Monday, August 18, 2014

The best blog post ever in the history of (our) blog posts.

We woke up around 6:30, just before the alarm went off. I knew we had not let jet lag defeat us when I saw light peeking around the hotel drapes.

We ate at the lovely breakfast buffet. I had cold black fungus AND fresh watermelon with a croissant.

Wakame, roasted tomato, steamed pumpkin and cold noodles.
It was lovely, though I wasn't really focused on breakfast at the time.
It was so fun to see the other families we're with on this journey as they assembled for the day. Three have brought children; two 6 year old girls who were a lot of fun to have along, and a 16 year old girl who gained a 13 year old sister today.

We boarded the bus and our guide Anson started to tell us about the plan for the day. He was so kind-hearted, reassuring us that some of the kids would likely scream and maybe even bite or other behaviors. He said his favorite part of the job is watching people become families by the end of the 10 or 12 days we spend together. After often rough starts, he said, seeing the kids start to trust and play in their families was "really amazing" when we make it to Guangzhou on the weekend.
Anson, our guide.
We arrived at the institute and made our way to our floor. The children were delayed by the rainy weather, so they decided to have us complete our paperwork first. The room was hot and muggy and it was actually nice to sit down at first. As we signed page after page, suddenly a group of boisterous and school-teacher cheerful nannies burst in the door with their charges along. Each child was dressed to the nines- little white flouncy dresses and fanciest shoes as far as the eyes could see.

The handlers asked us to finish our paperwork before being called to meet our children. SERIOUSLY?!??!?! I was looking across the room, already noticing her with her nanny pointing at us. She was wearing a pink tutu dress! (I've always been up front about the fact that tutus are one of the reasons we are adopting a girl.) Her hair was pulled into an elaborate two-sided configuration with rubber bands leading to other rubber banded sections. It looked really cute and really uncomfortable. I felt sorry for her in so many ways. The heat of the room, the nannies trying to force her to do things (which I know they have to do), the overwhelming strangeness and confusion of the whole situation.

She looked right at me across the room and I burst into tears but kept smiling in an unseemly display that probably looked even freakier than my stranger's face to her. I grabbed my phone and took a video of her while trying to remain calm. Her nanny was holding the photo album we sent her and pointing at our picture and then us, shouting MAMA and BABA.
After forever and ever and ever, they finally said it was okay to go to her. We met in the middle of the room, offering a little bear and lollipop and puff treats. We didn't want to overwhelm her, but the nanny kept making her stroke our hands with hers and in about 15 seconds she was wailing the most pitiful cry I have heard in a long time. The inhales had as much cry in them as the exhales. It wasn't actually all that loud, but it did get the point across. She kept that up almost the entire hour or so we waited at the Child Welfare Institute. She was so tired, rubbing her eyes and almost passing out despite herself in my arms. A nanny told us she had been forced to get up at 5am for the trek to the orphanage and from there to the Child Welfare Institute.
She was covering her face to get away from us.
It's okay, we love her already.
She is PLAYING with my necklace! That seems really huge right now. I'll take it!

That's the orphanage director's thumb right there.
She was very shout-y but in an aggressively friendly way.
She shouted something about Mama and Baba at JinFang, too.
I liked her. 

We were finally given the okay to leave for the police station where we would get her picture taken for her passport. On the bus there, she fell deeply asleep. So asleep, in fact, that the police photographer squeaking a toy in her face, pulling on her ears and blowing on her did not wake her up. Poor thing.

At last we were able to have her wake up enough to complete the picture task. It was the first time she was awake, in our arms, and not crying for any length of time.

She was quiet on the bus, and would allow me to place a chip her nannies had sent along with us in her mouth. She would not use her hand to hold the rest of the chip, to take another, would not turn her head to make eye contact, or in any other way participate. I'm pretty sure she didn't even chew, just waiting with resignation for them to dissolve instead. At one point she sat for over a minute with a Pringle sticking halfway out of her mouth. The whole bus was pretty quiet, actually, as the shock of the morning swept over the kids and their families.

She pretends not to notice me, but is following the camera for her selfie.

Eyelashes forever.

We finally arrived back at the hotel, plopped our things down and gently set her on the bed with an array of snacks in front of her. She should have been starving by now. We also turned on the TV because her exit report from the foster home said she likes to watch "cartons". She took one look at us, perhaps realized we were alone, and returned to the heartbroken wailing we started the day with. We tried changing her diaper and wrapping her back up in her soft purple blanket, and eventually she stopped sobbing. It didn't seem we had really comforted her, but that she realized crying was wasting her time.

We ordered Bibimbap, congee and some cantonese rice from room service and plunked her in the crib. She seemed concerned about her shoes being off and when I put them in with her she played with the velcro strap for quite a while. She didn't want anything to do with the congee but did take a steamed bun (kind of like a really soft bread roll) and even fed it to herself. I think she likes having the space of the crib for herself- safe from us for now.

She's finally passed out asleep with two pairs of shoes, part of a bun and the tv on softly in Mandarin. J went out with a group of folks taking the guide to go shopping.

So that's the first few hours of Primrose Fang's life as a Ward. We are waiting for our first smiles, but I'm pretty sure they'll be spectacular when they arrive. Even the little daughters along with their families kept saying how cute she is. She really is beautiful. I can't wait to see her personality start to come out, and get to know her without her shell of distress, fear and confusion.

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