Gotcha Day for Lori - Feb 22, 2011
I had a hard time sleeping - I was full of emotions. I prayed a lot that God would give me peace, and He did. We would be meeting our new daughter for the first time and that is quite a moment. I needed God to prepare me.
After a nice breakfast, we met with our Holt Adoption Team here in China for orientation. They spent a few hours going over the ins and outs of Chinese adoptions. They place several hundred children a year with forever families and have been working in China since 1993. They went over our itinerary for the remainder of our trip and told us what to expect at Lori's orphanage today. They did a great job of including Madison and Annie in everything and were extremely helpful.
After orientation - we went to the lobby to find our driver waiting for us with a sign that had our name written boldly in black letters. We went with him to Langfang Development District about 45 minutes outside Beijing to the orphan house. The scenery was amazing and humbling. In that short drive we passed Ferrari and Rolls Royce dealerships as well as people living in extreme poverty. There were many housing districts with many long row houses around central courtyards as well as high rise apartment housing. We also passed several Wal-Marts, McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Huts. America has definitely made it's mark! Our guide said, "KFC has made Chinese people fat!"
We arrived at Harmony House - which was an older 2-story house in a small gated community. Surprisingly, the house was quite when we walked in because it was naptime for the 20 children there. They care for 25 children - but today - 3 were at preschool and 2 were in the hospital. We visited briefly with the staff and then went to look in on all the sleeping children. 25 children are split into about 4 bedrooms in rows of little beds. They all seemed very safe and loved. Lori was sound asleep and they woke her up. She was not happy. We took her downstairs and tried to win her affections. She wanted nothing of these foreign faces!! They told us to take her outside on a walk. We walked around the neighborhood and she gradually warmed up to us. She tolerated Jay and seemed to really like Madison. She was fascinated by Maddie's braces. She wanted nothing to do with Annie or I. We walked back to the house and the other children were waking up. We spent several hours playing with and holding the babies and toddlers. They were so sweet. Some loved us - some hated us. They see very little of the world outside their House and surely not white people! We talked a lot with Lily, the director, and she told us all about each child. Most of the children have currently been matched with families in the US or Europe and are waiting to be picked up. They adopted out 16 last year. She said we are the first family to visit in 2011. Sadly, a few kiddos are still waiting to be chosen for adoption. We were really touched by Blossom and Linda. Blossom has CP and is 5 years old. She cannot move her body, does not speak, and needs constant care. Her chances of being adopted are decreasing year by year. Linda is a sweet, chubby little 3 year old. She cannot be adopted because she has no official file or paperwork. Therefore, her case cannot be presented to the CCAA for adoption. That means that unless God decides differently - she will live out her life as an orphan. These stories are humbling.
As we sat in the floor and played with the kids - we handed out some cookies and snacks. They ravaged the food like Pelicans on the seashore. Lily told us that they were not hungry - but they always want to eat. I am guessing that even at this young age - they sense a void in their life and are filling that with food. I don't think we are much different - don't we all try to fill the gaps designed for God with other things - food, money, sports, entertainment...? Without our Heavenly Father - we, too, are orphans ravenous for something to give us comfort. Jesus is the only life-giving, thirst-quenching source of hope we will ever need. How I wish we could always keep that in the forefront of our minds.
We finally said our good-byes which were very emotional. The nannies really love these kids and hated to see Lori go. She has one favorite Nanny that was really torn by happiness for Lori and sadness at their parting. We got in the van to go back to the hotel and she fell asleep leaning over on Madison. She would wake up every now and then and cry and the driver would console her. She was really hating this transition. I would have, too. Can you really imagined being taked away by strangers and leaving everything you ever knew! I am impressed that she did so well.
We came up to the hotel room and she just laid on the bed motionless staring at the ceiling. She laid like this for almost 2 hours. It was a little comical. She was laid out like a beached whale. She then got up a little and sat in Madison's lap, looked at a few toys, and finally fell asleep. She slept the whole night from about 8pm to 6:30am. She did not cry or fuss. This was a huge blessing. We expected a rocky night. We have a little couch in our room and we moved it over beside the bed and she slept there all night.
We hope it all gets better from here. We pray (and ask you to join us) that she opens her heart to us and quickly acclimates to our family. Her world has just been turned upside down!