Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 3 - GOTCHA DAY!!! Guiyang, Guizhou

I told Adam that once we had Gotcha Day I would try to do some posting too.  This is Ginny BTW. 

We have been anticipating Gotcha Day for so long and trying to imagine how the day would go.  We prepared ourselves for all of the worse case scenarios... tears, confusion, etc.  While we hoped it would go well we never imagined in a million years just how well it would go. 

While we were in Beijing we were told that Mia would be brought to our hotel at 3:00.  But after arriving in Guiyang our guide told us that we would be meeting Mia at the civil affairs office at 5:00.  Our flight arrived at 12:15 so it gave us time to unpack, buy some drinks and snacks at a local store, and rest a bit (Ashlyn took a nap) before meeting Mia.

At 4:30, we met our guide and drove to the civil affairs office.  As the car was parking I saw a little girl in a red sweater standing outside with a woman.  I immediately recognized our little girl!  Adam and our guide were confused for a minute why I was getting so excited.  Standing there outside with perfectly groomed hair in an adorable pixie cut she seemed smaller than I was expecting although the clothes we brought for her will fit her perfectly (she is at 5T). 

As soon as we stepped out of the car the woman was pointing at us and telling Mia who we were.  Mia was looked so happy!  We are still in disbelief about just how excited she was.  She immediately came over to us and called us "Mama" and "Baba".  She was all smiles and I realized she has two big dimples. 

After we went inside Ashlyn pulled out the LeapPad that we had brought for her and she was captivated.  She played on the leappad, giggled a lot, as well as continued to engage us and smile for pictures.  She loved calling Adam and I, Baba and Mama and did so over and over.  We were told that she is thrilled to have a family.

There was lots of paperwork to be signed and filled out and Adam took care of that.  Right before it was time to leave I pulled out ring pops that I had brought for the girls.  Before long the girls were sharing their ring pops (fortuantely no one is sick) and then Mia wanted to share her ring pop with Adam and I as well.  

We left the civil affairs office and got in the car.  Ashlyn and Mia sat in the back of the minivan and Adam and I in the middle row.  Mia and Ashlyn continued to share their ring pops with us and there was many giggles.  Even the driver who has driven many newly adopted kids around couldn't believe it how well she was doing (most kids are crying at this point). 

We got back to the hotel and anyone that knows Ashlyn knows that she loves her pajamas and will put them on the second we are in the door no matter what time of the day it is.  As soon as Mia saw Ashlyn in her pajamas she pointed to herself and said she had no pajamas.  So we took care of that!  I brought her into the bathroom (since the hotel room was full of people) and helped her change into feetie pajamas.  She was thrilled! 

After that we took the girls to dinner in the hotel and Mia had a Chinese feast (see #9 below).  All in all I feel like this a dream.  I can't believe we have our little girl and I can't believe how well she did today.  I know she will go through a time of grieving but today is not that day.    

Some things we learned about our Mia today:

  1. She was not living in an orpahnage but rather with a foster family.  After she was abandoned she spent 2-3 months in the hospital (related to the train accident that caused her to lose her left-forearm) and then spent 2-3 months in the orphange and the rest of the time was with a foster mother.  The foster mother had 4 foster kids total (2 boys and 2 girls including Mia).
  2. Mia has a barely noticeable scar on her right cheek. I believe this too was from the train accident.
  3. She was attending kindergarten at a public school.  She was about to be promoted to the next grade (they called it the primary grades).
  4. She is a very happy kid. 
  5. She is a chatter box!
  6. She likes to go places.  Her paper work had mentioned, "She likes to go many places of which there are many places to go."  That definitely sounds like our girl.  Today she kept asking about when we would go sight seeing.
  7. She is fearless.  We asked her foster mom what she is afraid of and she said, "nothing."
  8. She likes the water.  The foster mom added some pictures of her to the photo album we sent and some of the pictures show a very happy Mia in the pool.
  9. She loves puppies.... and kitties and bunnies. 
  10. She loves to eat.  We went to a buffet at our hotel for dinner and I just filled her plate with an assortment of Chinese food (I had no idea what I was feeding her).  She was very happy with everything.  She likes orange juice and oranges and I think strawberries (she kept pointing to strawberries on the dinner menu but I didn't see any at the buffet). 
  11. I think today was her first day eating ice cream.  For dessert Adam brought her a bowl of ice cream and she made the funniest face at first.  It reminded me of the face Austin made when he first had ice cream.  After she got over the inital shock she ate it all!
  12. She is a solid and sturdy child.  She is short in stature and looks to be about an early 5 year old but when you pick her up she feels solid. 
  13. She loves to kiss and to blow kisses (anyone who knows Ashlyn knows that she also loves to kiss so I love that they have this in common). 
  14. Her little arm might be little but do not underestimate everything it can do.  I am surprised at all of the ways she has learned to use it and she asks for me or Baba to hold her little arm when we are walking somewhere. 

Leaving Beijing there was snow on the ground.  It was the first snow of the year we were told.

Our flight to Guiyang City left at 9:05 and arrived at 12:15.  Going through security was slightly unnerving with additonal screenings and everyone including Ashlyn got quite the pat down.  Ashlyn was asked to pose for more pictures while waiting in the terminal.  We had to go from the terminal to a bus and then walk outside to board the plane.  It was raining pretty hard and everyone was given a poncho.  One thing we have learned about people in China is that there is no such thing as personal space or a single file line and that includes driving as well.  So standing on the bus and crowding to get on the plane was slightly claustophobic to say the least.  We had several experiences with that yesterday as we were sight seeing as well so I knew what to expect.  This is probably the hardest thing about coming to China for me.  I can't tell you how great it was to finally board the plane and have room to spread out which I know sounds funny.  We were fed a delicious Chinese meal of Rice and Chicken and vegetables, a roll, more vegetables, and apricots on the flight.

 On the bus in my pancho.  This picture was taken before the bus really filled up.
 Looking out our hotel window in Guiyang City.
Local street vendors in Guiyang City. 
View of the beautiful mountains of Guiyang City from our airplane window.
 Mia enjoying her big day.
Mia feeding Bapa her snack. 

 I love this picture.
 Mia gives her stamp of approval.
 What a kid!
 Sisters have the same germs so I am told.
 Almost as soon as we got to the hotel these two were in pj's.
 An expert with chopsticks.
Enjoying her ice cream.


  1. Ginny and Adam, I am in tears as I write this, remembering our own "Gotcha Day". There are some striking similarities in our own story, even though the circumstances of our adoption were slightly different.
    Like Mia, Felicity was born in mainland China, and we adopted her when she was nearly 7 years old. However, our Gotcha Day did not take place in China, but right here in the states, as Felicity had already been adopted by an American family, who was now "surrendering" her. It is a long story, and maybe I will have a chance to tell you someday, but to put this in a nutshell... She was not given much notice her life was about to change forever, and only had a few days to process the fact that she was leaving the family she loved, and that we would be her new parents. The day we picked her up, and loaded all of her stuff in a little uhaul to bring her home, I was nervous, thinking "how can I have her call me 'mommy' when she has had a mommy for almost 6 years, and here I am, a virtual stranger to her. I was literally thinking these things to myself as we are pulling out of the parking lot to head home, and her little voice calls up from the back seat: "Is it ok if I call you guys Mommy and Daddy? Cause I think a kid should call their parents by their right names." I was floored. Like you with Mia, there was an instant bond, and as you know, this is nothing short of miraculous!
    You are wise to know that there will be pain and grieving, as there has been (and to an extent will continue to be) with Felicity. But there is a Redeemer in your midst, working it all for good.
    I cannot tell you how thrilled I am for all of you. I hope that maybe some day, we may get the chance to meet up and introduce our families to each other :^)