Friday, October 28, 2005

56 Hours of Parenthood

Finally found a few minutes to post about our wonderful journey so far. Papa and baby are fast asleep and I have a bit of time to tell you how very lucky and blessed we've been.

By the way, please excuse any misspellings in earlier posts -- my brilliant, sweet, talented but spelling-challenged husband has done all the posts since we've gotten Kate. I am just too busy playing, loving, bathing, and napping.

There are nine families in our group. We flew from Hong Kong toNanning Tuesday, arriving to the hotel around 1pm. We then completed paperwork and were sent to our room to "rest." Yeah, right! We took a short bus ride to a nearby hotel where our babies waited for us.The youngest baby in the group is 14 months and the oldest, I believe is 22 months. We were all getting toddlers, which makes things awhole lot different (they said -- but how would I know, this is my first!).

One thing we were told on the bus ride from the airport that our little girls were very, very sad because they had just been taken from their foster mothers. Of course, all the new moms and most of the dads started crying then, too. The pain we felt for our littlegirls was so hard -- what a mix of emotions to be so happy and sovery sad for the situation at the same time. The whole week has been like that. (People approach us on the streets or in the stores and touch Kate, coo to her and make her laugh. They read our name badges that explain why we're here and then say "lucky baby." Each time, I tell them that we are lucky. Today, a woman who apparently knows a little English winked at me and said "lucky FAMILY." She is exactly right.)

Anyway, we walked in and could spy some of the little ones in anotherroom. I quickly looked away because I was fighting tears the wholetime. I wanted to be calm for Kate (or at least not a total mess). As we stood there waiting, so many thoughts ran through my mind:

Will I recognize her when she comes in?
Will she be terrified? angry? confused? withdrawn?
Will I be able to handle it?
Will she?

So then they marched the babies in, and I was eminently grateful that adults brought the little ones. When my friends were here a few months ago, many of the escorts were the older children from the orphanage. Ugh -- how painful....

As soon as she was brought in, I knew her. I knew that silly smile and I saw those clapping hands from her update photo. And this is precisely when the waterworks sprung some major leaks. We waited for our turn and finally, she was placed in my arms. I hugged the nanny and said "xie xie" so many times. I told her "Wo Ai Hai Yang" (I love Hai Yang, aka Kate) in hopes that she could possibly understand that I would love her with everything I am and everything I have.

How do you thank a person for a gift as great as a child?

Kate looked a little confused but then she started clapping. We giggled together, made raspberry sounds and I gave her lots of kisses. When Proud Papa finally got his chance with her, she was just as receptive.

It has only gotten better since that moment about 56 hours ago. When she wakes up, she smiles at me. When I say "Mama Bao?" (Mama hold you?), she reaches for me. When she's ticked off, she lets us know instead of withdrawing. She fights sleep with ferocity and has a lot of chest congestion right now, but other than that, she is just so very happy. She loves bathtime, story time, music, cheerios, walking with help, and being cooed to. Clearly, she has been loved -- as she will continue to be.

Some of the other babies were slower to warm up, but they are so wonderful. Each one is different, yet they all capture everyone's hearts. They all blossom a little more each time we see them. EvenKate, who took to us right off, seems so much more attached than two days ago. She's not feeling well, and clings to me when the congestion gets too much. She adores Papa, but I'm the one she reaches for when she doesn't feel good. That being said, however, Papa was awesome this evening when Kate was tired, hungry and had trouble taking her bottle and breathing. He was patient, calm, sweet. I am a lucky woman all the way around!

At the hotel we're staying at, there are also four new familes that are here from Spain. Breakfast every morning is so much fun. English, Spanish, Mandarin and a few Guilin (where Kate is from) dialect phrases all jumbled together. The babies seem happy no matter what the language, as long as they are getting love and food. :-)

More later -- and I promise to tell the tales of shopping in Nanning, meeting strangers on the street, trying to order takeout and the mini-adventure of our bus hitting a moped driver. It's never boring in Nanning!

Until then, enjoy the pictures of Kate from this evening. You'll have to excuse her chronically runny nose. Between teething and the cold, she is one drooly / snotty but-still-cute-as-a-bug little girl.

We still can't read comments on our blog, but please continue to post. We have so enjoyed the emails, by the way. We love it here, but miss being home. A special thank you to Alex Rose, one of my 6th period students who sent me sweet wishes and a pic of the beach. Can't wait to see it again!


Rosa said...

This is a very,very,very cute girl. I read all your message from today and could feel everything you were saying!! you made me cry!! I am very happy for you!
See you soon! I bought you what you told me you still needed!!
Rosa Perotti

Mom said...

Wonderful update. Makes me feel closer to you and to Kate. I miss you all terribly!