Sunday, July 1, 2012

Getting Hannah

I have lots to post about our first days in China, before getting Hannah, but I know that if I post about those first there will be an outcry for more pictures of Hannah... so I will post about out Gotcha Day first, then backtrack to our time in Beijing after that.

We flew to the capital city of Hannah's province with four other families adopting from other orphanages in this same province on Sunday. It was a 1 1/2 hour flight, but because it was raining, we sat on the runway for over an hour before taking off.  After getting here we took a bus to our hotel and went to get a noodle dish at a local noodle bar. We also went to the bank to change money - yes, on Sunday! The process was quite different from what we are used to. You have to produce your passport or official government ID and take a number before sitting in a waiting area. When our number was called, we could go to a window with a teller in a cubicle behind glass to do our business. This was not a fast process either!

After we finished at the bank, we walked to the local Wal-Mart to buy diapers, formula, and the food items the orphanages had told us our babies were used to. The Wal-Mart was quite different, too! I will try to get more pictures of it later this week.  All of this took us nearly all day, so we stopped at a Pizza Hut that was right next door to order pizza and basically collapsed into bed exhausted as soon as we finished eating!

The next morning, our group went by bus to the local security office to a large room where we waited for our babies to come. Each orphanage drives the babies to this central location . In addition to our five families, there were 3 other families waiting for their children, too. When we got there, one of our families' babies was already there! It is amazing how quickly we have formed tight bonds with the other families in our group, so it was emotional for everyone.

Hannah was next to arrive! I saw her with her nanny walking up to the building, so I waited for her at the door. She had slept on the way there and was still quite out of it! I said hello in Chinese while her nanny was still holding her, then the nanny set her down and we crouched down to talk to her and tell her we were her mama and daddy.

She kept a fairly neutral look, but was studying us quite carefully. She let me touch her arm and then grabbed my finger while we got to know each other.

After just a few minutes she sat on my lap and we looked at the book I had sent her. She actually recognized that we were the people in that book!

Sometime during all of this her nanny gave us a small photo album of her life, a bag of formula, and some antibiotic that she was on for an ear infection. Very quickly she opened up to us and took some snacks from our hands and some water from a bottle we brought. She also really liked playing with the toy phone we brought! (It was actually the exact same one we had sent her on a care package in February.) After about 20 minutes she was giving us some tentative smiles and letting us kiss her - she loves to have her neck kissed and just giggles and giggles! She was happy with us and comfortable right from the beginning, which has to be an answer to prayer.  We had to sign guardianship papers to be able to take Hannah home for the night while we were there.

All told, we were there for about 2 hours. On the way back to the hotel, we discovered that Hannah had been taught her name and loved pointing at each of us when we say mama or daddy and at herself when we say Hannah. We also got to hear her amazing giggle for the first time on the bus when I discovered that she is quite ticklish! We took a video of it, which I have been unable to upload it due to a lack of bandwidth, but I'll put it up when we get home.

Once back at the hotel, we played with Hannah and discovered that she is assertive, very happy, loves to imitate and be imitated, and would rather play than nap!

The day could not have gone any better, really. We filled the official adoption papers, and when Hannah's nanny had to come by our hotel to pick up the passport fee she forgot to get from us earlier, Hannah already wouldn't go to her and clung to me instead. Sigh...I think I'm in love. :-)

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