Hubby and I decided it was best for Katie and I to travel to China. That way he could be home for work and to be with Anna. We hadn't left her with anybody other than our older children and we didn't want this to be too traumatizing. We wanted to start off on the right foot for both of the girls and for our older children.
Katie was very excited to go- to meet her new sister, see China and have this experience. She had just recently traveled to Australia so she was an experienced traveler. I have never gone this far without hubby. I was nervous but kept praying. I new that God would take care of us but sometimes dealing with all the paperwork and money seemed so overwhelming for me.
We flew into Beijing and where met there by a driver who took us to our hotel. When hubby and I were in China for Anna we did not go to Beijing- so this was the first time for Katie and I! We had so much fun together! We snapped a ton of pictures and enjoyed the extra attention we got for being American and for Katie being a young cute girl with blonde highlights! We were in pictures and we included others in ours! We had 2-3 days of sightseeing (with a guide and another family) and then headed to Nanjing the capitol of our daughter's province.
We had the evening to get settled and then the next morning we would be meeting Ming Ming, our daughter/sister! I was nervous and had butterflies. I tried not think about it too much or to fantasize on what it will be like. I wanted to keep my mind open for all options- I didn't want to be disappointed. This was a huge change for Ming Ming- she deserved the right to cry or run the other way if that's was what she needed to do. I was not her knight in shining armor I was someone that was taking her away from everything familiar. Yes, we intended to give her a wonderful life but that didn't matter at that point.
When we arrived at the government building we were early. My eyes quickly darted around for an 8 yr old girl but there was not one insight. We saw families coming into the room they were from Canada and then the babies came in- it was a wonderful sight. Everyone spoke French but the babies wailing is the same in any language! Katie and I completely enjoyed the spectacle and it reminded me of when we met Anna.
Our new daughter still had not arrived. I was getting more nervous as time went on... We started to watch out the window hoping to catch a glimpse if her, still nothing. Katie took one more look and said "Is that her? No, it's not." I turned and looked- "Yes, it was her!" She saw us peering out the window- we waved and she waved back and pointed us out to her director! She was smiling! Within seconds they were standing in front of us! I could tell that she was getting more nervous. She wanted to look at me but she had a hard time doing it. I could feel her staring at me when I wasn't looking at her. She seemed pleased with her sister Katie but she needed to study her mom a little more! We gave a little welcome hug but Ming Ming wasn't ready for a lotta love- the little hug was enough. Her emotions were all over the place- she was happy enough to sit next to us and play with our camera and cell phones but she wasn't so sure she wanted me to touch her.
Awkward? Yes, definitely some awkward feelings. She was my daughter and I didn't know her and she didn't know me. Katie was a great ice breaker- she could be way more fun than me, she was younger and attractive like some of the young pretty nannies from the orphanage. Sarah had a definite preference for Katie and it was only getting stronger.
I can't lie- I have feelings, too. They were a little hurt but I knew it wasn't about me. It was about this little girl who's life was changing big time- and she had no say and no control over anything.
We had a wonderful guide- a woman about 40 yrs old, married and she had a teenage daughter. She was a huge help! We did a little shopping, hung out in our room and played with a beach ball, blew bubbles and attempted to color. Nothing lasted super long and for me it was tiring. In the evening we had her take a shower. I helped her, we took off layer and layer of clothes. $ layers on top and 3 on the bottom (not counting her winter jacket). Sarah has a rounder face and with all the clothes on we thought she was a little heavier. Wow, were we wrong. She was as skinny as can be. At night we asked Sarah who she wanted to sleep with- she chose Katie. I was okay with that- to be honest I needed a little time to adjust to this, too.
The next day we went back to sign the papers. All the wailing babies were dressed in adorable outfits and oh, so happy to be in the arms of their new parents- it was a delight to see!! Sarah was shocked that we were back at this place- I believe our guide told her what we had to do but I could tell she was very uncomfortable. The director came and talked to her, her favorite nanny came to see her- she refused to acknowledge them in any way. She began to physically hide behind us and quietly cry. We were invited to the orphanage for lunch - it was only an hour away. Sarah would be able to see her friends and say goodbye to them. She was insistent- she did not want to return under any circumstances. We politely thanked the director for the thoughtful invitation but we had to decline. They said that I could just go but I decided not to leave Sarah. I could sense she already had her preference and I didn't want to be linked to leaving her- in her mind.
A bit of background- Our new daughter had a failed China adoption. She was returned to the orphanage after 3 months. The family didn't tell her what they were doing. The just put her in the car and drove her back and dropped her off- that is what she told us. (On a lighter note Sarah has talked about this with us a couple times- she now seems comfortable with this being in her past.) This greatly affected my decision not to go to the orphanage- I just couldn't leave her and I understood why she did not want to visit. She was afraid that we would leave her there. Even though she wasn't so sure if she liked us very much, she knew she did not want to go back.