Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 9, Orientation, Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square

Day 9 (short version)
~Agency orientation
~My baby smiles!!!

Day 9 (long version)
Finally, the first (of many) Butterfly-related day that I have been waiting for… the agency orientation. We and about 15 other families made our way to a meeting room in the hotel. The man in charge of the orientation is jolly British man named Les. We met Les about four years ago when we traveled out here to bring home the Ladybug. He was so kind and generous with us and especially my father who really had to take his time climbing the Great Wall. So, we were all excited to see Les again and introduce him to the Ladybug.

The orientation took a little over two hours. Les discussed Chinese culture, travel expectations, and adoption expectations. At the very end of the meeting he started flashing recent photos of all of the soon-to-be adopted children. It is a rather funny site to see because the parents are asked to identify their child from a recent photo. Every single parent in the room was hesitant to affirm that the child on the screen was theirs… that is until the named rolled across the screen. Now, this is a very different experience for us personally when compared to the last time we did this four years ago. If you look on the side of our website at the Ladybug’s referral photo, you will notice that she had very curly hair. She was even nick-named “Baby Big Hair” by some of the other families because of her bouffant. As soon as the Ladybug’s photo flashed across the screen, we knew it was her immediately. A few people in the room even exclaimed, “That’s the Ladybug!”

Well, this time was quite different for us. We watched patiently as photos popped up on the screen, not seeing any resemblances to our baby girl. Finally, a little girl with a grin from ear to ear popped up on the screen. She looked much older and had thicker hair. She just seemed too old, but her eyes looked familiar. Then her name appeared, and this was our baby girl. This smiley, happy, joyous little girl was our baby Butterfly. Wow had she changed in just five months. She seemed to have a few little bug bites on her face, but her grin just melted my heart. My wish had come true, our baby girl seems like a happy little girl. (Sorry for the poor image quality, I had to take a picture of a picture... this is the best I could do.)

Shortly after we saw her photo flash across the screen, we were given a book with all of her recent information. She has a best friend at the orphanage. She is happy and loves to smile. She takes one nap a day. She loves rice and noodles. Her caretakers call her Xiao ChenChen, “Little Morning.” Now that I have seen her face, again, I cannot wait to get to the province to finally meet our daughter. We have just two more days to wait and she will finally be ours. Wow, it is so hard to believe that we are going to be a family of four in just such a short time. We all cannot wait.

Following orientation we were treated to a nice lunch. The group then headed off to tour the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Nana and I opted to stay back for two reasons. The first was that since we are leaving at 5:30 a.m., we wanted to get our bags packed without the last minute rush of having to do it in the evening. The second was that the temperature was expected to rise to at least 40 degrees Centigrade, which is least 104 degrees Fahrenheit. So, because we had already toured the Forbidden City, plus the awful heat, she and I stayed back in our air conditioned rooms and packed. However, the ladybug wanted to spend some more time with her friends so she and Daddy toured with the group.

She was quite a trooper the entire trip, much to the amazement of many of the adults on the tour. It got so hot that after touring the Forbidden City, over half of the group opted to go back on the air conditioned bus and cool off. Apparently the heat was just too much for them as well. Eventually, Daddy and the Bug returned to the hotel, crashed on the beds and cooled off from the scorching heat.

For me, I didn’t do too much today, but so much happened at the same time. Seeing our daughter smile… that made my day. In every photo that we had previously received of the Butterfly, she had such a serious face, not even a little grin. That smile is all I needed to make my day. Tomorrow we will awaken at 4 a.m. and go to the airport where we will fly to Guiyang, Guizhou. Once we arrive we will be taken to our hotel, we will settle in and unpack for a couple hours. At 2 p.m., the Ladybug’s foster mother will meet us in the lobby of the hotel. We all cannot wait! Until then…



Andrea Olson said...

What a beautiful, precious smile she has! It sounds like you had a wonderful day!

Kelly T. said...

Oh Bailey and Travis, she is so precious. Her smile is wonderful. Tears are streaming down my face. I can't wait to meet her! Thanks for taking the time to post all that you have. I love being on this journey with you via the blog! ;-) I love you!

Kari Abelseth said...

Hey Kowalski's! Madysen and I are reading about your journey (Madysen, of course, wants to take a trip to China now with Lili). The photo is adorable ~ she brought tears to my eyes, we can't wait to meet her!!! We hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and can't wait to see you soon!

Bill Davee said...

She is just adorable,what a fantastic smile! Have a safe wonderful trip to Guiyang. Bill Davee-Jinji's daddy

BrOwN CiRcUs said...

I remember when we first say a picture of our daughter is a treasured moment, because smiles show such personality...can't wait to see her in your arms!

BrOwN CiRcUs said...

oops typo...when we first saw a picture... :)