I really truly woke singing "This is the day that the Lord has made" and well...that was worth smiling about.
God is so gentle and gracious and gives just the confirmation you need right when you need it.
We did breakfast then we came up and got ready for our day. Once showered and dressed we went outside and started to walk. We walked in a store that seemed like a school store. Backpacks galore, pencils, crayons, notebooks. It was perfect. For $5 USD, we bought 3 notebooks, a pack of markers, pencil crayons, a ruler, eraser rings and a pen. We put it all into ZhenAi's backpack and headed to a store to buy "orange juice" :)
We came back to the hotel, exchanged our huge wad of money for the fees necessary to pay in China (yes we travelled with over $7000 cash in order to save $150 in wiring fees). We met up with another adoptive family and loaded in the bus.
"selfie" leaving the hotel.
Waiting for the bus.
Miss Nazara Journey. Hard to believe this beautiful little girl was the one who I was violently ill with (newly pregnant) last time we were in China! Only fitting she should return with us :)
It's times like these that simply stand still. The before and after of this moment that was about to occur is like being in labor...the child not yet born...about to change your world forever. That...that is what that bus ride is like. Just like in childbirth...it's not the time to wonder if you are ready to be a parent...it's happening. Ready or not. And you are trying to take in the sights but you can't. Instead your mind is racing...what is she thinking? Where is she? Is she scared? Does she know?
We walked into this strange building in the middle of a residential area. The moment we walked in I had a feeling it was going to be awkward so we pulled into a 'bathroom' and got the kids situated. I asked Dean to come in too and told him I had a feeling she was just sitting there and we didn't want to walk in on an amazing moment 'not ready'. Once we pulled out of the bathroom...it was the most awkward arrangement. The room was tiny. Three families were there meeting their children. A jack hammer (yes...a jack hammer) was going like crazy in what sounded like the very next room. Children were screaming in the trauma of the moment. My eyes were darting like crazy. No one was leading us we were just standing there.
Then I saw this girl just sitting on the couch right in front of me. In a bright yellow puffy winter jacket. Just holding her hands. I whipped around and said to Dean "I think that's her". I can see the wonder on his face as we are both in shock at how this moment is going to happen. Not as we pictured. Not as we wanted. Equivalent to realizing you are going to give birth in the car on the way to the hospital. No I haven't had that experience, but I've envisioned it. Not what you dream of. I immediately bend down and sit beside her. She pulls away.
The lady beside her says "MAMA" pointing to me and ZhenAi quickly puts her hand up and shakes her head rapidly back and forth. The lady pulls out the photo album and shows the picture of me. ZhenAi sweetly smiles and keeps shaking her head and pulling away.
It's hard to get photos...everyone is on top of each other. The jack hammer has not slowed down and in fact is going non stop at this point. Children are screaming as they are meeting their new parents for the first time. ZhenAi is staring at me like "not a chance" and clutching her little gift bag I had my friend deliver to her just Thursday.
Dean is being called to sign documents. I'm doing my best to have her warm up to me. Izrael and Nazara are wide eyed taking it all in.
I hand her her new back pack with her name embroidered on it. She doesn't even look at it. Just quickly puts it on and sits back. She has a bag of apples in her hand and the orphanage director instructed her to open them. She struggled to open the bag and gave an apple to Ray and Nazara. They love apples and smiled as they took it thanking her.
She put the bag back in her backpack. I showed her the orange juice and opened it. She took one sip and hurriedly put it in her back pack. She had no interest in opening it.
The moments there were long. There was a magical moment when she had to fingerprint the forms and her hand was covered in ink. I took her to the bathroom to wash her hand. She put soap on her hand but then starting yelling and grunting that the water didn't work. It didn't. There was a bowl with some water in it so I showed her and she smiled and put her hand in. I put my hands in and started scrubbing her hands. She smiled and let me. At the end she let me dry her hands. Dean was there to snap photos and they are my favorite.
She did great on the bus and at one point had her leg resting on mine. There were a few amazing moments with speech. I gave her a candy and she totally said "thank you". Later we walked by a shoe store and she said "More shoes". Nazara fell to sleep and she kept telling us "SHHHH". She saw gum in Walmart and said "GUM" and put it in the cart. The guide said she does NOT speak english but...
Later she copied everything I said. Everything. Cognitively she seems really really smart. The guide said she doesn't say much in Chinese and says it very poorly.
She is wearing layers and layers of clothing and it appears as if she will be sleeping in it. She will not let me touch her shoes or coat and when I gave her pajamas she quickly put them in her back pack :)
I cannot promise that this post makes sense. Everyone except ZhenAi and I are sleeping. It's been an incredible day. Tears. Joy. Pain. Grief. Loss. Hope. Above all...? love.
At the end of the day she has her dinner stuffed in her backpack but she's laying beside me in bed. She is watching everything I do. She's fully clothed and has her shoes on as she lays here in bed with me. Right before this she knelt on the floor beside the bed, holding her back pack in a fetal position. I just stayed beside her rubbing her back. Every time she looked up she smiled but quickly put her head back down. I was sure she was crying but she wasn't.
So much pain. So much loss. So much fear. There is beauty here. So much beauty.
ZhenAi Pei Qin Poppy...has a family. And we...have a new daughter.
The magic is in the surrender.
XOX from Kunming. Signing off as a mama of 11.