Sunday, May 27, 2007

GOTCHA DAY!!

It was the MOST surreal experience of my life.
We met Isabel, our guide, in the lobby a little before 11am and she told me she needed to speak with me. Seems there had been a change of plans, and we were not only going to sign the Authorized Guardian Agreement on Harmonization Period, but we were going to actually finalize the adoption procedure this morning. That meant we needed to have our gifts ready for the orphanage staff and the civil affairs official, and we needed to have our donation ready and the registration fee ready. Luckily, I had prepared the gifts last night and we had the donation money ready. However, we quickly scrambled to convert the registration fees from US to RMB. I know you all aren't really interested in all this, but it helps me to lay the groundwork and keep track of everything:).

After that was taken care of, we left for the Civil Affairs office, which was just at 10-minute drive from the hotel. Sawyer couldn't quit smiling, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience, and Michael was being his usual supportive self. When we arrived we were ushered into a small room and Oakley was sitting on a couch with two of the nannies. Mike said it was like they had plucked her from one of the photos we have and sat her before us. UNREAL!! I sat down beside her and the nanny told her I was her Mama, which Oakley repeated. She had the little photo album in her hand and as the nanny would flip the pages, Oakley would say Mama, Papa, GeGe (big brother), etc.

Michael and I were quickly asked to sit at the desk to complete the paperwork with Jack, director of the Fujian International Adoption Service Center. He was WONDERFUL and both Michael and I liked him immediately. It was really hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying and the process was moving so fast. I kept turning around to see Oakley and she was interacting so well with Sawyer. He was taking photos for us and had given her the new photo album we had prepared. She called out each of our names, smiling each time, and was SO HAPPY to see the new photos of Caeleigh. Her little face would shine each time she shouted out her own name and Caeleigh's name. It was REALLY hard for me to focus on the formal proceedings when all I wanted to do was scoop her up in my arms. They gave us her finding ad and a little gold bag containing a beautiful silver locket necklace that stands for Security, Prosperity and Longevity. Inside the locket is a little scroll with her birth date, Gotcha date, and the orphanage's email address. It is a beautiful gift and we will treasure it forever.

We were asked why we wanted to adopt a baby from China, what kind of education she would receive, if she would receive medical care when needed and if we would promise to never abandon her and love her like our own. ABSOLUTELY!! He asked if we were comfortable signing the registration papers even though we didn't have the customary harmonization period. ABSOLUTELY. Nothing could ever make us change our minds -- she is our daughter!! our daughter .......

She cried only for a moment when I tried to pick her up to leave. We were driven to another office to take the family photo and I felt really sad that she wasn't able to say goodbye to her nannies. I'm sure they ushered us out so quickly to prevent a scene, but it breaks my heart because I know she was loved deeply there and I know they must be grieving her loss, just as she is grieving for them.

That being said, it has been so much more wonderful than I ever imagined. I truly had prepared myself for the worst, and it has been the best!! She sat in my lap on the way back to the hotel with her arm around my shoulder. I don't want to make you think that all is wonderful with her because there are long periods of melancholy and vacant looks. But she smiled for us immediately and is responding well to all three of us. And she is BEAUTIFUL and so very smart!! I could go on and on, but I'll try to keep this brief. Sawyer has been looking at books with her and she will repeat every word he says -- baby, truck, ball, bird, etc., and will point to the picture as she says it. I read I Love You Like Crazy Cakes to her and I would point to the Mama's nose, and say nose. She would repeat the word nose and point to her own nose, then smile so proudly. Smart, I tell you. And did I mention that she's beautiful?

She has danced for us, has eaten well (loves Goldfish and watermelon), and is drinking well. And Carter, one of the sippy cups you gave her has become her security blanket. You can see it in most every photo and she fell asleep with it at naptime today, refusing to give it up. She's napping now on the bed and she sucks her finger when she sleeps. She is completely potty trained and hasn't had an accident yet. She knows to wash her hands after she potties and she LOVES it, smiling each time we make a trip to the sink.

She's had her first bath and although she didn't play, she didn't make a fuss, even when I washed her hair. I had to post photos of the shirt and shoes she came to us in. Sawyer got a big kick out of the shirt -- I'm not sure what to think of it. The shoes are brand new and really cute. She's wearing the 3T clothes we brought and they fit her perfectly.

Sawyer is enamored with her and she seems to adore him as well. She gives him a big smile after he takes the picture. We can't wait for her to meet her other brothers. I'm posting several photos from the day. You'll see for yourself the many expressions we have seen. I'm hoping that as she becomes more secure she'll lose those sad eyes. She is brave beyond words and has only cried briefly -- I know she is scared and I doubt that the grieving has even begun. We will love her through it and feel blessed beyond words to be able to parent this precious child.

Sullivan and Hagan:

You are going to LOVE her!! She loves books and she likes to play. I can't wait for her to have two big brothers to watch out for her. She will say both of your names when we point to the photos in her albums, although Sullivan sounds somewhat like "Shu-shin." We'll post more photos tomorrow. Just email me if you have any questions you want to ask. We're telling her all about you!!

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Jana, I could harldy sleep last night and as you can see it is 6:30 am here. Couldn't wait to get up and check the blog. I'm so happy for you and for Oakley. So they DID talk to her about her new family and help to prepare her. That's so wonderful. It is sad that she didn't get to say goodbye, but perhaps they had already done that. You know they are happy for her. They can't love her and not be so very happy for her to get her own family. I can't see any photos, hoping I will soon, but I can picture her little face just the same. Bless her little heart. Bless all of you. Can't wait to see the photos!
We love you baby girl!
Lori, Jeff & Spencer

Karen Whitt said...

Jana,Mike and Sullivan,

I have tears going down my face. I want to wake Caeleigh up so bad, but today her big brother graduates from HS, and we do not want a crabby girl, so I will refrain.

Oakley is beautiful!!! I love seeing her with Sullivan. Priceless!! When Caeleigh sees her brothers from a distance, she wiggles out of my arms and runs to them. Oakley is going to love all your boys. Now she can join rank with Princess Caeleigh, and get whatever she wants from those three boys.

Today, we will give thanks to a mighty God, thanking Him for bring this precious little girl to her forever family. Birth is a miracle, but adoption is too!!

Congratulations!! Enjoy!! Keep the pictures coming!!

Karen Whitt

Anonymous said...

Jana, Mike & Sawyer, It is 7:30 AM here, and I have being trying to post this comment since 7 AM. i am so happy for you all and myself also. I feel like I did each time I first saw the 3 boys after their births. It is very hard to type when you have to stop and wipe your eyes so often. The pictures are great and the one of Sawyer holding her is priceless. She is really beautiful.I hope everything continues going well and fast. i will still continue to pray for you for a safe return and for all that follows this to go as smooth as this first part. I LOVE you guys,

Mom ( OAKLEY,S Forever Mamaw)

Anonymous said...

Jana, we're so happy for you guys!
The picture of Oakley in her big
brothers arms is priceless. It
seems like the nannies had
prepared her well for the
transition. Jack Chiang-director
is a very nice man.
And of course enjoy being with
your daughter......!
God bless! Yvonne Grigsby

Francie said...

WOW. Jana, I am (and this is a first for me) pretty close to speechless. After I read that you were getting her earlier than you expected, all day I kept thinking "only 6 more hours", "only 5 and a half more hours" till she first sees her family. Right before I checked the blog this morning, I said to myself ok, you've had her for eight hours and are probably still so busy you haven't had time to post, but I had to check anyway. Thank God I was wrong. The pictures are beautiful!!! Scrolling down through the earlier pictures in your blog, everyone looks happy, but now, somehow, you look "complete"! What a very lucky little girl! I keep reading today's post over and over and I keep tearing up. I am so very happy for you and your whole family!!! There really aren't words...CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Anonymous said...

Like Francie, I have read the blog over and over and can't get enough of the pictures. The happy tears just won't stop. So many changes for her -- so much NEW to adjust to but WE all know she is now part of a fantastic and loving family and she will realize it very soon. May the Lord bless you all and return you safely to us!

Lisa P.

Leslie said...

WoW~that's all I can say. She is so beautiful Jana. I'm so over the moon along with you guys. I'm so glad you have Sawyer with you, and I love the picture with her arms around him. It's so very touching and special reading your posts. You journal so well, and really take us into your journey so amazingly. Can't wait to read another post, and see more pictures of Oakley. Keep the post coming along with lots of pictures. We here in Ky are at the edge of our seats watching you add God's Little Angel to your family.

Your In God's Hands,
Leslie

Caeleigh Whitt said...

I just got out of bed and my mom took me to the computer and showed me the pictures. I could not believe my eyes, there before me was my dear friend Oakley.Yea!!!

I am so happy for you. Now we both have a Mom and Dad, and brothers. It won't take you long to get those boys in line. I just smile and I get whatever I want. They are pushovers!!

Your Friend Forever,
Caeleigh Whitt

PS. I will see you this summer.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jana!! You've waited so long for your Oakley ~ what a beautiful way for us to start our day!

Jill G
(another zhangzhou mama)

Marla said...

Oh Jana, she looks so HAPPY!! And of course you and Sawyer do too. Oakley just looks right in yours and Sawyer's arms. She belonged there all along didn't she? Now how about some pictures of her and Papa?
As soon as Sullivan woke up I asked him if he wanted to see his sister. He smiled and soaked it all in when he looked at the pictures. I read him your entry and he chuckled over her love of watermelon and goldfish. Guess what he put in the cart at the grocery yesterday...watermelon! He wanted to know if we had any left over from supper last night, he wants to be sure there is some here for her when she gets home. Isn't that sweet?? I told him that we would make sure there is a fresh one here, along with plenty of goldfish crackers when you all return. He tries to act so laid back and cool about it all. Luckily he got up about thirty minutes after me, giving me time to compose myself since I absolutely BAWLED as soon as I saw her. She is beautiful! Many many congrats to all of you!!
I love you guys!!
Marla

P.S. Sullivan says he loves you all!! (he just walked in the room)

Marcy said...

I am in tears reading your post...I am so happy things went well. She looks just perfect with you all - I pray that she accepts your love and comfort during her transition period. You are blessed :-)

Julie said...

What a beautiful little girl! Congratulations!!

Anonymous said...

I am sooooooo happy for you all. She is beautiful and you look sooo happy holding her. Of course we all cry but it is because we are happy. I can't wait for you all to get back here. It's great she recognizes you all - that might make things easier. Keep the photos coming and stay safe.

love ya
ronnie and donna

Jennifer said...

Jana - WHAT A BLESSING! We are so happy, excited, elated... I don't have the words. What an enormous gift to see you holding her - and to see her SMILE!!! She is a beautiful baby! I know her eyes will begin to light up - how could they NOT with all this love and attention from her new family?

I hope you have a wonderful day - and I can't wait to hear MORE!

Love,
Jennifer

Felicia said...

Jana, I'm am thrilled for you and your family. I'm so glad Gotcha Day was a great experience for you...it will only get better. What a blessing for Oakley and your entire family.

Mom of 5 said...

I am all sappy. How wonderful !!
Oakley is so beautiful !
It's wonderful to read how your day was. Savor every second. It's an amazing adventure. A true blessing.

jennifer said...

Jana & family,
Oakley is an absolute doll-baby!!! Congrats! Jack IS a wonderful man, isn't he? May you all find the peace and wonder that God has placed in your lives and hearts. Enjoy the rest of your days in Fuzhou.

Jennifer
Marin YouXing (Fuzhou, a. 8-28-06) Mommy

Adam and Cynthia Farley said...

I couldn't wait to fire up the computer this morning!!!! I cried!!! I am BEYOND happy for you! She is gorgeous and looks SO healthy!! Sawyer looks so happy! I can't stand it!!!!

Love you
Cynthia

Adam and Cynthia Farley said...

Also......TOO FUNNY!!! We took the exact, I mean exact, same sippy cup to China with us for Romy!!!

Congrats again!
Cynthia

Isn't it all and more than you could have ever dreamed???

Anonymous said...

Oh Jana, Oakley is beautiful!!! I am crying as I write this. God is so good. I am thankful for God's answered prayers!!

Michele Large

Anonymous said...

Oh you guys! I am sooooo happy that everything is going as it should to complete your family. The photos are super. It looks like she's a snuggler! That cheek to cheek with Sawyer says a lot. I have been telling everyone I've seen since Thursday morning that you were on your way to China. Yesterday, I told someone that I needed to get on the internet and calculate the time difference. Then boom! Today all of our Insight services were out when we got home from church. So, it's 4pm here and I just got caught up with your journey. God is with you. It seems as though He went ahead and laid every step for you. I hope it continues to be that way for the remainder of the trip.

Much love,
Pam

Beckyb said...

Jana - I barely know you and yet I am sobbing over here - what a journey!! I am so thrilled all is going so well - and yes, your heart will continue to melt when you see your boys with Oakley - it is a wonderful WONDERFUL thing!!! Give her an extra squeeze today - we are praising God with you - and I'll give Caeleigh a squeeze today too - what precious gifts we have been given!!!!

Shelby said...

Jana,
I'm so happy to see you finally got Oakley! The pictures look really good. I stopped by Mamaw's to say goodbye and that's when she told me you all have Oakley now and have posted the pictures. I can't wait to meet her when I come home in August. Thanks for the card and tell Sawyer thank you for his letter. Best of luck to all of you!
Love,
Shelby

Anonymous said...

Hi Jana!
I just checked my computer and was so hoping to see little Oakley in your arms and the very first picture that popped up - there she was in your arms! What an amazing thrill! I am so happy for you and just rejoicing in all God is doing in your life today! She is beautiful - oh my goodness she is beautiful.

Rest well and love on that little girl. She is amazing!

Congratulations and God bless you all!

Praying for you!
Julie
Mommy to Li Fang (Katherine Grace)
Zhangzhou SWI, Fujian Province

Anonymous said...

Tried to write early this morning but between the tears and excitment I think I deleted it. Logan and Parker said "ahhhh...she is soooo cute!" They also wanted me to get out all my little girl
toys for her to play with when she comes home. We ALL send our love and pray that your journey continues to be blessed.
Rob, Ang, Logan, and Parker

Anonymous said...

Jana and family,

I'm so happy for all of you! I can't wait to see her when you are home. She's so sweet. The pictures are great. Please have a safe and happy journey home.

Terry

AnnaClaire's Jie Jie said...

Oh! She is beautiful!!!!! So happy for you!!!!!!!!!!

Robyn said...

Congratulations!! Oakley is beautiful!! Enjoy the rest of your stay in China and have a safe trip home!!

Robyn
Mommy to Gabriella

Mommy-To-Channing said...

Hey Jana....OMG was away for the weekend. CONGRATS.....Oakley is beautiful!!! WOW....I sure hope things continue to go smoothly for you. Each day will get better and better. I will be glued to the computer for the rest of your trip!!!

Kelly said...

Jana,

You're right! She is beautiful! I can't wait to talk to Sullivan at school tomorrow to see what he thought of the new pictures.

Brenda, Heather, and I are so excited for you and we can't wait to meet Oakley in person.

Love,
Kelly Stout

Anonymous said...

Eyy!Its me Aaron C(urd) and i just posted to say and congradulate you guys,(I know everyone has said this but...)she is beutiful! I wanted to let you know that i am going to show the blog and pics to the whole family(me,Rachel,Nathe,Jen,and Chuck).Well i dont want to keep you, so best of wishes to ya!


lots of luv,
~Aaron + the Curd family

sherry said...

Jana, Mike, Sawyer! Wow, wow, wow!! Finally! We are praising God for your beautiful blessing and rejoicing with you! How wonderful and exciting. It brings back some not-so-distant memories for us. We love you all and CANNOT wait to see her!
Bradford, Sherry, Adam, G-man, Olivia and Sophia

The Ferrill's said...

AUGHHHHHHHHHHH!!! This is what happens when I've been without the internet for 3 days! Oh my goodness Oakley is SO beautiful and sweet! I got such chills reading about your gotcha day! I'm so happy to see her with you!
Big sigh of joy,
Laine