Sep 10

Settling in as a Family

Category: In China

Well hello out there, is everyone doing alright? Got that first Sunday of footy under our belts do we??? Looks as though it was entertaining. Thank goodness for the web. Well, here I am, a new dad, still kinda gets me when I say that (chills and all). I truly meant to post last nite after the paperwork session down stairs, but I was gassed, seriously spent. Sorry, I am confident you understand, but I want to give a full accounting, so as R.E.M. would say, “Lets Begin at the Begin”.

After a relatively quick 1 1/2 hr flight from Hong Kong we were collected at the airport by our local CCAI rep Evelyn ( a true angel) who gathered up our group(s) 16 families total!! Thats a very large group by adoption standards. We were brought to our hotel here in Nanchang, The Jin Feng hotel, and checked into our rooms. Our flight landed at 1 pm and on the way to the hotel from the airport Evelyn made us all aware that we would receive our children at 5 pm at the hotel. OMG!!! She also told us that we would have a 1.5 hr meeting prior to the babies arriving, that started at 3 pm. Once Kelly and I dropped our bags in the room we just kinda freaked out. We paced in the room waiting for the meeting. At the meeting Evelyn and her team went over the details of our schedule while here in Nanchang, including what would be required of us on Sunday nite once the babies were in our arms (nothing, go be a family!) and today, with all of our appointments (very precise, very hectic). She also had a roster printed out for all of us that included the parents full names, the childs Chinese and English names, and what rooms everyone was in, and where you were from. Very helpful. The meeting ended about 4:30 pm, this gave us one half hour to prepare for the babies arrival. Kelly and I went back upstairs, checked and re-checked the camera, video, and made sure we looked somewhat presentable. At about 4:55 pm we caught the elevator back down to the 2nd floor and went to the conference room where we had just met as a group earlier. Evelyn proceeded to tell us in what order the babies would be handed over (alphabetical), and we then knew we would be the second family to receive their child. Now here’s where things go into ssssllllooowww motion in my mind. As I sat there alongside Kelly, we kept looking at each other and could not get a word out, but a strange feeling came over the both of us I think. Up until then, I had been a wreck for most of the day, not an emotional one, just had a real uneasiness about me. like I wanted to hurl, but could not. So we just sat there us two, and held hands, and looked at each other. We were about to become parents, and we both knew it. Some times the biggest and most significant events or moments in your life, become apparent to you after they occur. Not this one. This one we could both see coming waaaaay down the road. I have to admit, it was a quiet, peaceful feeling. A few moments later Evelyn announced that the babies had arrived and it was time to get ready. Now our nerves and hearts raced. Just outside the door we could here the babies, some vocalizing, some crying. The anticipation was palpable. The Anderson family from Florida stood just inside the doorway and when the door opened in came their daughter. We looked on in amazement knowing full well, we were next. They posed for video and still shots and then Evelyn called our Madison’s Chinese name “Guo, Si Chan” we came forward and waited. The door then swung open and in came a caregiver with our Madison. She had a pink outfit on, and a photo ID card from the orphanage around her neck. We presented our passports for verification, and the caregiver placed Madison in Kelly’s waiting arms. I stood behind trying to take the whole scene in. Madison clung to Kelly instantly, never taking her eyes off her. She was soooo amazing. We too posed for our camera’s and for those of others, and receded to the table where we had earlier been. I was stunned, something we had both been anticipating for so long had finally just happened. We were finally a family. I had always prepared myself for a situation where we would receive her, and she (not knowing us at all) would just absolutely lose it and cry for about 3 days straight. Not the case at all. She was so peaceful. While we were in the conference room, she just sat there in Kelly’s or my arms and just stared at us, studying our faces, both visually, and with her tiny little fingers. It calmed me considerably, and made me even more aware that this was meant to be. After watching the others receive their children, and pulling a little camera duty for others we proceeded upstairs to spend our first night alone with her. After arriving in the room, I proceeded to make a bottle and see if she would take it. Seeing as she was bonding to Kelly so well, I gave the bottle to Kelly and she in turn presented it to Madison. Madison grabbed the bottle from Kelly (yes, grabbed) and began to gulp it down. Yep, she knows what to do with that bottle alright!! Once that was complete, a quick burp or two and we three just sat on the bed and got to know one-another. The rest of the evening was kind of a blur. I had to go back down to fill in/out paperwork for today, and by the time I got back, Kelly almost had Madison ready to go down, and I was spent. Both Kelly and I slept soundly, and Madison (as our report said) sleeps like a rock, and does not wake until about 6 am . We awoke a little early as we had to leave for the Jiangxi Province Registration office by 8 am. This is where our adoption became official. We posed for a family photo (for their records) and then had an interview with a registrars official. The conversation was brief (think soup Nazi) and after assuring her that we would love, educate and not abandon her, we were done. They did present us with a lovely porcelain vase for her (small, but nice, a keepsake). We got back on the bus, and Evelyn came down shortly thereafter with what is known as “The Red Book” (not Chairman Mao’s, Karsten) which states that the adoption is official in the eyes of the Chinese government and that no-one can lay claim to her except us.

Then it was off to the Notary and Security offices. Same questions at the notary’s office, same answers. The security office was simply to have her Chinese passport photo made. Once we completed this, we headed back to the hotel to rest prior to meeting with the Orphanage director and some of the staff from the Guixi City Welfare Institute where Madison had been for the last 8 months (all her life). The entire group was present with our children ( I have a daughter, still freaks me out) and it was a somewhat emotional meeting. The orphanage director gave a quick presentation on the facility and stated that while he and his staff were very sad to see these beautiful girls leave, they were extremely happy that they were going to wonderful loving homes. Now, I know this is going to sound kinda corny, but it would be easy to show up, say some kind words to the adoptive parents, and be about your way, almost machine like. But truthfully, you could see in his eyes, and in his tone of voice, especially when he spoke about how he hoped that one day, they would come back, and see where their lives had begun, that he and his staff loved these little ones very much. And truly, theirs is a labor of love. That gave me pause, and made me appreciate this gift even more.
We were able to ask a few questions, take some pictures, and find out who the exact nannies for our girls were. They provided the names, and asked for us to email or send photos of these girls as they grow, so they too could follow in their progress. Done and done. They also informed us on who was rooming with whom in the orphanage, yet another red thread connection for these girls. So she’s ours, and we are hers, sounds kinda nice eh? I must admit, tonite I am better and more comfortable in this role, but I have a looooooong way to go. I supposed that is to be expected.

Later this afternoon many in our group paid a visit to the Wal-Mart here in Nanchang. not your average Wally, this I can assure you. Some things one would expect, and some things one would never expect. The photo’s in the gallery will explain alot. I went for bottled water, some Diet Coke (Coke Light here) and some fruit and peanuts/pistachios. Mission accomplished. I also purchased a few things for Madison (how does a dad resist??). Tomorrow is our appointment with the Pediatrician, and then the schedule is clear until we leave for Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon. There will be some touring in the interim, so keep checking back, there will be more to share.

I also posted some new shots from our second night in Hong Kong (Kowloon) in the photo section in the “follow along” area.

We want all of you to know that we are thinking of you, and cannot wait to share this precious little one with you all when we come home.

Love to all!!

Kurt

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