Forever Home for the Holidays
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Each year our Orphan Hosting team has the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing and kindhearted families in the world, as they work together to bring children to America with the hope that they will find their Forever Families. Among these families from our 2015-16 Holiday Hosting program was a couple who opened up their home and shared their family for four weeks with a darling little girl. During their time hosting the two fell completely in love and immediately began the process to bring her home. Now, less than one year later, they’re in China finalizing their adoption and welcoming their daughter into their family forever. Here are a few posts that they shared from their final days in China as they finalized their adoption and prepared to travel back to America.
Forever Family Day - 9.5.2016
Today we were reunited with our daughter at the Civil Affairs Office. Our guide, Kelly, helped us with some paperwork and we waited with several other families. Our girl walked out wearing a beautiful white dress, pink headband, and pink sparkly shoes. She was immediately happy and smiling and called us mama and baba. We spent time looking at old pictures and videos on my phone. She keeps asking for Kinsley (a friend she made while being hosted in America) and wants to call her. We had to tell her she was asleep. She keeps says, “sshh Kinsley sleeping.” In the van on the way back to the hotel, she asked for jewelry and painted nails. This girl didn’t skip a beat and we picked up right where we left 8 months ago. Back at the hotel, she found her new shoes lined up against the way and immediately had to change. She had some ramen noodles. It seemed like she was starving and had two helpings. I delayed showing her her drawer full of clothes knowing that would instigate a wardrobe change. She pointed to the drawer all on her own and wanted to change. She pulled out several outfits but settled on a jean jumper. She also was focused on when we would be painting her toenails and fingernails so we accomplished that. The only tears were when we were running down the hallway to the elevator and she slipped and fell. The tears were pretty short-lived. We ran up to the lounge so we could grab something to eat for dinner and also some snacks. Our evening was spent playing Candy Land, taking a bath, and reading books. A very successful forever family day!
China Adoption Finalization – 9.6.2016
So today we finalized our adoption as far as China is concerned. Today Kelly’s sister, Lilly, was our guide. She was very engaged with our daughter. Lilly asked her lots of questions and she answered. This is by far the most we have heard her speak. The great part is Lilly was able to translate for us during our van ride to the Civil Affairs Office. She told Lilly that she wants to be adopted and live in America. Sounds good to us kiddo. We met with two different female officials who asked us questions and completed our paperwork. We are approved and they are working to issue our final certificate.
After returning to the hotel, we let our daughter explore the garden of the hotel, which includes the waterfalls and coy fish ponds. She also walked by the pool and spent a lot of time on the playground. She loved going down the slide, especially if one of us startled her on the way down. We walked to an Italian restaurant for lunch. She ate some beef spaghetti like a champ. It was so hot and humid today that we were all drenched in a short period of time. The pool was calling us but we agreed that nap time was probably more important. Unfortunately, it was raining with thunderstorms whenever she woke up so we had to delay it. We played in our room and the beach ball we brought along was a huge hit. The rain cleared so we were able to “go swimming” in the kiddie pool.
We had dinner in the lounge here at our hotel and we have found that our girl has a deep love for prawns. We have no idea if this is something she had at her orphanage, but we doubt it. This was the one thing she picked out as we walked through the spread. So I spent most of my dinner, cleaning, peeling, de-heading, and deveining shrimp. She is not a fan of cocktail sauce after trying it and telling us it was hot. Last night, she had two shrimp. Tonight she devoured four large shrimp. We had a low key evening in the room and did some coloring. I see significant improvement in staying in the lines. We are also really impressed by her speech and vocabulary.
US Adoption Finalization - 9.12.2016
Today we had our U.S. Consulate appointment to finalize her adoption. We were there with many other families who have become friends. Unfortunately, our bag and phones had to stay at the security checkpoint so we were not able to take any photos inside. All of our paperwork is finally finished and we will receive her VISA tomorrow. As soon as she lands on U.S. soil, she will be a U.S. citizen.
Afterwards, our guide, Kelly, took us and another family to Yuntai Garden. The park was really beautiful and full of bright, vibrant colors. This was our first day here that it has not rained which was nice but it was extremely hot and humid. After a short stroll around the park, we were ready to be done with sightseeing. We decided to spend some time in the pool. Our girl likes to "swim," put her head under water, and today she learned how to blow bubbles.
We headed to dinner with our favorite hotel buddies. We went to an Italian buffet and again, our girl ate really well (3 plates full). The kids had fun playing together and I'm sure are going to miss each other when it is time to part ways. Speaking of which, we begin our trek home tomorrow. It has been an enjoyable trip and great bonding time, but we are beyond ready to be home. Our daughter wants to ride the airplane home everyday although she is not too eager to see Bessie, our dog!
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