I have just tucked into bed one of the most amazing little girls in the world.
I had no idea what to expect when we first met Y. How would she react? Was she prepared? Did she even know about us? Would she be afraid? There is nothing quite like waiting to meet your brand-new, instant child.
We were waiting in the lobby because our guide had been told she was on her way. She walked in with one of her teachers from her orphanage and when she sees us, her face lights up with an enormous smile and she says, "Ma Ma... Ba Ba!" and shakes our hands. P. summed it up best when I heard her say, "She is adorable."
Waiting inside the photography studio, P. became the instant hit, mainly because of her iPod. They played games together, they took pictures together, and did whatever else you do on small electronics together. P. was wonderful.
Y. and jie jie (Mandarin for older sister)
On the way back to the civil affairs office, Y. became a little more subdued and asked where her teacher was. Once inside the office for the beginning of much paperwork, reality hit and Y. completely fell apart. It was grieving on a massive scale and it was heart wrenching. It is really hard to not feel as though you're the bad guy in a moment such as that. I am incredibly grateful for Y.'s teacher and for the provincial adoption official. They were marvelous with her. At one point, the official let Y. sit at her desk while her teacher helped her chat with her friends back at the orphanage on her phone. They were kind and caring and compassionate... and they let her grieve. It was so obvious how much she had been loved and cared for, and though my heart was grieving with her, I was also rejoicing at this rare and precious gift.
At last, they were able to help Y. calm down, though it was the promise of a hamburger which did it. I think the statement went along the lines of, "And I want to go to KFC because I've never been and have a hamburger." (Guess what we had for dinner. I'm not sure it lived up to expectations.) At the end, we were able to get this picture.
We then headed to the notary office (another step along the endless paper signing trail), and the kind teacher went with us to help ease the transition. That was good because at this point in time, Y. didn't really want anything to do with me or J. or even P. While we were signing papers, Y.'s teacher said a quiet good-bye and slipped away. I don't have any idea how she managed it, but from that time on, we have had increasing numbers of smiles, though at first, only P. was allowed to hold her hand or help her.
By this time, it was lunch time and our guide took us for some local Uygher food. The Uyghers are the Muslim minority (and original inhabitants) of the province. And they have some pretty amazing food. We had kebabs and pilaf and a special hand-pulled noodle dish.
The area around where we ate was fascinating. Lots of food vendors and people selling naan which they were baking in large ovens. Here is one picture, but you'll have to wait for tomorrow to see anymore because I got tired of waiting for the internet to work.
The rest of the day was spent doing more paperwork. We are expediting Y.'s adoption, so we two days' worth of paper signing, in one long one. All of us were pretty tired by the time we got back to the hotel.
A little about Y. She truly has the most amazing smile which lights up her entire face. She does walk on her own, though it is slow and her legs are not quite sturdy underneath her and she fell a couple of times. I am hopeful that once we get her home, that some leg braces and AFO's will do wonders. She is very determined, though, and wants to do things for herself. There is also a lot of brain inside that cute little head. She reads Mandarin and is aware of everything. Plus, by this evening, I had already caught her using three English words... certainly with no prompting by me. She was also very well prepared for this huge transition. She came wearing the shirt we had sent and also had the book and her doll which were in the package. When we were looking at some pictures on my computer this evening, I showed her a picture of G. and L. She immediately went to get the book and then showed me the pictures of the girls I had put in it.
I'll write more about Urumqi tomorrow. Our plan is, since we have the day off, to head to the Grand Bazzar with the help of our guide. But, to those who are dying to know, the sun doesn't come up until at least 9:30 and sets around 7:00.