and cheerios in hand, and then reach out the doll. So many planned scenarios going thru my brain. But then I remember being told that Kai was on the 6th floor and we walk into the building and he's smack in front of me. Every plan flew out the window.
Ok. It's now 5:25. I REALLY can't wait any longer. I'm gonna turn on a couple of lights and I know Kai will be the first one up. I will let him do the rest. :)
::DEEEEEP BREATHS::::: Will she be wearing bows or barettes? Will she be in a dress or pants? ::KEEP BREATHING OHILDA:: Will she smile at us at all?
Can you tell I'm killing time till the clock strikes 5:30? I figure it's a nice round figure to wake someone. HA!
I'm really gonna try not to cry too, when I see her. What if she calls me Mama? OMG!! Then I know the damns will break and I will probably shove Scott in front of me!
Ok. It's 5:29, considering the time it takes to publish this, it will be 5:30. Thank you all for listening to my rambles. GOTTA GO PUSH.....THE DOCTOR HAS ARRIVED!!!!!
Next post will be with my daughter next to me. (God willing).
UPDATE: Sorry....just had to post this. I am falling over laughing. As soon as I clicked publish, the phone rang!! It was our wake-up call. Scott thought that I might over sleep so he asked for a 5:30 call. Aaahhh....men! Ya gotta love 'em. Off to shower.
First, I want to wish a very happy Father's Day on this incredibly special day to all of the Fathers out there, including my own very special Daddy whom I am spending the first Father's Day ever, away from this year, but for a very good reason and his new granddaughter is probably the best Father's Day gift he will ever receive. I know that Scott is dying with anticipation to get his "gift". :)
Before I go into receiving Anna Grace, I want to quickly recap the day yesterday. I say quickly because I fell asleep at about 10 p.m. and now it is 1:00 a.m. I REALLY need more than 3 hours of sleep. I have not been feeling well. My stomach has been bothering me a bit. PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS TO PASS. I want to be able to enjoy every second with our new daughter without being ill.
Ok, back to YiWu. After my last post, we went to breakfast and then met our guide in the lobby. We told him about our change of plans and he was fine with it. We took Kai over to the People's Park across the hotel and we strolled through the park, attracting onlookers every where we went. I did see so many beautiful children, and with each little girl I saw, my heart beat stronger and louder. My almost every thought now is being consumed with the first meeting of our baby girl.
At the park, there were several groups scattered throughout singing and playing instruments. It was beautiful. We'd stop and film it and Kai watched with intensity. At one point, we were approached by an older lady who knelt down before Kai and he immediately hid his face. I asked him not to be rude and to say hello, but he refused. Then she kept looking at me over and over and saying, "Pa? Pa?" I had no clue, since we were on our own what she was saying. Later at the hotel, Tony explained that she was asking if Kai was scared. I'd say he probably was. This journey has brought much closure for him also and with each situation that arises, he realizes that we are his family and that he has nothing to fear, we will never, ever leave him.
After visiting the park, we went back to the hotel and met Tony and Mr. Jia and Kai's entourage of bellboys and desks clerks. It was funny because people were asking who was "Kai-Kai" and then looking around since all you heard in the large room was "Kai-Kai, Kai-Kai". When this first occurred, Kai felt like a celebrity and hammed it up. Now he is getting used to the celebrity status and just sticks to those he knows.
We checked out of the hotel, loaded our bags and headed to the Christian church. Ralph, thank you for the email advising us of it. It ended up being the "Buddist temple" we had passd with Tony. heh. We arrived at about 9:45. The main church was a huge, about the size of two movie theaters, hall. And it was standing room only. The service was in Chinese. We asked our guide to inquire about the English service and we were led to the third floor of another building.
As we walked up the third flight of stairs, we heard singing. It didn't sound like English to me, but everyone said yes and we entered the room. It was a classroom with a 4 person group up front; two singing, 1 girl on keyboard and one man playing guitar.
The service was beautiful and I received yet another affirmation. One of the praise and worship songs we sang was "Shout to the Lord", which is the "lullabye" that I sing Kai and AJ to sleep with and will be singing every night to Anna Grace.
A few minutes after the praise and worship ended they asked new comers to please stand and introduce themselves. We did and we were able to praise God out loud and thank him for the journey and for our beautiful children. It was so heartwarming to be in the midst of so many children of God from all over the world, praising and worshipping one God. It affirmed that we are one body in Christ. The singing group was from Nigeria, the pastor is from South Africa and there were Germans, of course Chinese, a lady from New Zealand and Americans in His midst. It was beautiful.
At the end of the service, I had a young girl, probably in her early twenties come to me and tell me she was from Hefei, in Anhui province, where Anna Grace is from. I could not help but wonder if that is what her birthmother looked like. It was a wonderful service and we are so happy we went.
After the service we boarded the van loaded with our luggage and took the 2 hour drive to Hangzhou airport so that we could head to Hefei.
When we arrived at the airport, there was a 4 hour wait. We ended up eating the worst meal of our trip. We ordered $5 US bread and jam sandwiches and Scott ordered a $7US apple juice, which we have not let him forget. All in all, the meal at the airport cost over $55 and was horrible!!!! We just had to laugh.
It was finally time to check-in, pass security and go to our gate. Shortly afterwards we board a bus that takes us to our plane waiting on the tarmac. It was a small 26 passenger puddle jumper that smelled of years of sweat on the worn plane seats. It was ok. We would manage and it was only an hour.
We arrive at the airport, which was not much bigger than YiWu's airport and our guide, Doris, is waiting. A young girl with a sweet smile. We were originally expecting "Mr. Ding", who was a seasoned guide, but we have heard that he has since moved to a management position and now assigns the guides. Doris crosses the yellow customs line to assist us as we try to expain to the person at the one carousel that we are missing our stroller. She intercedes and a half hour later, the stroller is found and we are on our way.
Now, I can get to the part of my feelings of being in Hefei and knowing not only that my beautiful daughter is less than 30 minutes from where we are, but that in a matter of hours now, she will be forever ours. She will be Anna Grace Fengqin Bombardier. I can't wait. The thought of being the mother to three very little ones terrifies me at times, but I feel that God has equipped me and that both, Scott and I, are on the path that we are meant to be on. Then, I look at her sweet face in the pictures that I have. I think about how everything in her life is going to change. For those that have not adopted, when you receive your child, please keep that in mind. EVERYTHING in that child's life will change. From the food, to the smells, to the people, to the language, to the culture, to even the type of clothes that they wear. They will be made anew and leave everything they have ever known behind within minutes of being walked into a government office or a hotel room to meet their new parents. I cannot even fathom how scary that must be.
Before I close with my message to Anna Grace, I want to thank everyone reading for your support, prayers, emails and comments. It is overwhelming to see how many people are following our journey and I have not felt alone for one moment since we arrived in China. I have heard quite a few times from emails and comments that this has been a spiritual journey and I could not agree more. I have seen Jesus in so many faces that I can no longer count. I feel like I'm on a retreat, but instead of being still....I am retreating to His world and He is our tour guide. He has led us to the very places He has wanted us to be and I pray that we have been obedient in what He has asked of us. Thank you all again for walking down this path with us.
Our guide is meeting us in the hotel lobby at 9 a.m. and Anna Grace should be in our arms by 9:30 p.m., EST. Please continue to pray for Anna Grace, and also for Kai, that he accept his Mei-Mei with as much love as we accepted him into our arms. We are blessed to have each and every one of our children.
Amanda, AJ, Tito, and Adam....
We are just hours away from meeting your sister. I hope you are all as excited as we are. I can just envision her joining into the chaos and craziness that we call our home, and loving every minute of it. We were told she is very introverted, but then again so was Kai and we could not have a more social butterfly now. May she feel the love that you are sending through the miles.
I miss you guys so very much!! Tito, happy Father's Day, sweetheart!
I love you all as much as the whole wide world.....and back again,
In less than 8 hours from now, I will be before you, looking into those beauiful, almond shaped eyes and hopefully kissing those precious rosebud lips. Nine months ago, you were just a dream. One that I didn't know would ever come true. We were told that you would belong to someone else, but our Lord knew you would be ours before He even created the earth. We just had to continue to walk on faith and allow him to lead the way. He did, and that is the reason we are here now, just hours from holding you for the very first time.
There are so many things that I want for you out of this life. But more than anything material in this world, we want you to learn the unconditional love that your Heavenly Father has for you. That same love was given to Him by His Blessed Mother, and we shall give to you now. We are honored to be blessed with you and will love you always. You are no longer a little girl in an orphanage in Hefei, you are a daughter, a sister, a niece, a granddaughter and I am sure you will be a friend to many. Always follow your heart and do what you feel is right, regardless of what the world around you tells you. God will never, ever let you down and if you are obedient, He will keep His promises. We are a living testimony to that because here we are, waiting to be blessed with the most beautiful little girl in China.
As I told your brother before we picked him up. We are now a family, and as a family we will make it together through every struggle and challenge that you are faced with. And when the cross becomes to hard to bear, we let it go and let God carry it for us.
Your Baba, Po-Po, Ge-Ge and I are filled with anticipation as the hours count down. I can't sleep because the thoughts of your beautiful face fill every corner of my mind arousing my senses to the pont that I could almost smell your hair and feel your soft skin. It is only hours now, my little one. Hang in there. Your wait has come to an end. It is now your turn and you will no longer have to see your friends leave with their forever families while you are left behind. You are front and center now, and will remain that way for life, along with your precious other siblings.
I love you. May you be dreaming this very moment of your Mama and Baba surrounding you with love.