Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A Year Ago Today...
A year ago today, we were in a raggedy van on our way to the Civil Affairs office in Taiyuan. That had to be one of the longest rides ever. I distinctly remember crossing the river that cuts Taiyuan down the middle, the Huang He (Yellow) River, I believe. The bridge was probably as long as the one that crosses the Arkansas River that we go over every so often. There was a large dragon statue in the middle of the river that was made to look like the dragon was winding up and down in the river. Pretty nifty. I also remember a big gold building, probably 4-6 stories tall and big! It was the Shanxi Provincial History Museum, which I would have loved to go to. I also remember what appeared to be a large alley with a blow-up gate with Chinese characters on it. I didn't ask what they said, but what with the large amounts of balloons and a general carnival type atmosphere, I assume it was something to do with Children's Day which was only a few days away. We actually saw a Children's Day celebration at the hotel across the street from our hotel later in the week. Finally, we got to the Civil Affairs Office. We went up to the 3rd floor, I think it was, maybe the 4th, and walked down a long hallway, with no lights on. The only light was from a large window at the end of the hallway. We then waited outside the Shanxi Province Foreign Adoption Administration Office, as no one was there yet to unlock the door. Finally, the notary, I believe it was, arrived and let us in. And I paced. And stared out the large windows down to the ground to see if I saw anyone coming in with a little girl. And paced some more. Then paced back to windows. They were running late. I read the English parts of the board about adoption and the board about marriage in the room. It was a kind of dingy room, fairly large, not really decorated, save for the big boards on the wall, and the windows were kind of grimy, but given the pollution that is common place in Shanxi, washing them all the time probably would have been a waste of time. I walked in between the windows and the couch for what seemed like forever. After looking at her picture for a year, what was another 30 minutes, really, but still. Finally, I heard a little girl crying and people talking in Chinese from down the hall. Somehow, in my pacing to the window and back, I had missed her coming in. She came in carried by a nanny, if I remember right, from the orphanage. The orphanage she had only spent 2 months in at the beginning of her life as an orphan, and the last week of it. I guess they told her what was going on, because Reese was very upset. Our guide took her from the nanny and tried to calm her down. I tried to play with her. I gave her Lifesavers, which she liked, but she continued sobbing. I tried a camel a person on my Mom or Dad's route had given her. It was very soft. She didn't like it. To this day, she doesn't like it. Bad association, I suppose. We tried letting Mom hold her, that made it worse. Finally, she passed out in Michelle, our guide's lap. We let her sleep there while we did some paperwork. Finally we had to take the adoption certificate picture. To do so, Michelle slipped Reese into Mom's lap on the floor. Sadly, we had to wake Reese up for the picture. So she's crying in our adoption certificate picture. She shut down for a little while, but apparently, she'd done the majority of her mourning there at the Civil Affairs Office. She was fairly quiet the whole way back to the hotel. At the hotel, we tried to get her to take a nap, but she refused. So she "watched" cartoons, and we changed her clothes and put the ones she came to us up. I'd love to take a picture of her in them now, but I'm worried it would upset her...or she wouldn't want to take them off. We then went to Wal-Mart.
I'm gonna try to take some pictures of her later this evening for her Gotcha/Forever Day.