Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January 29th: Finally in our arms

I'm getting my sister today!
Surprisingly we slept pretty well last night. I doubled my Melatonin and took 2 Tylenol and got about 6 hours! Anna Faith was up early with us, all smiles. She was so excited to finally meet her little sister! We had to wait until 2:00 to leave for the Civil Affairs building from the hotel so had time to kill. We packed up documents, snacks, gifts, water, and toys, got the room set up with toys for her to play with, and headed down for breakfast. We met the other family staying in our hotel who are also adopting today and got to swap stories. It is such an encouragement to meet other couples who have stepped out in faith to adopt a child from around the world.
Our first glimpse
When we were finished we waited for Kris’ friend and his family to visit with us for lunch. He went to college with Kris but now lives in Nanjing. Snow prevented them from leaving on a trip Saturday so they had to wait until Tuesday to fly out for meetings. It was a great distraction from the tension of the day to hang out with them and their young kids for a couple hours. They were also very encouraging to us and our callings.
Finally 2:00 arrived. We went to the lobby and had to wait on our guide to leave. She told us the building was 20 minutes away. Somehow we got there in ten! We weren’t prepared! We got out the van and there she was in the lobby looking right at us! I rushed to hand our guide our camera to go ahead and video our moment, but it was hard to hold back from running to her.
Meeting Lottie Hope
She looked so scared. Her nanny told her it was her mommy, daddy, and big sister. She gave a little smile but froze in fear. The foreign aliens whose photos she had looked at for months and who spoke to her in two brief videos had arrived to take her away. I worked very hard not to cry so not to scare her like I did Anna Faith when we got her.
Photo taken for her paperwork
She stayed in the shell-shocked state for a couple hours. We signed temporary custody papers, filled out paperwork, talked to the nannies to get some questions answered about her needs and preferences, had a photo taken for our documents, then headed out with her. Her nannies said goodbye, and she still looked shocked. We rode back to the hotel and offered her Oreo cookies., They were a hit! Yep, a Dixon alright.
When we got to the hotel she still stayed shut down for a while. Everything in the room looked foreign and scary to her. She was in 4 layers of thick clothing so little by little we peeled off layers. We gave her a doll from her Grammy. She didn’t know what to do with it at first, but followed Anna Faith’s lead with her baby and learned to play with it. Then we pulled out markers and coloring books. She really got into them. She acted as if she had never colored before, so we taught her how to use colors. Then she started finding any paper in the room to test the markers on them! Oops!
first smile in the room- markers are fun!
With their baby dolls
Another first was costume jewelry.  She didn’t know what to do with beads, bracelets  and rings and got unhappy when I put them on her. So we just let her sort and stack them instead.
Eventually we asked if she would like to wear clothes like big sister. She nodded yes. So we dressed them alike and she smiled really big.
Anna Faith was amazing through all of this. She never showed an ounce of jealousy and jumped at any chance to be a help. She was always by Lottie’s side talking to her and encouraging her. What a great big sister!
We went to the adjoining mall for dinner. We didn’t know how she would handle all the stimulation with noises, sights and sounds she had never seen before. She actually got happier! We went down an escalator and she laughed! We ate Chinese food she was reported to like but she only ate some pork. The rice must have tasted different.
With Daddy after he dipped her down and up
Matching outfits- she liked it!
After dinner we picked up some bread at a bakery (she loves bread) and went back to the hotel. By now family in the States were starting to wake up, so we decided to get showers for the girls and then FaceTime. Little did we know, but Lottie had never had a shower. She gets bathed in a big basin. She panicked. Her balance is very shaky because she doesn’t have much experience walking (most of the day in a crib), so she was very unsure of water on the floor of the shower. It took Kris and me holding her to quickly clean her up and get her out. She was crying hysterically. It gave me a chance to be a comfort. We put both girls and their dolls in matching pajamas. We then got to introduce her to her big brothers!  They were so happy to see her. She didn’t know what was going on but did repeat the word big brother in Chinese to them. Seeing people on a phone screen must be confusing when you have never looked at one before!
Then she met her Grandma and Grandpa VanKampen. They were so excited 😆. She waved and smiled for them. After that Grammy Dixon met her as well. By then she was getting giddy with exhaustion. Everything she did with her toys made her laugh.
With Mommy
Her normal bedtime is 8:00 but we didn’t get the girls to bed until 9:45. Lottie had never slept out of a crib before, so was scared and confused. Anna Faith got in bed next to her but she still couldn’t sleep. I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed, but Kris was in the bed next to her. He fell asleep but woke up when he realized she got herself out of the bed (a big feat for her!) and wanted to get in bed with him. So that’s where they slept until 4:30 when I switched with him!
Lottie doesn’t give affection yet, but by tonight she wasn’t pushing us away from giving it to her. She is starting to put her guard down and let us see her. And she is so, so beautiful.
Our elevator photo- just like with Anna Faith
The road that lies ahead is going to be an uphill one. Getting her home has taken 3 years of work and waiting, but helping her catch up with all her challenges and delays may take even longer. She has spent most of her 5 years lying down in a crib. She hasn’t learned skills that most two year olds learn. Yet when we talk to her in Chinese she understands everything we say when we talk to her as a five year old.
Hand in Hand down the hallway
Getting dressed for dinner
Our lives have been blessed for the better by bringing this precious girl into our family. The love that has grown for her as we’ve fought for her, pursued her and sacrificed for her will also carry us through the ups and downs we are facing in days ahead. Adoption is hard. But adoption reminds us that the life God gives us isn’t about us. It is about Him, and pointing others to Him in the way we love others and follow His leading.
Tonight Lottie can rest her head never being fatherless again. She is still confused and trying to cope with the losses and gains she is drastically going through, but she now belongs to a family, OUR family....forever.

At dinner together
Matching pj's- Lottie just had a traumatic shower


In the bed together- happy!










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