Here is a blog post I am just now seeing! I wrote it while in China, just a few days after we got Madeline:-) My memory of our first days is fading, and instead if trying to recapture all that I wrote before, I figured I would go ahead and just publish it. Although I don't have the photos to upload as they are on another machine, I figured you can see where I typed in (INSERT PHOTO).
Wow, so many details I have already forgotten! Warning, it's a long read LOL :-) I have a new computer now( Microsoft Surface...amazing!) So as I upload photos really hope to rekindle this blog!
I have been trying to get on here and blog about our journey, but it seems the days are escaping me with no free time:) Madeline is sound asleep, Lee went to get Orange juice and I find I have a few minutes here to update everyone:-)
First I have wanted to thank everyone for all the loving messages and words of encouragement these last few days(via Facebook...emails). Your prayers have been felt all the way here in China and we have witnessed God's unfailing love and faithfulness time and time again:-) If there is ever a moment in my life where I doubt the power of prayer, I will always look back on these days in China!
So, now onto our trip! :-) ( Okay, for those of you who don't care about the part BEFORE Madeline...and I don't blame you...scroll to the bottom LOL).
We started our journey on Thursday last week at 8:15 PM. My mother showed up at our house after work and helped calm me down from my frazzled state. I'm a neat freak, OCD, and the fact that I didn't get the chance to vacuum was just going to "ruin my entire day!". Yes, a bit dramatic I know:) She gave us a wonderful gift, a Camera! Believe it or not, we actually didn't own one. The one we had purchased had broken and since I always just use my cell phone, we left it at that. These pictures are courtesy of said camera...Thanks MOM! :-)
We loaded up our suitcases and off we went! We were so excited that Delta upgraded us for free to Economy comfort. We almost paid the fee's to do so ourselves, but when you are adopting, every penny get's a second glance before being spent:-)
(LOAD UP PICTURE FROM PLANE)
We got into Beijing, China on Friday night right about Midnight. Our driver picked us up and our guide met us at the hotel. It was about 1 Am and we had to be up and ready in the lobby at 8 Am for a day of tours. But, that didn't stop Lee! He has buddies in Beijing he was looking forward to seeing, so as I went upstairs to unpack, he went out for a quick bite to eat. Beijing truly is the city that never sleeps! :-)
(INSERT PICTURE OF LEE AND BUDDIES)
The next day was PACKED full of stuff to do. Although our minds and hearts were already in Xi'an and our Gotcha day the next day, we met some pretty cool people (Steve and Lisa) and had the pleasure of visiting with them the whole day during our sight seeing.
We saw Tin Amen square
We saw the Forbidden City
Then it was off to lunch! It was SOOO nice to get in AC. It wasn't terribly hot in China
(90 maybe), but the humidity makes you sweat the moment you step outside.
INSERT LUNCH PICTURES
From there, it was the Great Wall!! It truly is spectacular to see in real life.
This is about as far as I made it...Lee on the other hand, went for Gold in true Lee fashion:-) He practically sprinted up the steps. They are large, uneven, and felt seriously dangerous to someone as uncoordinated as I:-) Lee came down with 1 minute to spare before we had to load into our Van...He was red faced and glowing. Anyone who knows Lee knows he loves a challenge.:-)
INSERT PICTURE OF ME
INSERT PICTURE OF LEE
While waiting for Lee I visited with Lisa( Who had made it up to the first tower with her husband and decided to turn around) and I saw this. I'll let the picture speak for itself...but it really really touched me:)
Then it was back to our hotel and to quickly get dressed for dinner! Hsun Ming ( one of Lee's friends he had gone out with the night before) parent's had reserved a wonderful authentic dinner for us. It was amazing. You walk through all these courtyards. Then surrounding each courtyard were private little rooms for the guests to eat in. We had a wonderful time, and ate some super yummy food, and got to see Hsun Ming, His parents, Won Leung( I know I"m not spelling that right), HM parent's friends, and some other friends of HM's that had moved to Beijing from Seattle ( also work at Microsoft!). It was a lovely time, and even though we were beat tired, I'm very glad we did it:).
INSERT PICTURES FROM DINNER
Then, the next morning we were off in a rush to the airport, on our way to Xi'an! Our nerves were in knots, and I had butterflies, today was the day we got Madeline!
We arrived, met our guide, got to our hotel and had 2 hours to fresh up before we went and got Madeline. Lee was trying to figure out our internet so I could get in touch with those back home and I desperately tried to get my flat iron or curling iron plugged in(epic fail...). Alas I resorted to a quick braid to calm the humidity frizz, washed my mascara off( It was going to come off anyway) and off we went!!
We pulled up and at the front doors of the civil affairs office was MADELINE! My heart stopped momentarily, and I instantly started crying. There is a feeling that washes over you when you see your child for the first time. I wanted to run up and hug her, to pick her up, to swing her around and yell "WE ARE FINALLY HERE!" but I saw a look on her face that seemed confused. It took everything in me to bottle up my excitement and to approach her calmly and slowly. She was okay, we said hello and went upstairs to the office where there were other families receiving their children.
And then it happened...it clicked for her. We were taking her away from her "mama's". She screamed,she cried, she didn't want either of us to touch her. I was the one that took her out of their arms and she instantly reeled back from me, screaming, crying, arching her back and reaching her arms out to her mama's. She was so upset she threw up. It broke my heart, not for me, but for her. Part of me wanted to hand her back and say NO simply because I couldn't watch her in this much pain. Thoughts raced through my head, could she go back and then we visit a lot before taking her? Would China allow that? Would Lee's work give him time off? I knew the answer was already no, but I wanted to make her pain stop. I said a prayer begging for help as she was still crying and screaming all the way to the car, the office for her pictures and our hotel. She didn't stop once.
INSERT PICTURES FROM GOTCHA DAY
INSERT PICTURES FROM THE CAR
INSERT PICTURES FROM THE PICTURES
Once we got to the room, Lee ran to get us dinner and Madeline and I stayed behind. She seemed to be calm in down and even fell asleep on me. By the time Lee got back, we were doing pretty good! She even seemed to want to go in her stroller and go outside
INSERT PICTURE OF HER IN STROLLER
So out we went! I thought it would be good for Lee to hold her hand while she was in the stroller to help with bonding. Oops. From that moment on, she clung to Lee. If I came near her, it was a repeat of that afternoon at the Civil affairs office.
The next morning( Our first full day with her) we took her down to breakfast.I saw that she was attaching to Lee, but looked at me with hesitation. If I tried to touch her when she was with Lee, she would cling to him, call him Mama and cry. I didn't know what really to do as I didn't want to cause her anymore pain. I decided to become the caretaker. I bathed her, I fed her, I dressed her, I changed her diaper. Pretty soon, she really warmed up to me. She would talk, laugh, giggle, everything!:) But I was not allowed to hold her, only Lee was. Especially when we left the room, she would get really upset if Lee didn't hold her hand and if I came near her.
It also didn't help that our guide seemed to be very attached to her. I don't want to come across harsh, but I got extremely upset at her on several occasions. Madeline would cling to anyone, even strangers, if they were Chinese women. She was comfortable with them, they were familiar to her. I appreciate her love for the children, and I don't want to diminish that at all. But I think she does need some training on what is appropriate and in-approriate to do. Madeline only cried in my arms, and since we didn't want her anymore upset than she already was, we would let her stay in Lee's arms. She was comfortable there, and I was in no rush to force her to bond with me and cause her any more distress. But pretty soon our guide insisted on holding her,hugging her, kissing her, carrying her, feeding her candys etc.... Pretty much allowing Madeline to attach to her as the woman in her life instead of me. At first I had to check my feelings, was I being reasonable? Was my irritation founded or just that of a hurt mom seeing her child bond to another woman. But when we were walking into the police station and Madeline was okay with me for a second and she whisked her in her arms and carried her off( even after Lee asked for her back and she said no she had her) I got angry. I canceled all but one of our remaining journeys with her and I am so glad I did. The two days we spent sans guide Madeline and I have made huge strides in our bonding:) I think me caring for her solely( Feeding, dressing, bathing) really helped.
Now flash forward ( I don't really want to relive those painful first few days anymore, so I'm skipping a TON...) and she is doing so well. She calls me momma, laughs ALOT, we sing ( she has the most beautiful little voice!) we tickle, we run and play. She hugs me, kisses me, laughs and cuddles. I can even hold her outside:) She still, at times, will want Lee, but it takes her just a few seconds to resolve that I'm what she will have and then she is okay!:) Last night, she wanted my hand while she was in the stroller!! It hurt my back leaning and walking like that, I stubbed my toe, I bumped probably more people than I want to think about, but I was happy. No aching back was going to stop me from loving that moment:)
I truly believe the last few days have been because of our loving friends and family. Your prayers have truly come to fruition. I'm in awe at God's work here, again, in this adoption. Everytime I think things look bleak, I am reminded to keep my heart in his hands and to give him all, good and bad. His love is truly felt here in China by Lee and I.