Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gotcha Day and Adoption Day

I probably don't need to remind you that we are very tired. My brain is not functioning properly. Please expect my writing to remain jumbled and excuse any rambling in advance. We have our hands full on top of being jet lagged and I'm writing at the end of our day. Now that we have that out of the way, here's more about our past couple days in China. ;)

Monday was a very special day for us. We were instructed to come to the lobby of our hotel at 9:15am for "gotcha". Emily traveled all night on a train with a nanny from Harmony House. We came downstairs at 9:00, flooded with emotion. I kept thinking about all the gotcha days I'd watched on YouTube and Facebook and I couldn't believe today was OUR day. Our guide, Aggie, was there along with 2 government officials. We sat in the lobby in anticipation. I stared at the doors, waiting for my Mei to come through. We waited. And paced. And waited. We were told the train arrived at 9:00 and the walk to the hotel was only about 10 minutes. Were they really on that train? Why aren't they here yet? An hour passed, each minute feeling like an eternity. Finally. They entered through the back of the hotel. Turned out they were waiting for us on the other side, as we were waiting for them!

Our gotcha experience was about what I expected. We were flooded with tears. It was one of the hardest and best days of my life. Emily did not want to come to me. She cried. She didn't want to look at me. It was very sad and hard for her. Her nanny cried. It was clear that she really loves Emily. We are thankful for that. But sometimes the grieving and attachment process can be more difficult in this kind of circumstance. I fed Emily a bottle which eased things a bit. We signed some papers and had our pictures taken. We exchanged gifts. The nanny gave us a traditional red Chinese outfit for Emily. It meant so much to us. Our guide translated and relayed from the sobbing nanny, "Thank you. Jesus be with you. God will bless you greatly." Praise God that her nanny knows The Lord. They all do at Harmony House. Amazing.

We were finished signing papers and doing all we needed to do. We parted ways and as the nanny cried, Emily cried harder. It was very hard for us to experience. Hard and beautiful all at the same time. Emily didn't cry for long. We came up to our room and spent the rest of the day just bonding with her. She did cry a little more and in fact cried herself to sleep on my chest for nap. As the day went on, she was beginning to trust us. She laughed at Brady several times and let me and Seamus hold her.

Tuesday morning was "Adoption Day". We met with the governor and 2 other officials to finalize our adoption. We were interviewed, asked why we wanted to adopt her, and we promised to never abandon or abuse her. Good Lord... Never! We signed a bunch of documents and gave our fingerprints on all of them. We exchanged gifts and Emily received another very special costume that is representative of her province, Inner Mongolia. We received a nice piece to go on our wall that is written in Chinese. I'm going to have a friend translate it officially but the officer told us it said, "Thank you for your charity in China. Love makes the world go round." Yes, it does. God is love. And we love because He first loved us. This adoption day made it all final. She is officially Emily Hope Loman, daughter of Seamus and Laura Loman!

These 2 days have been amazing yet difficult. There are glimpses of hope as she allows us in to her heart in small ways. Each moment is different because of her extreme grief. It's obvious certain things trigger her memory and she clams up and avoids eye contact during these moments. She can also go several minutes playing and being entertained by her gege (big brother) or being held by me and Seamus. We take 2 steps forward and one step back. We are hopeful that each day will bring progress in the healing process. Redemption is God's promise and we are excited to witness that in her.

We found out that Inner Mongolia is known for its hospitality. We have definitely experienced that so far. Believe it or not, the drivers are actually crazier here than they are in Beijing but on a personal level, everyone has been extremely gracious. People stare at us everywhere we go and we've even experienced a little paparazzi. I believe they are most fascinated with Brady, who has fair skin, blue eyes, and dirty brown hair. I'm sure the fact that I'm holding a Chinese baby doesn't exactly look natural. As Seamus said today, I guess we need to get used to that. We expect wild comments and questions when we return and I believe we are prepared for that. The food is so interesting yet delicious for the most part. We ventured out from our hotel today and walked to a nearby mall. We had a wonderful time strolling through a supermarket in the basement of the mall. We bought a ton of Chinese candy and snacks and bought Emily some juice and other things. It was so neat seeing the foods that the Chinese have in their store.

Girlfriend can eat some food! Good gracious, y'all. I'm pretty sure she mostly just had congee (sort of like porridge), soup with kelp and other greens, and 2 bottles of Chinese formula at the orphanage each day. As a result, her body is much smaller than I expected. Her hips and thighs are really the size of an infant's. She has very little muscle. She walks well but it takes a lot of energy for her to hold her body up on those little legs. We have already started to implement a lot of protein in to her diet. Since Monday morning, we've had her eating eggs, chicken, pork fried rice, dumplings, you name it. We are also going to let her practice walking to build some muscle mass. It'll be interesting to see how much weight she gains over the next few weeks.

All things considered, her health seems good. There are no signs present of her cerebral palsy. She will see a cardiologist when we return to make sure everything has healed properly as we suspect it has. She does have a little wheezing in her lungs and her nose is full of green gunk. I started her on antibiotics Monday to try to push all that out. Sweet girl can barely breathe through her nose right now.

Will you please continue to pray for Emily? Her grieving is deep and the effects of her trauma are very present. Again, we expected this but it's hard to see her little heart hurting, especially knowing that she feels alone at times. Please pray for peace in her life, for trust and bonding to occur with us, and also for her health. We miss you all and are grateful for the overwhelming support you have showered upon us.



Supermarket Fun!

Chinese Candy!
Fingerprints confirm it... She's Emily Hope Loman!

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