First, it has been beyond describable. The emotions of pulling in to the registration office this morning were just overwhelming. When we got off the bus, our rep ran inside to see who was already there, and when she came back out we were all in a frenzy getting cameras ready, taking cameras from the families whose children were already there, and wondering how long it would be before our children arrived. We all ran inside and started tearing up at the families who were handed their children, and just bursting with joy at their happiness.
One by one the children arrived, and surprisingly with 6 children delivered, there were very few tears from the children. One family in our group is a very special case. They are Americans, living in Shanghi, who have fostered a boy for almost 2 years and are adopting him officially. They still have to go through paperwork here and in Guang Zhou, but their child has been with them almost his whole life. Since they already had their child, they were super gracious in helping take pictures of the rest of us. We all took many photos, and we will be sharing those with each other, so I look forward to seeing what others caught of us with Annabella.
Several official pictures had to be taken, including one of Greg signing the paper stating we would be her official guardians, and one of us as a family with a solid red background. We had to hold her up with her hands down, and she really did not appreciate that one little bit! After all the signing and photos were finished, we came back to the hotel. We received Annabella right in the middle of her nap time, and so she was really clingy I think because of how tired she was. We gave her some cookies and juice, when we got back, and then put her into the tub. She enjoyed her bath, and splashed around in the water and played with the little duck we brought her. When we laid her down in her crib, she immediately pulled up her dress and started sucking on the hem of it. She covers her face when she sleeps, and she rolls from side to side. It is her way of rocking herself to sleep. She knows exactly what her crib is for, and hasn't fussed one iota when we've laid her down. It is as if she is programmed to do it that way.
That part is both relieving and heartbreaking for me. It is nice to know that she can go to sleep easily, and doesn't fight it, but also knowing that she has never been held, loved, rocked, or sung to sleep is hard. Just typing these words has put a lump in my throat. It is hard to watch her and see the "orphanage behavior" as it is called. But I do have to say that she is one of the better looking kids. She was clean, well dressed, and seemed to be very happy. The orphanage brought the two cameras we'd sent over, and they are full of pictures. There is nowhere here to get them developed, so we will be doing that as soon as we get back to the states. We also received the photo album of family photos, and a soft cover album with pictures of us and her room that we sent for her birthday, so we know she got both packages.
She wears a size 4 shoe, and is in 12-18 month clothes. Fortunately I packed mostly dresses that can be worn long or short so we are ok with clothes. I brought two pair of shoes, a 5 and a 6, but they are both too large for her. She came to us with a pair of white Winnie the Pooh sandals that look new so we will just use those until we get to GZ where we plan to buy her some squeaky shoes. She wears a size 3 diaper, just barely. She is so tiny! Her lip repair is done extremely well, especially compared to the others in our group. Her palette has a small hole in the center, which is normal because she will have to have a second repair done to widen it as she grows. Sometimes a tiny bit of formula or cookie will come through her nose because of this, which is also normal for cleft kids. We are going to try to give her a bottle with a different nipple and a sippy cup tomorrow with a larger spout. She does not know how to suck, so we will have to adapt to that, and she will need to learn that.
So far we've given her pear juice, apple juice, and formula. She ate noodles and some unidentifiable food...(maybe mushrooms?) That was sliced super long and thin. We also gave her some nilla wafers and vanilla toddler cookies today at the registration office and when we first got back to the room. She is SUPER messy, and SUPER cute when she eats! She fusses if you try to take her bottle before she is finished with it, and it takes her a long time to drink from it, so there will probably be loads of pictures of her with her bottle in her mouth. The one she has, has a very long nipple and she sticks it into the side of her mouth and chews on it to get the liquid. It is messy and slow, but it is what she knows, and what works for her.
She began opening up more to Greg after her nap, and let him hold her for awhile. She still prefers me, and will not accept him at all when she is tired, but knowing that she is opening up more to him already is very encouraging. Tonight after her nap, we had to make another trip to Wal-Mart to get her formula and some diapers and cloth diapers. Since she is so messy, we decided to grab cloth diapers as a burp cloth of sorts. We got only a couple of grumpy stares, but most of the people smiled and seemed to understand that she was being well cared for. We purchased a stroller from our guide Yisha yesterday, and Annabella allowed us to strap her into it for the long hike to the store and back.
|Headed to Wal-Mart|
|I don't think our wal-mart sells this|
|this is what we have to go through to cross the street. motor vehicles, buses, vans regular motorcycles on the road, then batter powered biked and regular bicyclist and pedestrians all going at the same time in five different directions.|
|Crickets in cages...I might buy one just to be able to say I did|
|One pooped princess|
After her bath tonight she had her first pretty major melt down. We tried to lay her down to put on some lotion and a diaper, and she was NOT going to have ANY of it! We both have decided NOT to attempt putting lotion on her again after her bath tomorrow. Putting pj's on a screaming melted down baby, is difficult to say the least! But as soon as we had on her pj's and I picked her up, she instantly quit crying. Instantly. She talked a little bit tonight as she rocked herself to sleep, and then promptly filled her diaper with her very first poop. PEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUWWWWWWWWWW! Fortunately she went right back to sleep after her diaper change, and currently is sleeping with one tiny foot poked out of the side of her crib.
The ambien is kicking in, so I can't promise to be eloquent, but today, God moved a mountain that I never thought I'd see moved. He stepped Greg up to the plate with Hi Holy Spirit, and Greg hit the home run. My lifelong dream is coming true, and I won't even try describing such personal emotions. Just know that all is good tonight, and we are ready to see what will happen tomorrow. We've been told to apply for her passport, and that her province is usually quick and easy. We plan to go see her orphanage tomorrow as well. Hopefully we also will be able to see her actual finding place within the next few days. Promise to keep you all posted!