Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 9th, 2015: Gotcha Day Times Two

We woke up and headed to the breakfast buffet in the hotel for the first time.

Evan was super excited about the doughnuts!

Lena took more than she normally would, but she did eat pretty much all of it, 
which surprised me.

Evan and Lena talking to everyone back home via Face Time.

A view out the window of the breakfast buffet.

Lena holding up the little backpacks we had for the girls...there's a story with these I'll share more about below.

We had to meet our guide, Miko, in the lobby at 1:00 p.m. to exchange money and prepare for gotcha day.  We had a little time to kill so we went for a short walk.  This is a shopping area right outside of our hotel.  There is a mall, many restaurants, and a Wal-Mart.  You don't even have to leave the hotel to get to the mall and the Wal-Mart.

More views of parts of the city of Nanning.

We wanted to check out another mall that's about a 10 minute walk away because we had heard there were some good restaurants there, despite most of the stores being high end stores we'd never be able to shop at back home.   We had to share this sidewalk path with all the scooters.  

In the mall we saw this bakery called Momo's. I had to take a picture because we call our Rowan Momo. :)
We found the restaurant we were looking for in the MIXC mall.  We'll come back to it another night when we have more time.   This was the view on our 10 minute walk back to the hotel.

The outside of our hotel.

1:00 came and we headed down to the lobby to go change money.  We were under the impression we would be coming back to the hotel after changing money so we could get everything we needed for gotcha day.  We were wrong.  The trip to the bank took way longer than expected because there was only one window open and a long line.  By the time we got our money exchanged, it was time to go right to the Civil Affairs office.  I learned that I really need to appreciate our bank back home. Thankfully we had our camera and phone for video- the two most important things.  We did not have those little backpacks we prepared for the girls, with some tricks to try to make them happier.  We figured we'd survive the time and the tears and just give them the backpacks when we got back to the room.  You have to be flexible when adopting.   We were also supposed to have our travel approval notice with us and that was in my backpack back in the room.  Thankfully the official was super understanding and said we could bring that back in the morning when we went to finalize the adoption.
We had arrived at the Guangxi Civil Affairs office.   It was lightly raining all day.

The outside of the Civil Affairs office.

Very shortly after we walked in, the four staff members who came with the girls on the train from Liuzhou were walking the girls out.   We didn't really have a minute to prepare or think about anything. There were two men and two women.  I think they were office workers.  I couldn't believe they brought FOUR people with!   The director stayed back because our adoption agency staff were visiting the orphanage that same day!   We had to have just missed each other here in Guangxi.

Macie was wearing a panda shirt I had sent for her last winter, the white coat we had seen her wear in previous pictures, a random pair of pants, and some shoes that are way too tight.  It's on our list to go buy her a new pair of tennis shoes that actually fit well. Macie is still in diapers and she had a diaper on, but no others with her.  They let us know that right away.

Maeleigh had her hair braided so cute and was wearing a red sweater with a dog I think I had seen in photos before, a pink pair of pants, and some cute brown and orange comfy looking tennis shoes.  She already had a sucker in her mouth when we showed up.  We knew she was potty trained already and would later learn that she came to us commando- no undies.   We'd also later find out that her way of telling us she has to go to the bathroom is to just pull down her pants.  That's how we found out she came to us commando. ;)   We may have to work with her on another signal or we may find ourselves embarrassed in public a fair amount of times.   Don't say I didn't warn you!   Hey..at least she doesn't just pull down her pants and start peeing.  I have seen that before in China. 

Our first group shots...with an orphanage staff member included.
This is about when Maeleigh decided she wasn't too happy with this moment.

Macie was pretty easy-going most of the time.  Occasionally she would cry, but it almost seemed like it wasn't really a real cry or that you could give her something and she'd stop instantly.

Maeleigh and Lena embracing for the first time.

Evan and Macie embracing for the first time.  Evan just loves Macie!  

And when it was my turn, I knew this was coming and that she'd get worse.  I knew because she had a wonderful foster mother and today..I was the bad guy.  Rick said he can't wait to show her these pictures some day.  But all joking aside, this is part of adoption.  There are some really hard moments and our hearts broke over and over again this afternoon and evening for our girls and for all that they just lost and had to leave behind.  I cannot even begin to imagine all that goes through their minds and how it must feel to have strangers pick you up and take you to a hotel and to really not know what is going to happen next or tomorrow.  We prayed many times for God to give them peace and for them to know we were safe.

They had the kids sit with the orphanage staff when we signed the first of many forms we'd fill out over the next couple of days.

She cried so much and so hard that she worked herself up into quite a sweat!

Our pictures for the famous 'red book' you receive on adoption day.

The kids together. Maeleigh was coming around now.

There's a partial smile and a dimple!

She wasn't too sure about Evan at first.  The orphanage staff thought she maybe wasn't fond of Evan and I due to our blonde hair and her not really seeing that before.

A glimpse of what was to come.

Lena loving up on Macie!

The BIG sister now!  She's going to be great at it!

Within less than an hour, we were back in the van and off to the hotel.
Precious moments and bonding time were beginning.

Exhaustion has definitely set in for me at this point. I told Rick I could see major bags under my eyes today- I was beat.  


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