Gazing Upward



It’s been an amazing day! When I awoke this morning, I almost felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I made sure her crib was ready and her outfits were all organized. I packed a diaper bag, and we headed downstairs to meet our guide.

I was a bit surprised that I felt so calm, but I did get choked up a few times on the way over to the Civil Affairs office. We were so fortunate that my friend Joy (whom you’ve seen in pics in the last few posts) was able to come with us this morning. We joked that she was getting to see a Gotcha Day video live! We were so thankful she was with us because when we arrived at the building and began walking into the room, Joy was ahead of us and stopped when she saw a little girl inside. Grace wasn’t supposed to be there yet, so we didn’t have any of our cameras ready. Joy confirmed the girl was indeed our daughter, so we were able to get our video camera to our guide and our digital camera to Joy so they could capture the moments following that we’ll remember forever.

When we walked in, Grace was standing with the lady who had brought her there and was looking at a soft photo album we had sent with pictures of our family.

As we walked in, I remember thinking, “She is just gorgeous!” She had on pink striped pajamas (with two other outfits underneath!), white sandals, and pigtails. She walked toward us a bit as we squatted down, but she was very interested in holding onto the pictures.

Her little lip quivered, and for a moment, I thought she’d start crying. But she held it together, perhaps because she was forced to in the foster home and orphanage. She let me hold her without any objection.

While Scott filled out paperwork and Joy snapped away with the camera, I hugged Grace and fed her puffs. She LOVES the puffs!

After we got more acquainted with Grace, they took us into a room to take a family picture.

She was pretty subdued and despondent all morning, but she did begin to make good eye contact with me. And that’s a very positive sign for bonding. She would smile and even let out some giggles when I lifted her up and down in the air. Her laugh made my heart sing. And when she smiles, she has the most adorable dimple on her left cheek!!!

A little sidenote….there was another family at the office, and their daughter is only one month younger than Grace. But she has been at the orphanage the entire time. She was much much smaller, could barely hold her head up, and was clearly severely delayed. The mother showed me that their daughter’s head was flattened on the back, similar to what young babies sometimes develop from laying on their backs. One of our adoption seminars taught that orphanage babies often spend 20 out of 24 hours in their cribs. Seeing the two girls side by side, I was overcome with gratitude that she had been moved to the foster village after 6 months. I am sure that this other precious girl will flourish now that she has been united with her forever family. It is amazing how these children change and grow when in the loving care of a family.
Grace fell asleep on the way to the place to file for a passport. They had to wake her up so she could be photographed for it, and I hated that! She looked so peaceful.

This is the woman who brought Grace to us today and oversees the paperwork of all the children.

When we got back to the hotel, we tried to see if Grace (whom we’re still calling Xue Hua right now so she’ll recognize her name) would go to Scott. She began crying and immediately reached back for me. I was sad that Scott couldn’t hold her, but we were both very encouraged that she seems to be bonding with me already. It’s very important for adopted children to bond with the mothers first.

Joy has been a blessing her entire visit with us, and she had already gone out to Salvadors (our fave place to eat here in Kunming) and brought back lunch for us. She had to leave by 1 pm to fly back home, and we were so sad to watch her go. She took lots of pics with her camera, as both of ours died pretty soon after we returned to the hotel, so she’s going to email me some pics later today.

Grace sat on the bed and began playing with stacking cups. Before long, we realized she had nested all seven cups in the correct order! This is huge…many adopted babies don’t know how to play with toys, much less put them together correctly.

We fed her some lunch and gave her some antibiotics the orphanage gave us (they said she has a sore throat), and then changed her into some clothes we’d brought.

She actually smelled so clean…just like Johnson and Johnson! We did notice a large purple/blue spot covering her lower back and tailbone, and we realized (after research) that it’s a Mongolian blue spot. But it’s supposed to be painless and should fade over time. She also has some spots on her legs, back and arms. They’re light brown…we’re not yet sure what they are, but we’re not overly concerned. As we expected, she has the Anning tan from being out on the farm with her foster mom. Her face and hands are very tanned! You can see a tan line in the picture…her arms are much lighter.
I initially thought she looked big for her age (compared to other Chinese children), but she really is quite small. The 9 mo and 12 mo clothes will definitely fit her, and she will probably grown into 18 mo by the summer simply because her legs are long. But she is very very skinny. Her hip bones practically stick out.
Before she fell asleep for her nap, Grace really began coming out of her shell. She started a game of giving me a toy and then pulling it away. She was squealing, laughing, smiling, and babbling. She loved looking through the photo album book and would running her hands over our pictures.

We’ve been very surprised that she’s doing so well, but I know the night is often the most difficult times for the children. Please say a little prayer over her when you read this that she would recognize comfort and security in our arms tonight.

I’ve probably made this long enough! I know I’ll keep thinking of more details to add. And we’ll continue to add pics and video each day. We don’t fly out to Guangzhou until Friday night because her passport won’t be ready until after 3 pm on Friday. (I didn’t know until today that this is why we have to wait a week in her province and then not have a consulate appt until next week.)
I’m a happy mama today, and Scott and I both keep looking at each other in awe. This day is surreal…we have a daughter! And now we just look forward to uniting with Carter so all four of us can be together.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.”

Isaiah 34:5


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