First, I actually slept until 4:30am last night, which is the best night's sleep so far, thanks to Nyquil. We met in the lobby of our hotel at 9:30am today; all 6 families nervous and jittery. It's a surreal moment when you know you're family is about to grow, never to be the same again. We took a 20 minute bus ride to the registration office. As we got off the bus, we could see through the doors that 2 of the little ones were already inside. What a moment! Maggie wasn't there yet and I got to enjoy watching the other moms meet their little ones. I'll never forget the look on my friend's face as she climbed the stairs to meet her daughter. It was breathtaking.
We came into a room that was large, echo-y and very cold. No heat. We spent about 3 hours in all in this one room. Once the excitement died down from the first two little ones, the rest of us were anxiously waiting ours. There were also other families from other agencies there, all of us in the same wait-mode. Pacing, checking to make sure cameras are ready, trying to make small talk while watching the door. I think there were 13-14 of us total. Pretty amazing that 13 kids are orphans-no-more today.
But it's not all sunshine and roses. This is a very, very hard day for all involved. Some of the little ones (seems like many of them were around the age of 2) were screaming at the top of their lungs for a LONG time. We found out they call their orphanage caregivers Mama, so they were literally screaming for Mama and reaching for their caregiver while their forever mom watched on, longing to hold her child. It was so hard to watch. The caregivers are kind, caring people who get attached to the children they care for. We watched one particular family go thru this, they held their screaming new son as he reached for his nanny. She went outside and cried, I could see her body shaking. Later when the boy had calmed down, she was peeking in the window and taking pictures, making sure he was okay. There was not a dry eye in the place watching this take place.
We were prepared for the same thing to happen with Maggie. It seemed like we waited for her forever, as we watched other children come and join their families. Finally the doors opened and in walked a nanny holding a little one reclined back in her arms; all I could see was the top of her head but I knew it was her. Jeremy and a friend got cameras ready. I walked over and saw that she was almost asleep in the nanny's arms. I let her give me a good look-over before reaching for her. Amazingly, she came without peep and just leaned back and studied Jeremy and I. She seemed to be in a daze and I could tell she was very tired. We were surrounded by friends and cameras and on-lookers and she was very out of it.
She was dressed in typical Chinese baby fashion-very warmly! She had a huge, puffy snowsuit type outfit on top of 2 more very thick pieces of clothing. Despite being a little puff ball, I could tell she was tiny. Much smaller than the other little ones, who were mostly toddlers. She looked like a little baby. I finally reclined her back in my arms to see if she would drift to sleep. She just studied me and within minutes the universal butt-pat/sway put her to sleep. We sat down on a couch to study her. She has very bright, smart eyes. Her hair has grown out a bit from when it was last shaved (a common thing here), and she has a longer patch in the front. We couldn't see her hands or feet at all she was so bundled up. Her skin is much lighter than Allie's. She has a sweet little mouth. And of course we got a look at the tooth that has healed on the outside. To be totally honest, it's a little hard to look at at first, and it's a little worse than we thought. I'm not sure if it's gotten worse or if it's just hard to tell how it really is in pictures. She has a big round lump of skin under her one nostril, and there's a large tooth in the middle of it. It looks like the tooth is sideways. It looks kind of red and angry. Her nanny told us it gets infected and she has to have medicine for it. I'll definitely be glad to have her checked out right away by our doctor's when we get home. It's amazing, though, how used to it I am after only a few hours with her.
We got to ask some questions of her nanny, with the help of one of our agency reps translating. She said she's happy and active and loves music. She said so far it doesn't appear that anything makes her mad or sad. She gave a bag which contained a few of the things we had sent her, a bag of formula (but no bottle) and a beautiful hardback photobook with pictures of Maggie in it. Maggie is also wearing a beautiful necklace with her initials and birthdate inscribed on it, and she gave us the orphanage's email address so we can send pictures as she grows. All very touching and unexpected. We thanked her for taking care of her, and Jeremy hugged her. It had to be hard for her to walk away from a baby she cared for daily. I'm thankful Maggie has someone who cared for her despite being one of many babies at her orphanage.
We had to wake her to have a picture taken. Finally all the families were united, the criers had stopped screaming and we were back in the bus heading back to the hotel, very different families from when we were on our way there! We came back and immediately took all the layers off and found her to be oh so tiny underneath. We weighed her, and she's 16.5 lb. She's 13 months but I think appears to look more like a 9 or 10 month old. The 9 month clothes we brought are a little big. Despite being little, she has chunks and rolls on her arms and legs, dimples on her little hands and the cutest fat little feet and seems healthy despite a little cough. We sat her on our bed with toy keys and a book. She was very content to sit and play for over an hour! She was very quiet at first, but later she started to make little noises. We were rubbing her skin and she almost seemed to flinch at first-I don't think she's used to being undressed and being touched without all those layers on. We got 2 tiny little half-smiles so far. She was very serious but not upset. Just studying us and the toys. I gave her a Puff (a tiny baby snack) and I was happy to see she could pinch her fingers to pick it up. She wouldn't eat it though, and wouldn't let me put it in her mouth. I don't think she has had much table food at all.
Finally we could see she was getting tired, so we got her first bottle ready. We were prepared for this part to be difficult; we had tried to get the nanny to explain how she fed her with her cleft lip/palate, but the info got lost in the translation and we didn't get a bottle from them to see what kind she used. We used a regular bottle and nipple we brought, but cut the hole bigger as our doctor had advised so she doesn't have to suck as hard. I was surprised that she guzzled 2 bottles in a row with no problem and was able to suck on the nipple much more than I thought she was going to be able to. It was interesting, though. Since her palate is open, formula streams out her nose as she eats and breaths and it's very messy! She got mad when I stopped to clean it up. When she was full, I put her to sleep in my arms again, which is a great thing since they told us she usually goes to sleep on her own in her crib rather than have someone rock her, etc. I was happy she felt comforted by me. I tried to put her in her crib once she was asleep and she was not happy about that! So she slept on my chest for a good while, then next to me on the bed. In fact, it's been over 3 hours and she's still asleep in the same position. Poor baby, what a big day for her. We're not big on letting our kids sleep with us, but hey, it's her first day with a mom and a dad. She can sleep wherever she wants!
So that's our first few hours with her. We'll see what the next days and weeks bring. So far she is inquisitive and calm, but we know from experience she could be tricking us! (Ahem, Allie!) It was an easy transition since she wasn't screaming, but we also need to be cautious; this should be a hard time for her, she should be grieving. We want her to go thru that so she can properly bond with us. So keep those prayers coming for our little Yu Fei!
We are so tired, what an emotional day! Plus I have finally gotten the yuck that Jeremy and the kids had last week-sore throat, cough, etc. I have almost no voice and feel pretty crummy. Thankfully we brought meds with us and I'm really hoping this is short-lived. We have more paperwork tomorrow, then Wednesday we have a long bus-ride to the city of her birth, Anyang. There we'll have to apply for her passport and I'm so hopeful we'll be able to visit her orphanage. We'll keep posting as long as internet allows!
Here's what you all have been waiting for: pictures!
How cute is this little body?
You can see her Mongolian spots on her back, typical birthmarks for Asian little ones.