We didn't sleep very well on Saturday night. The thought of holding Anna Faith soon was making my heart race, just like the morning of all three of our boys' births. On the 18 month anniversary of her abandonment in front of her orphanage at what was determined to be 8 days old, our daughter would be joining her forever family at last! While she had her first papers processed on her biggest brother's 6th birthday last year, we had just a week before put in our application to enter the China special needs program. God's perfect timing brought us together.
We decided to kill time in the morning by going to a historical area with lots of shopping nearby, called 3 lamps 7 valleys. It was a great time to go since Sunday was the last day of Chinese New Year holiday, called the lantern festival. They had unique cultural shows with flutes, puppets, food art, and amazingly intricate handicrafts. We bought a few small things then ate lunch nearby after buying some groceries we thought we should have in our room for Anna Faith. We really didn't know what she ate yet, so guessed she'd like rice cakes, bananas, bread, yogurt and juice. It's a good thing we've spent time in Chinese orphanages, because we guessed correctly with the rice cakes and yogurt! We got back to the room, chatted online with Kris' Mom and Dad before they went to sleep in the States, then spent time reading the Bible together and praying. I started a journal just for Anna Faith to give her when she's older about our journey during her first days/months in our lives. It was about 45 minutes until 3:30 at that point, but since a friend who has adopted from the same orphanage told us they sometimes show up early, we went ahead to the meeting room where she would be brought to us. We didn't find her there, but we did find the other family's daughter waiting with two orphanage workers. We excitingly called our guide to get word to the Australian family in our hotel that she had arrived. A few minutes later, we got to witness the beautiful meeting of a family with 5 older children meeting their 7 year old daughter, who they had waited 6 years to adopt. They told us this is very typical, since Australia is more or less anti-adoption. We recorded them and celebrated with them, but then went back to watching the front entrance from the third floor balcony by the meeting room. My palms got sweaty, my heart beat faster and faster the closer to 3:30 it got. Kris set up the camera to video our first moments. He had to sit down and read to handle his anxiety. Finally, right at 3:30 a woman holding a little girl walked in. I shouted "Kris, she's here!" so loudly the woman heard from below and waved at us. We waited for them to come out of the elevator, and then I began to cry. It was like a dream. The woman handed her to me first and because I was so emotional, Anna Faith looked scared. After a few moments I calmed down, then Kris held her and I brought her the stuffed unicorn from her brothers. She smiled a huge smile and hugged it. We melted! I couldn't stop saying "I'm your mommy, I love you" in Chinese to her and "she's so beautiful" over and over. We moved into the meeting room and immediately started working on paperwork. So many documents giving us custody and papers for her visa and passport to America. We got out some Gerber puffs from the States (thanks for the idea Brooke!) and got out toys for her to play with. She loves lights and sound toys and had a blast. Before long she was giggling and smiling from ear to ear. Remember, she is 18 months old and has no remembrance of ever leaving her orphanage! God answers prayers! We had photos taken of her with us for her visa, got translated information about her habits, routine, diet, and likes/dislikes, asked the orphanage worker, Mrs. Wang, a few more questions, and then were free to take her to our room. She didn't cry. She was very curious about all the toys in our room and immediately started playing and smiling. After a while, we took her outside for a walk by the lake. She was a little scared, but never cried. We can't believe how well she is transitioning! So far she like Kris and me the same. She doesn't like either of us out of her sight, which is great! That means she's bonding to us. She is such a girlie girl. She's not rough or like to bang things. She doesn't climb, yippee! She does like to hit Kris with blocks to hear him yell "ow"! She likes to jabber and sometimes acts like she is sassy. She loves jewelry and sparkles. The way she wanted to put on her new sneakers with glitter on them was hilarious! She loves to look at herself in the mirror, and we had fun trying on hats. so far she'll only keep them on if we go out since that's what she's used to in the winter here. She also copies everything. If I say a color, she tries to say it. She figured out how an ipad works in minutes. immediately after watching me, she started sliding, clicking, and moving things around on a toddler game we got Nathanael last year. she's played with the telephone in our room, taken pictures on our camera, and has watched fireworks from the window as the finale to Chinese New Year wrapped up as we went to bed. We decided to eat in the room for dinner and tried to feed her, but she just wanted milk and rice cakes. We undressed her for the first time and she danced in her diaper! she loved the freedom of no clothing, as I'm sure she's not allowed to do that in the orphanage. We got her in the bathtub, and at first she didn't want to sit in the water, but before long was playing with the toys her brothers chose to send along for her. When it was time to get out, she cried a lot. We knew she was tired and we were warned the first night would be hard. She is used to sleeping next to her Nanny's bed in a crib. She is the favorite in the room she was in. We got her dressed and paced the room. It took a while, but eventually she fell asleep in my arms. So precious! I laid down with her on top of me and an hour later woke up and placed her in her crib. We never had to get her out of it until 7 a.m. this morning! She whimpered through the night and needed reassurance, but we were amazed at yet again, more answered prayer. Today went better than I could have ever imagined. The thousands of prayers that have been raised for the last year by hundreds of people were answered, every one. Our daughter has been loved and nurtured, understands what love and trust is, is bright and healthy, and has already begun transitioning into our family. What a good God we have!