Well, it seems strange to be posting this, it simply doesn't seem like a year has gone by, but it has. On November 23rd 2009 a bus full of us were on our way to to meet our new children for the first time. We had been touring Beijing and socializing with many of the families in the group, but this was the day that everyone was here for. We had heard many stories about how the process went as far as getting the children. Sometimes they have all the families wait and go through each child one at a time calling names. I wasn't excited about that, as it would have been just an additional nervous step to wait through. The thing about Chinese adoptions is that none of them are the same. The guides didn't even really know how it was going to happen, so they just give you some vague idea of what to expect. When our bus pulled up, we could see nannies and children already inside, and one of the parents recognized her child before we even got off the bus. It was almost like a dream getting off and walking into the building thinking, "I'm about to see my new child". Honestly I don't remember the specifics, but I do recall a team of people walking in with Ying, and Robyn and I saw her and knew it was her. There was no formal name calling or lines, I think we just went up and asked if this was 'Dang Ying'. At that point the caretakers started pulling out the picture books and showing her our pictures and saying and pointing 'mama' and 'baba'. Ying couldn't care less. I remember, she had a big rice crispie treat that she was eating and was just looking around a bit. The caretakers has bags full of things for us, food, snacks, clothes, blankets, and even a scrapbook they had put together. I don't think she even cried. I swung her in my arms a little bit and got a smile. Her caretakers hung around, and we spoke to them a bit about her, finding out what she was called, and ate, and activities, etc. Our Chinese was horrible, and we were nervous/excited, but we got the basics. I didn't get upset until I saw the nannies crying as they were trying to leave. They were huddled around the corner by the hallway they had entered from, peaking around and watching us. We felt so bad for them because we knew that this was their little baby. They had cared for her for 2 years, since she was a tiny infant, and now she was leaving them to go with her new family.
We hung around a while, finishing some paperwork/signatures, and meeting some of the other families kids, its all such a blur. We finally got on the bus, and Ying fell asleep. She was SO good, it was amazing. We expected the worst, and got the best. We knew she would grieve eventually, but that first day was great. Some of the other families had it much much worse than we did. One family had a little girl that cried for, what seemed like, a week straight. I never saw the poor kid when she wasn't just balling her eyes out. Ying cried when she woke up mostly. She did have a few points where she would just break down and cry, and it was terrible, but it was expected and we were happy that she was doing it. She initially didn't want to have anything to do with mommy. At first I liked it, I got to play, cuddle, etc. Eventually it got really annoying that I couldn't go do anything alone. Ying would simply FLIP OUT if I wasn't around, or if mommy even so much as pushed her stroller. I remember she would pitch a fit and wave her hand 'no' when Robyn would do anything for her.
We spent 2009 Thanksgiving at an Italian restaurant in a Chinese hotel. Yea, take that 'tradition'! I kept having flashes of the 'A Christmas Story' movie while we were eating. Our family actually had a Thanksgiving celebration before we left, so we weren't totally cheated, but it was still strange to do the actual holiday in China. The hotel made a turkey dinner for all the Americans, but it still had quite a twist to it.
Overall, its been an amazing journey. We started this process expecting that we wouldn't actually be adopting until 2010 or 2011, and our kids would be spaced out a bit more than 5 months. Here is a quick timeline.
02-15-08 : Submitted application to adoption agency
04-10-09 : We get our application logged into China
04-13-09 : We enroll in the special needs program
06-04-09 : We got Ying's referral
11-18-09 : Leave for China
12-04-09 : Come home
We had to wait until 08/2008 before we could finalize paperwork, because we had to all be 30 years old to submit the packet, and the paperwork takes forever, but we still flew through the process. The special needs program doesn't take as long, and its a great GREAT thing to be involved in. Many people shy away from it because of what it could involve. Its not an easy choice at all, you have to be ready to expect anything, but it was completely worth it. If you have questions, or friends/family with question about the process or anything feel free to refer them to us. We are pretty straight forward about the whole process, :)