Hello Everyone!!! First off I want to say that we are not putting up a Gotcha video right now because we are WAY too tired to edit and you can read the details below. Nadia and I in the orphanage conference room.
We all woke up about 6:30 and started to get ready. I double checked that everything we needed was packed and was surprisingly calm. I felt so much more prepared for this trip compared to Nadia’s. We went to eat at the breakfast buffet and even though my tummy was filled to the brim with butterflies I made myself eat some sticky buns and egg fried rice. I would have given almost anything for a Coke Light, but that was not a choice so I had hot tea. We came back to the room and Mike had one last talk with Nadia about how this was going to be scary for Amelie and that it was going to be a stressful day for all of us. He also let her know that we were going to spend a lot of time in government offices.
We went down the lobby with all our gear and Tony and our driver were waiting. We headed down the road and I was thinking that I had some time to get my thoughts in order and prepare myself. I had barely started to say a quick prayer and BAM we were pulling into the complex. I told Mike it was so close to the hotel that I didn’t even have time to freak out. The other 2 couples who are from Italy arrived just after us and we were all lead into the main building and into a conference room. We started doing our paperwork immediately and introduced ourselves to the other couples. While we were doing that a couple children came in and were talking and playing around with the adults.I want to stop here to tell other China adoptive parents that Ningxia does not have the “harmonious period” like other provinces. So before we even saw Amelie we were signing all the official documents and giving our fingerprint signatures that she was ours forever. That was fine with us, but I found it interesting that they are not like the other provinces. Okay so we are finished with the paperwork and in come all the kids. BAM! We don’t have the cameras on or anything.
They get Amelie over to us and say, “Baba, Mama, Jie Jie” while pointing at us and she starts screaming at the TOP.OF.HER.LUNGS. They hand her to me and the screaming continues. It was the saddest thing you ever saw and while we were prepared for that it was still heartbreaking to see. So the first 6 minutes of video is her completely hysterical. I finally turned the camera off. The nannies were trying to give her candy and other goodies to get her to calm down, but every time they came near she would reach out to them and scream even louder. I handed her to Mike to see if that would help and Nadia hopped up in my lap and said, “When are they bringing our baby? When are they bringing Amelie?” I said, “That is Amelie.” And Nadia said something like she couldn’t tell because the baby was screaming so loud.
The director was introduced to us and he gave me a sheep scarf and Amelie a necklace made from a mountain top in the province. He also talked to us about how he knew we would give her a good life, but she had a good life there at the orphanage. I told our guide to tell him that we “knew they took very good care of the children and they are very healthy and we are grateful.” (meanwhile the other 2 families from Italy were having a blast with their kiddos who were both boys and older so understood a little better what was going on)
Then we were all taken out into the main area where they had a little group of children waiting and a bunch of the nannies. We posed for photos with the director, just our family and all the families with the children. That part was a total blur – they just moved us where they wanted us and there was a lot of noise and Amelie screaming at the top of her lungs while I was holding her. Then suddenly it was time to go. The whole time inside Mike and I couldn’t wait to get Amelie away from all the women who were trying to make it better, but were just making it worse because she would scream even louder to try and get them to take her. We got out to the van and I climbed in the back with Amelie and she stopped crying instantly. I have no idea how long all that took and how long she screamed, but it felt like forever.
She was shaking and breathing really heavy with tears about to spill out, but at least she was not screaming and started to really look at me. I just kept talking to her in the most soothing way possible. I told her that we loved her and that we were glad that she was going to be a part of our family. We rode in the van over to the Kodak store to have the photo taken for her “red book” which is her adoption decree from China. While there Amelie just looked at me and wanted to be held by me and didn’t want Mike to do anything or come near her. Here we are at the Kodak store when Amelie was really watching me closely and then fell asleep.
After the photos we went to the civil affairs office and did a lot of paperwork. We answered questions that we have answered about 20 times before and signed more documents. I gave Nadia and Amelie each a lollipop and she ate it up. She was still looking nervous and had tears about to well up the entire time, but she was improving. She what felt like 50 layers of clothes on and they had us put her coat we brought on her too so it was like holding a giant marshmallow. She did not make any sounds at all during all of this except to cry. After the civil affairs office we went and got some food at a chicken place. Amelie let me feed her and then we decided that Mike better do it since she was so freaked out by him. She started to cry, but wanted the food so she laid all the way back in the highchair with her face as far from him as possible and refused to look at him. She let him feed her, but that was it. When I took the food back to finish she sat right up and looked at me while I fed her. Then we went to the hotel and I got her undressed ASAP and changed her diaper and put some fresh clothes on and then laid her on the bed with me so she could have a quick nap. While the nap was going on Nadia was doing this in the other room – writing a note to Amelie.
We want you to know she did that all on her own. “Mike is not a monster. From Nadia”
Then Tony returned to take us back to the Civil Affairs office to get our red book. From there we headed to the police station to have our photos taken for her Chinese passport. We had to wait there a long time and had a lot of people staring and asking questions of each other to figure us out. At 3:35 pm Amelie finally cracked the tiniest of smiles for me. It was fast and fleeting, but I saw it and it gave me hope and I teared up. We had her 6 hours at this point. After the police station we came back to the hotel and I sat Amelie on the bed and Nadia got to work with the toys. The very first thing Nadia wanted to do was read her “moo ba la la la” and it was so sweet. After just a bit Mike laid down on the bed next to her and she refused to look at him the entire time but she didn’t scream with him there. I was even able to get right up and do a few things like go to the bathroom and she didn’t scream. We brought some Little People animals and some peek a blocks and they were a hit.
Through nearly 8 hours she was completely silent except for the crying. We know that she can say some Chinese words, but she didn’t say anything and really just looked so scared of us. We decided that we would head over to the store we found last night and get some supplies. We had Nadia in the stroller and I put Amelie in the cart with her peek a block she had the death grip on. About half way through our trip she started to swing her legs and bang the block on the cart and look a little – dare I say it? Happy. And then while we were checking out I got her to smile and you would have thought I had climbed Mount Everest I was so proud! It was such a thrill to see those little teeth and cute lips. By the time we got back to the hotel I had her laughing which was precious.
We went to dinner and when I started to feed her I couldn’t do it fast enough and she had a huge smile after every bite. By the end of dinner she was dancing along to Stevie Wonders “I just called to say I love you.” Nadia was like “there’s a happy face! Sissy is dancing!” And Nadia really needed to see that. In so many ways I think that today was a disappointment for her sweet little heart. It didn’t really matter how many times we had told her that Amelie would probably be afraid and nervous. To really live it out and not understand why she isn’t just up and excited to be playing was just really hard on her. And Nadia didn’t really get a nap today, so we thought she was a trooper through it all. We know that Amelie will be following her around in no time, but today was a hard time for her. We are very proud of how well she did, because it was stressful for all of us.
We got back to the room and I got the girls in their jammies and teeth brushed and we had a little more play time. At bedtime Nadia sang her 2 songs about Jesus and she fell asleep in my arms. Precious. Amelie said 1 word the entire time we had her and that was when a display fell over at the store. I am praying that we get to see a little more of her personality tomorrow and that she can relax even more and try to communicate with us. She is just so adorable and very curious so I want to see her come through this fear.
Here are a few other random things about Amelie:
They said she was a good eater and this is true and totally opposite of Nadia. She is wearing a solid 18 months for clothes. I have some 12 month I brought that are too short that I am going to give to the orphanage. She has these adorable chunky little baby legs – must be because she eats anything. Her hair is much lighter than Nadia’s and it curls up on the ends.
We are blessed and we are thankful for all of you who have kept us in your prayers. Please continue to do so as we start our life as a family of four with one very scared little girl.