Sorry for the belated update on Gotcha Day. It has been quite an indescribable day and a half. I will try to sum it all up here. Bear with me! I also apologize for not many pictures- unfortunately there have not been many happy faces, but thankfully there have been some.
We awoke yesterday morning around 3:30 to prepare to leave Beijing and fly to Nanning. We left the hotel at 4:30 with our travel group and headed to the airport. Our flight left at 7:20 and we enjoyed chatting and spending time with other members of our travel group before departing to Nanning. The flight was a little over 3 hours, and we arrived in Nanning around 10:30. Nanning is a totally different landscape as it is in the southwestern part of China. It looks very tropical and the instant we stepped off the plane we could tell a huge change in the temperature. Much hotter and near 100% humidity. Instant sweat!
We waited for our guide in the airport, which is probably a little bigger than the Lexington airport. Once our guide arrived we drove to our hotel, which was about a twenty or twenty five minute drive into the city. Nanning is a large city, with over 4 million people. There is lots of construction and road work going on in Nanning as the city is growing rapidly. After arriving in our hotel we ate lunch and visited the local grocery to get some bottled water and snacks. We were told to meet our guide at 3pm to go to the civil affairs office to meet Emmie!
At 3pm we departed for the office which is about a 15 minute drive from our hotel. When we arrived, Emmie was not there yet, but we got to watch other families meet their children for the first time, which was very wonderful. The building we were meeting Emmie in was very new, but there was not any air conditioning and it was extremely hot and stuffy. We began to sweat almost instantly. I honestly think it was over 80 degrees inside. Finally after about 15 minutes, a van with Emmie and another little girl pulled in. We saw her walk in the door. She was very happy and bubbly. When she saw us she smiled shyly, but did not want to come to us. We were prepared for this reaction, and even for her to cry a bit. She walked around happily with her nanny, who later we learned she had spent a week with most recently in her home- (this will explain a lot later J )
We had to go upstairs in the building to a large room with a small play area to continue meeting Emmied and for the photographer to take a family photo that must be attached to some adoption paperwork. Emmie immediately began playing with the other children and with the toys. She had lots of energy and was climbing up the slide, sliding down, and repeating. She interacted fairly well with us……until………it was time for her nanny to go. At that point she began to cry and grab for her nannie. We tried to hold her and console her, but it was no use, and she made it very clear that she did not want us to even try! She pushed us away, and pinched me very hard on my neck area. She spit the animal cracker she was chewing onto my shirt and hair. If we tried to not console her, she continued to cry and scream and lay in the floor. It was very difficult to watch her be so traumatized, and we felt very helpless to do anything. She tried over and over again to leave the room and find her nannie, but of course we had to stop her, and she resented us for this, again, not wanting anything to do with us. She rejected any toy or snack we tried to give her, and any comfort we tried to give her.
We eventually had to leave the room with her and get back into our van to go to the motel. This was a relief, though she continued to scream and cry and not want to be touched by us. The other sweet couple with us in our province adopted a 13 month old girl, so their experience was much more calm and serene. They were offering to help us however they could, and were very supportive. Once in the room, the crying and screaming continued and she got herself as close to the hotel room door as she could, again, wanting nothing to do with us at all. She eventually cried herself to sleep, right in front of the door!!
She slept for about 45 minutes. During this time Zack and I rested as well, as we had been up since 3:30 that morning, and our emotions were a wreck. It was very difficult seeing Emmie this way, and we knew her heart was aching. At the same time, our hearts were aching for her, but also we were concerned and worried about her reaction. A million thoughts go through your head the day you meet your child, especially when they react in such an extreme way. We just prayed with each other and asked God for his strength and grace.
When Emmie woke up, she immediately started to cry again. Again, we felt helpless to do anything, as she rejected any help we tried to give, or any comfort. We left her some space and just tried to let her know we were available if she wanted us. A few minutes letter the guide knocked at our door because we needed to take the family photo (we weren't able to at the initial meeting because of Emmie's reaction) and once she came in Emmie called down. She began to play with us, smile, and laugh. We ordered room service and she ate well and allowed us to feed her. She began interacting with us more and more. Things were going great! The guide even slipped out and Emmie still was doing well. Until she noticed she was gone! Then it all broke lose again J It took a good hour for her to even come near to us. Once she did, she did allow us to play with her, to give her a bath, to help her brush her teeth, and to eventually read her a book and go to bed. She went to bed well and slept all night long. We consider this to be an answer to prayer and a miracle, as we were desperate for rest and some slight improvement in the way Emmie responded to us.
Today Emmie woke up, crying, and remained this way for the majority of the day today- maybe only ten minutes or so that she has not cried from 7:30 until lunch. We went to the notary office to do some paperwork, and then again to the Civil Affairs office. We then came back to the room, and Emmie continued to cry. We waited for lunch (room service), and Emmie did finally calm down, and ate with us. She then had a really good few hours of just playing with us and allowing us to interact with her. We attempted to simply walk around the hotel, but that didn't go so well. The minute she saw the door she indicated she wanted to leave and began to cry the minute we didn't allow that. We are now in our room with her. She is sitting by the door again, crying, but not quite as bad as she has been. Maybe this is some improvement! We are trying to show our care and love for her anyway we can, but so far she has rejected much of it. It is beginning to wear on our emotions, but we know we must remain strong. Please pray for wisdom and strength that only God can give.