Our first night together went so well. Xiaoting really was so sweet and cute and very trusting. In the morning we even got her bathed which she didn't mind a bit and got ourselves all ready to eat (the morning buffet here is perhaps the largest I have ever seen - they have all sorts of Western breakfast things as well as all sorts of traditional Chinese food) - delicious!! We needed to head back over to the Civil Affairs building (same place where we met Ting) and meet once again with the orphanage officials, complete lots of paperwork signing (the previous day we were given just 24 hour custody) to officiate the adoption, finger printing (and foot printing of Ting), and official photos together.
The ride over was fine and Xiaoting was happy, but the minute we entered the building, she became stiff and scared and seemed to retreat into herself. It was so sad. When she saw the three officials (remember these are the three who just the day before had come to get her at her foster home to take her to us) she froze. She wouldn't really let me cuddle her but wouldn't go to them. It was so pitiful and also awkward as they were taking video and photos (I am thinking to show her foster family) and she wouldn't interact with us a bit. I think she was so torn - wanting to go with them, wanting to stay with us, unsure what was going to happen to her this time. She was truly a sad little lady.
We went in to do all the paperwork with Xiaoting cowering under the desk in front of us. She had silent tears running down her face (so did I at this point). Oh, children shouldn't hade to go through all this. Thank you Lord that she never will again. It was a stressful twenty minutes or so of signing and answering questions through a translator and then attempting to carry her out of there and get a photo. The woman from the orphanage (who apparently cared very much for Xiaoting - she visited her once a week for "rehab" in her foster home) was crying. It was pretty darn stressful. At this point Xiaoting doesn't really want John to hold her - she is attaching to me and this is pretty normal for one parent to be favored at this point. She is quite heavy (at least 40 pounds) and strong. Just picture me with my swollen ankle (yes, still swollen) trying to look like I am a capable parent, holding a back arching, crying child - all the while trying to pose with John in this little room for the official adoption picture (trying to look cute as well...ya know, I don't want to look ugly...). Oh it was pure joy...actually it was as I knew it was almost over at this point.
The orphanage people left, and we were left just waiting in a waiting room - with a play room adjoining. There was another sweet family there (you can see them having their Gotcha moment in the background of some of our Gotcha day photos). We shared stories with them and Xiaoting began to relax. In a very short time she was back to herself. We were able to avoid the next stop - to the notary - as this family went first and took our paperwork with them. Yay!
The rest of the day was just spent playing in the hotel room with me! Sarah, our guide took the others to a Buddhist temple for a tour. I thought our morning had been a bit much already and thought it was best to stay behind to play.
Now on to the photos. I will do my next post on the Buddhist temple visit (mostly just photos of that) - John and the kids really enjoyed it. Missing everyone at home but enjoying our time here as well. Wuhan is a huge city (not as huge as Beijing with population of 60 million) but an even more spread out city (it's actually three cities in one) and has "only" 10 million people!