May 30, 2010

Yesterday was a long day.  We left Beijing at 5:30 am which would not be so bad except that I Dart and I were both up all night with anticipation.  Already carry a monumental sleep deficit I fell asleep the night before at 9:30 only to wake at 11:30.  I never feel asleep again.  We boarded our three hour flight to Guiyang and arrived there around 11am.  Our guide Michael met us and the other family we are traveling with and escorted us to a small bus.  We were told that we would indeed meet Macy at 3pm that day.  At that point the effects of no sleep and food were replaced by a nervous energy.  We made our way to the hotel to prepared for the 3pm meeting.

While I unpacked Dart braved his way  (with our Guide) to the Guiyang Walmart (more on that later) to gather supplies and a bucket of KFC (we have not been finding good food-not that there isn't any just that our schedule has been crazy!) At 2pm we went down to the lobby to meet Michael.  While we had a pot of tea, we  reviewed paperwork and handled the money with Michael, always an interesting transaction in international adoption.  We need to exchange our US money to Chinese money and Dart actually returned from the exchange with a Sheraton gift shop bag full of bills! Finally at 3pm we boarded the bus and headed to the civil affairs office.  (More on Guiyang later but let me just say for now, we're not in Kansas anymore! This is the real China.)

We were a little late and by the time we walked into the small office the room was already filled with people.  I scanned quickly and there she was, Praise God my beautiful little photo come to life!  Macy's foster mother must have seen me a split second faster because she was immediately smiling and excitedly motioning to Macy and calling 'Mama, mama" and from that point on a joyful chaos ensued!

I quickly moved to sit on the floor next to Macy. All tho months of worry that I would cry and scare her were unnecessary.  The only way I can describe it is to say a Grace came over me, a calm and sense of ease I was present and conscious of my every move.  There was so much fussing and clucking by the other women there towards Macy, pushing her towards me I could see she was about to be overwhelmed so I moved my attention to her foster mother and started showing her books and gifts.  Macy took it all in and came closer and closer to investigate.   Within 5 minutes she was able to take in the situation and perhaps me a bit more and she agreed to sit on my lap and look at the little photo book I made for her (THAT was a huge hit). The progress from there was miraculous.  Literally within 10 minutes she was proudly calling me mama and Dart papa and running back and forth between us giving us hugs and kisses.

There was much more process and ceremony in China (vs Kazakhstan) adoption than I expected.  We signed many documents and had to put our thumb stamp in red ink on to top of each signature.  Even Macy's hand was covered in red ink and pressed to an official adoption document.  We took all sorts of official photos with the foster family (by the way Macy's entourage includes her foster mother, father, brother and many aunts--truly she has been loved). Flanked by flags from the US and China we took more photos with officials and there were gifts and certificates presented to us thanking us for the donation to the orphanage.  We took our first family photo seated on a sofa with a large red velvet cloth background.  This photo is our "family passport" photo and was attached to a document that we will use today to board a flight to Xingyi.  So much went on in two wild, crazy hours and through it all Macy emerged as perhaps the sweetest, most charming, happy, cuddly child I have ever met...and she was mine!

About Macy let me start by saying that the photos of her smiling pale in comparison to the smile in person.  The slightest smile from me was returned with the warmest most joyful full face smile you can imaging.  This child lights up the room.  Her disposition is happy, sweet and truly joyful, thank God and her foster mothers for that.  Macy is definitely bigger (taller and heavier) than Nina but not as big as her photos made me think. She has this pinch-able full round face that makes you think she is bigger than she really is. 

When we left the civil affairs office after nearly two hours, Macy took my hand and happily walked out the door with me.  This charmed situation lasted all the way back to the hotel.  Macy was absolutely happy and confident the whole time.  When we got to our room she walked right in.  I showed her her toys and she examined each of them, right away choosing the kid camera as her favorite.  Talk about entertaining Macy proceeded to sing and smile and take picture of us.  She chattered away in Chinese, taking pictures and gleefully running to show us her photo.  We had dinner where she sat and played well and when the food came ate her egg and noodles and rice like a pro. (There is no doubt this child likes to eat!) After dinner we returned to the room and filled the tub with water.  Once again Macy gladly complied and let me wash her hair and bathe her and then she just played in the water.  I got her into her jammies  and combed her hair all the usual sort of pre bedtime stuff and then at 8pm I took her into the bedroom and into bed with me. AND THAT IS WHEN THE SPELL WAS BROKEN.

Poor Macy started to cry and call for mama.  Although I was prepared for this my guard had dropped following our happy start.  I could not comfort her.  This was a deep and sorrowful mourning and it is a sickening feeling holding your crying daughter as she calls for another mother. Yes I am her mother and yes I love her (already) but to her I was a stranger, a fun babysitter maybe but I was NOT "mama" and I had no way to make her feel better.  She cried and cried and screamed out in agonizing pain.  She tried to crawl off the bed, to the door, to her mama. (Oh God Macy,  I want am your mama! But she doesn't know this yet, not more than to call me the word)  So I rocked her and held her as she began to understand the changes that were upon her.  As expected she eventually reached for Dart who took her and swallowed her up in a hug.  Exhausted from grief she finally fell asleep around 9:30. 

My heart breaks thinking about what my sweet daughter will have to endure over the next few weeks and moths and even years.  I have no doubt that the sweet, joyful child we first met will reemerge.  Who knows we may see her for a time tomorrow.  I do know that my heart is filled with love and patience. 

Once again Dart and I are marveling at the blessings in our lives.  Macy is ours (even if she doesn't understand that yet) and we feel like the luckiest parents on the planet!

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