June 30, 2008 "Gotcha Day"
I am watching you sleep now - you are so very beautiful. Holding you close is like a slow dance at a prom. You belong in my arms. Today was more incredible than anything I could ever express.
Your day began with a long journey from Cangwu. Ours was more quiet. We had a nervous breakfast with the other soon-to-be-parents - all were nervous and doing their best to keep their minds busy - not thinking of what was soon to take place. The feelings in our stomachs were like that feeling you get just before a ride on a roller coaster - or before the free fall drops!
After breakfast, we filled our time with a trip to the People's Park here in Nanning. It was delightful. Music played everywhere as dancers danced and groups performed Tai Chi. Musicians gathered by the lake to play, while children young and old fed the huge numbers of fish along the shoreline. Picturesque bridges and pagodas had my parents snapping photos, as Zena and I held hands walking along. At one point, we were stopped. A group of elderly women wanted us to dance with them. We were given fans to dance with - and joined them along the lakeside.
We returned to the hotel, blissful and ready. We cleaned ourselves up to look nice, took baths... and waited. I watched a Jackie Chan movie and then "Spider-Man 3" while Zena calmly rested. We prayed before our time came, it was 3:00 and we were to go to the lobby where the bus would give us a ride to meet you. Our guide poked fun at us on the way there, taunting us by saying that he wasn't nervous at all. We laughed - and so did he. He told us stories to relax us, but soon we arrived at the building and got off the bus. We were quickly herded to an elevator, which took us to a room on the fourth floor. It was quickly filled up by all the waiting parents - the dads were armed and ready with cameras and video recorders. My parents were there to take photos, so we didn't have to.
Boy, talk about atmosphere. We saw babies go by the door to another room - whose were they? Nervous chatter filled the room as we waited for the babies to come in. And then they did, one by one. Emotions ran high and tears flowed already as the first few came in. The parents' names were called and the big moment began. Babies were crying and so were parents - I looked to the doorway and the Cangwu children were brought in.
I saw you the moment you came through the door - before anyone else, I spotted you and said, "That's her." They called your name and we stepped forward. Zena opened her arms to receive you - you were not too happy to leave your caregiver. Zena brought you close and you began to relax and calm down, still uncertain of all that was going on. Not wanting to upset you further (I figured male figures might be unfamiliar to you), I stood back some and approached carefully. How beautiful you are! Look at those eyes, the cute little nose and that wonderful hair. Zena couldn't see you - she just kept reassuring you that everything would be okay. And it will be. I wanted to take pictures of you immediately so I grabbed the camera after all and took many, many pictures of you. Then I took some of the others in the room - what an incredible moment!
We were soon called into the next room for group photos of the families. You were very still for the photo - not upset at all. My parents were so happy to be there with you - my mother cried happy tears. It was absolutely perfect, Madison. Of all the babies in that room, I would have chosen you - you are perfect. I told Zena as much and she agreed. She told me you resemble me in some ways, but really you resemble Zena more. You're both beautiful!
We went back to the bus as parents. There were forms to fill out later on but we just wanted to get you home - or back to the room - and be alone with you. It was here I held you for the first time, joy filling my heart and tears filling my eyes. What did I do to become so blessed? You clung tightly to me, not sure of your surroundings. You had such a long day.
My parents came in and gave you gifts. One was a stack of rings of different colors. You grabbed the green one - we had no idea you had a green one like that in the orphanage until we saw some photos later in the day.
We knew it was a long day for you, so Zena thought it was best to give you a bath to clean you up a bit after the long, hot ride. You didn't like the bath too much but you did feel better afterwards.
We got you in some new pjs and fed you a bottle of warm tasty formula - you fell right asleep after that. You are in your crib still, snoring and at peace. I had to go fill out forms galore though. Lots of paperwork to sign and put my thumbprint on. An elderly couple read the Chinese on my t-shirt. It said, "I'm the Daddy." They gave me a big thumbs up and smiled. I'm the Daddy!