My heart is so full! As I write this, Ayla is still fast asleep. I can't imagine what a long, scary day it was for her, but she is a little trooper.
The tears were off and on all morning as we waited for 2:00 to come. There were 9 families in our group, and we boarded a bus to head to the Civil Affairs building. On the ride there, we received several instructions on what would happen when we got there. There would be paperwork to look over, as well as a document to show as they handed her to us (to make sure they were giving the right children to the right families). Once everyone's paperwork was checked, they said they would call families one by one...slowly, so the families would have plenty of time to take pictures of each other.
Not. the. case. It was crazy. We were all taking pictures as the first baby came out from behind a curtain that led to a playroom. I lost it! Then, baby 2 came quick, then 3...4...5...by this time we were all fumbling paperwork and cameras, realizing it was going to happen fast. And then, there she was. It was our moment. I reached to take her from the orphanage representative. She resisted a little, but then came to me without a whimper. Almost immediately, we were asked to move over so another family could meet their child (thanks for preparing me for that Heather!). I could tell she was scared to death, and I must have gone into protection mode. I just held her close and whispered to her. Some of the babies came out kicking and screaming, and I could have burst into tears at any moment. But because she was calm, I (tried) to stay calm so I wouldn't upset her.
We went over to a couch where all the other families were heading to dig into our diaper bags for any kind of treat that might make the kids feel more comfortable. The cheerios didn't get much of a response, so we quickly moved to sweettarts (we had been told the kids liked them). She ate a couple and then let me feed her some puffs. We looked at our toy camera (thanks Pops & DeBe), but couldn't hear the sounds it made over all the commotion in the room.
Steven went to get some questions we had prepared answered by the orphanage representative with our guide. So it was just the two of us (sort of...if you don't count the other 50 familes in the room). She just looked around, looked in the diaper bag, and let me hold her. We played with a little lovie, and she gave a few half-smiles. She would look up at me from time to time. There were several times when I thought she was about to sob, and I would think, "here we go". Her little lip would quiver, but it was like she was trying to hold it back. She never cried at the Civil Affairs building.
After all the families got their questions answered, it was time to go. We walked out of the building as a group...11 more than when we walked in (2 families in our group adopted 2 babies)! Praise the Lord for 11 less orphans in China! We got on the bus and headed to a shopping center to get the right formula, diapers, rice cereal, etc. Ayla was so tired. Her eyelids would drop, but she wouldn't let herself go to sleep. I'm sure she was scared of what might happen next if she dare sleep. She had a quick meltdown on the bus, but someone handed me a dum dum and that did the trick!
We got to the store and I put her in a carrier. After fighting sleep for a while longer, she finally dosed off. We were sweaty and exhausted, and ready to get back to the room. When we finally did, we tried to show her around, but she didn't respond much. Steven had to leave to go do more paperwork, so now it really was just us. It was tough. I set her down so she could walk around. She was scared, and nothing would soothe her. Our first communication was her shaking that precious little head telling me, "no." Again it looked like she was fighting back tears. "No." She didn't want puffs. "No," she didn't want to play with toys. "No, no, no." I just scooped her back up, crying for her. We paced around the room, and finally she saw something she wanted...a bath towel. I gave it to her (of course), and she laid her head on it. We didn't even attempt a bath, but I wiped her off a little as I changed her diaper and put pj's on her.
We were waiting for Lily (the amazing woman who does so much on behalf of adoptive families here in China) to come show me how to make her formula the way she was used to it. She came and made her a bottle. Bless her little heart...that's what she wanted! I held her while she guzzled it down. She didn't want me to hold the bottle (as we gain trust, this is something that will hopefully change), and even wiggled down to the floor to finish it off. When she was done, she handed the bottle to me. I reached for her...and she reached back. I melted. She perked up a little, and Steven came back. We had not had a chance to discuss the answers to all the questions we had asked earlier, but he told me that she is used to sleeping with a small bath towel.
Steven hadn't held her yet (this is very common). She would take puffs from him, but would give him the "evil eye" if he reached to hold her. We had seen that look in pictures before. Lifeline had prepared us very well on how a lot of the children are scared of men at first. He has been very patient and sweet with her. Hopefully, she will let him hold her soon. Some of the husbands went to get food to bring back for dinner, so Steven headed to Pizza Hut with them.
It was about 9:00, which is her normal bedtime. I laid with her on the bed and she started to drift off. I picked her up and laid her on me, and she fell asleep. I placed her in her crib, and covered her with the towel. I. was. starving...and exhausted. I got ready for bed, and Steven came back shortly after that. I had some pizza, and was planning on getting some things ready for today. But, unsure of what the night would hold, I went to bed too.
I have been up since 5:00, and she is still fast asleep. She stirred a couple times, but I just rubbed her back and she fell right back to sleep. Her normal wake-up time is 6:30. It's 6:45 now, so I'm expecting her to wake up any minute. Lots of pics were posted on fb, so rather than taking time to upload them, I am gonna go get ready for our first full day together! On the next post, I will do my best to post lots of pics!
We are so so blessed and thankful to finally have our daughter in our arms. Please continue to lift us up in prayer...that Ayla would begin to trust us and bond with us as her mommy and daddy. She had a long day yesterday, and we know there will be grieving over the next several days, so there will be some tough moments. We are confident that God will give us the strength and grace to make it.
We are in love!