As I type, there is the sweetest little baby sleeping in the crib next to me! What a day it's been! It was so hard to concentrate on anything this morning. David took us to a big store where he helped us pick out Chinese baby board books. Thankfully they're written in both English and Mandarin. We got KFC for lunch (spicier than the U.S. version), and got back to the hotel at about 1:30 with two more hours to kill. Lyle and the kids started the Chronicles of Narnia movie and I went for a walk.
Our group met in the lobby at 3:30. Talk about nervous energy! We boarded the bus, many people already with video cameras rolling. The Guangxi Civil Affairs Office is located on the 4th floor of the Lottery Hotel, kind of a funny name for the place where we'd meet our daughter. As soon as we got off of the elevator we heard babies crying. We realized that there were several groups meeting their babies today. As we were walking down the hall, I looked into one of the rooms and saw Grace, a darling little 2 year old whose parents, the Cairneys, are in our travel group. I knew that's where our babies were, but I felt so nervous and shaky, I didn't poke my head in to look for Qiu Ju. While we waited in another room, Adam and Matthew, another 12 year old boy in our group, went down the hall with their video cameras. Adam ran back excitedly yelling, "I saw Qiu Ju! I saw Qiu Ju! She's so cute!" What a fun thing for Adam to be the first to see her! He asked Madeline if she wanted to go peek in the baby room, but she said she wanted to wait for the official baby presentation ceremony.
A woman from the Civil Affairs Office came in and gave a very sweet speech, thanking us for adopting these babies and telling us that our two countries will always be connected through our daughters. She asked us to please love them and to be patient with them as they make this great change in their lives. She then introduced the orphanage directors from the three different orphanages where the 5 babies came from.
The big moment came next. The nannies started bringing in the babies! Three of the little ones in our group are 2 years old, so it was easy to tell which was Qiu Ju. She was brought in last, looking so tiny, but still very much like her referral picture. Her hair has gotten longer and is very soft and sticky-up. She was wearing a "Hello Kitty" tank top and baggy pink shorts and was sucking her thumb. David first called the Cairneys to the front to meet little Grace. We've gotten to know these families and to see adorable little Grace walk right into her mom's outstretched arms was such a special moment. Next they called Leah whose baby, Julia wins the prize for the best hairstyle--three bouncy pigtails! Next they said, "Jin Qiu Ju. Lyle and Eileen." We stepped forward with Adam filming and Madeline snapping pictures. A man handed her to me and she came right to us without a fuss. She seemed to be intent on looking around at everything. After a couple of minutes, she started to cry and reached out for Lyle. He took her and she clung to him for dear life, but wouldn't take her eyes off of me. She apparently wanted Lyle to hold her and me to talk to her. Within minutes we saw her first smile. What a doll! She started to suck her thumb again and put her head down on Lyle's shoulder. David said they had just woken her up. The other two families got their babies, which frankly I missed because we were totally focusing on Qiu Ju. We snapped a couple more pictures and then we were being escorted back to the bus. The whole thing couldn't have taken more than 20 minutes.
On the bus, Qiu Ju did some more shy smiles and chewed on her little teether toy which we'd sent in a care package to the orphanage. The kids were so enamored with her and she calmly took everything in. Once we got back to our room we put her down on the bed and saw her CRAWL! Yeah! She smiled more, showing her 6 little teeth. We made her a bottle with the formula that the orphanage director gave us and Lyle snuggled up to her while she gulped it down. We put her back on the floor with some toys and just watched as she played. She has great dexterity and is very limber. She seems to really like the boys, wanting to go to Adam and Lyle. Madeline and I are trying not to be offended. She crawled over to the full length mirror and pulled herself up! I held one of her hands and she took a few little steps to me! When she was first handed to us, she seemed so tiny and floppy, but she's strong and seems to be developmentally on target. What a blessing!
After playing for about a half hour, she started rubbing her eyes, so I wrapped her in a blanket and she snuggled right in and went to sleep. She appears to be very healthy, but does have a rash on her neck, which Lily said is very common and is most likely heat rash, and she does have some sore-looking mosquito bites. Her head is a little asymetrical, but I don't think it's too bad. She is such a doll and we couldn't have asked for a more wonderful first meeting. To finally hug and kiss this little girl whose picture we've all memorized was one of the highlights of our lives--definitely up there with the births of Adam, Madeline, and Abby. It feels so right to have her with us. SO, now you can go to the next page to see some pictures!
Abby, you will LOVE little Maya Qiu Ju and she is going to love you! You did a great job picking out the fabric for her blankie. She already seems to like it. We miss you Abby and can't wait to see you again! Love, Mom and Dad