Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gotcha Day

It is about 8:45 p.m. Guangzhou time. Yu-da ("Da da" or "A-da") is being doted over by all the grandparents. Julie is off taking care of some paperwork (she lost the rock-paper-scissors contest to see who had to go). I've finally gotten the computer set up so I can write this post and off-load today's video.

But first:

The day went as smoothly as one could want, with the possible exception of my missing breakfast in order to do this morning's entry and pack up all my electronic crap.

But we got off to the airport in good order, guided by our new guide, David, who is an experienced adoption guide. David is a sweetheart and very capable.

The airport was no big deal, somebody else dealt with the luggage and so by about 12:30 we were in the White Swan hotel, waiting to check in.

Our appointment at the Social Welfare office was 2:30, so we didn't have enough time to get lunch. Julie and I were both so keyed up that we couldn't have eaten anything anyway. We busied ourselves getting the gifts and money ready. Then we went downstairs to wait for the bus. We got to meet the remaining families that had come direct to Guangzhou, one of which was here for their second child. Everyone was very nice.

The bus took us to the Social Welfare office, somewhere in downtown Guangzhou, we all filed up to the 5th floor and went into this big conference room ringed with couches to wait for the babies.

The first child was an eight-year-old being adopted by an older couple. She was there already and we saw her as soon as we got off the elevator. That was a little strange but the parents dealt with it fine. It was really hard to watch because she was simulataneously excited and scared--I can only imagine what it must be like to go through this sort of transition at that age. But her new parents seemed to be pretty sensitive. The only point in this whole process where I nearly cried was when the little girl started crying--it just broke my heart.

The first baby to come in was this darling girl in a little gold Emperor suit, including the little hat. She was darling and we all ooed and awed over them. We then had a wait of about 10 mintues, when they announced that the Mao Ming baby was here--Yu da!

We stood up and went near the door to get the baby--the Orphanage Lady brought her in and put her in Julie's arms and we were hooked. She was just as placid and alert as could be, just taking it all in. She was immediately cuddly and happy.

Inexplicably, neither of us wept openly, although there were a few quiet tears.

After that more baby's came but we really didn't notice. Bill and Peggy and Judy all circled around taking pictures, I guess, I wasn't really paying any attention. We spent what seemed like hours grilling the Orphanage Lady about Yu-da's care and habits. She mentioned that she likes to be held, which is clearly the case. She is just the cuddliest thing. Judy had written out a bunch of questions and led the questioning process, which was great because neither Julie nor myself were in any condition to ask anyone anything. At some point I was called away to give the Orphanage Lady the orphanage donation and the gifts for the orphanage officials and nanny's. When I went back, it was clear that Yu-da (who henceforth will be referred to as "Da da", as that's what they called her in the orphanage) was getting sleepy so I put on the baby sling and put her in. She went right to sleep and slept until we got back to the hotel.

We got back to our room, spent a few minutes just marveling at her, then started trying to get something together for her to eat. The grans assembled and we headed out to dinner because we were all starving.

We ate at Lucy's Bar and Grill, just down the street from the White Swan, sitting outside in the warm, sultry evening. Very pleasant. After dinner we had to get back to the room so that one of us could meet with David at 8:00 to do paperwork.

And here we are, approaching bedtime, new parents.

Tommorrow at 8:00 a.m. we go back to the Social Welfare office to finalize the adoption from the Chinese end, at which point she will be officially and irrevocably ours.


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