Sunday, March 25, 2007

One month ago...

25 minutes from meeting Piper Grace!!! I'm smiling, but thinking I might throw up at any moment!
Scott passed the time on the bus on the way to the babies by taking lots of pictures like this one.
We are here!!!
The babies are here, the babies are here!!!
First moments together

Tonight, Scott and I keep converting to China time and remembering what we were doing at this time last month and remembering what we were feeling. That Monday morning, February 26th, we got up went and ate breakfast at our hotel with some of the other families from our group. We really enjoyed talking with people who had been through the exact same process as us. We were all dealing with major butterflies in our stomachs. I especially remember talking with one couple who were about to become parents for the first time. It was all so exciting! I wish I would've taken more video, I want to remember every bit of it.
We went to do some paper work (surprise, surprise) and then were told to all meet in the lobby at 1:00. Scott and I grabbed a quick lunch, although I couldn't eat much, as I was beginning to feel like I might throw up. I kept wondering if anyone has ever thrown up during the meeting of their child, I really thought I might. The feelings of the day were just a certain mixture that I don't know if I've ever felt, just extreme anticipation, excitement, nervousness, relief, joy...all mixed together. We met our group of 10 families and our guide XiXi (pronounced she-she) in the lobby and boarded the bus. We sat at the back with the Musgroves. She said it would take about 20 minutes to get there and I felt each one of those minutes like it was a day. Every turn, we would wonder, is that the building, are we here, is this it??? We ended up having to park about a block from the civil affairs building and walk through a very big, kind of city park, fountain area. As we walked we kept our eyes on the tall building ahead where we would meet Piper Grace in just a matter of minutes. People were stopping to look at this large group of Americans as we power walked straight ahead. It was just so exciting! We all just kept looking at each other, like "is this really happening?". XiXi escorted us into the building and we went straight into the elevator to up to the 8th floor where we would meet the babies. We had been given a sheet of paper with everyones names on it and the plan was that each name would be called in that order to receive their child. We were #4. The elevator doors opened and we walked through an entrance to a large room and lo and behold the babies were sitting right there with the nannies, all dressed in the exact same red outfit!!! The "plan" went out the window fast as we all started to attempt to locate our baby. They had all changed so much since their referral picture that it was hard to tell for sure. We didn't know it, but Piper was towards the back of the room. All I know is that within minutes XiXi was calling Piper's Chinese name, Xiu Fu Zhu. I can still hear her say it in my mind, she emphasized Zhu and we were by her side in half a second. Out of nowhere, Piper appeared and was being handed to me by her nanny. Piper Grace looked straight into my eyes and I was a goner. From that split second on, my heart was forever marked...I was Piper's mommy and nothing, nothing could have gotten her out my arms at that point. I was truly swept away, that's how it felt. All around us, within feet of us, our new friends were receiving their babies, there is just nothing else on earth like this experience. I have no idea how long we were in that room, maybe an hour or so, just getting to know our babies, soaking it all up. At one point we were called over to take our family photo that would go on Piper's adoption certificate, at another point we were called over for someone to check our passports and hers and have her footprint put on a document. A bit after this, Piper nestled her head against my chest and went to sleep. I loved holding her while she slept, we just kept looking at her and at each other. Eventually we all left the building together and walked back the same way we'd come, but this time with a lot more stares and smiles. We got on our bus and went back to the hotel. I think we got back about 4:00 or so. We went up to our room and played on the floor with our sweet little peanut. She seemed so calm and I couldn't believe how much she was already interacting with us. She just kept looking into our eyes and feeling our faces. We eventually went to dinner with the Musgroves and she seemed to really like being out and about. I remember thinking at that point that I couldn't believe that we'd just received the babies that afternoon, it seemed like they'd been with us for so long. It felt very natural, I felt like Piper's mommy. We went back to our room, got her in her pink PJ's, loved on her, sang to her and put her down for bed. I laid next to her and put my hand up, she put her palm up against mine, and that became our routine. Of course we watched her sleep! What most surprised me about the day was how calm and natural it all felt once we received the babies. From that point on, families were made, and that was that. I couldn't believe how much I already loved little Piper Grace. It was just immediate and full. I am still in awe of the gift we were given, truly amazing.
I am posting some pictures of the day that we didn't post before, mostly because I just want to see them again!

Thank you, Lord!

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