Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Yet again, Blogger is not letting me move my pictures, so they are all here at the top. I know that's what you all want to see anyway! Details are below about our day!!

Finally Together!

Initial Tears....

A little trust!

Bath Time!

Our Beautiful Girl!

What an amazing, amazing day. I can hardly sort through all of my thoughts about the events that have all just occurred. We are so an instant, our lives have been completely changed.

Our day started very early in Beijing. I had a hard time sleeping anyway, so I was up at 4am. We had to meet our group in the hotel lobby at 5:30 anyway, so it wasn't a huge deal to be up then. We even Skyped with the kids a bit before leaving. The hotel prepared breakfast for our group to eat on the way to the interesting combination of a chicken and cheese sandwich (with the crust cut off), a banana, a hard boiled egg, salad, and cookies. Anyway, we arrived at the Beijing airport which is absolutely massive. Our guide got us through the check in process, and fortunately we weren't charged for the weight of our bags. In-China flights have a luggage restriction of 44 pounds...ours were way over that, but we got through! We laughed that security was kind of a joke compared to the US....we didn't have to take our shoes off or anything. We did get a rather personal "wanding" but it was no big deal.

It was interesting boarding the plane and being the only non-Asians (along with another couple traveling with us and one random Jewish guy). Unlike Beijing, which is an International City, Nanchang is real China! We had a little over a 2 hour flight to Rylie's city, the capital of the province. Our guide, Jenny, who is the most adorable thing I have ever seen, picked us up and took us about 40 minutes to our hotel, within the city. The drive was started out very rural, with lush green fields, and small shacks scattered throughout the countryside, and quickly changed into the landscape of another big city. Jiangxi province has 44 million people, 4 million of which are in Nanchang, yet they just consider it a "medium" sized city. Amazing. This province is quite agriculture-based, and is the porcelain capital of China.

There is a lot of construction going on everywhere. In fact, there are kind of 2 different city sections...old Nanchang, and new Nanchang. They are separated by a large river with China's largest ferris wheel on the edge of one side (which is so tall it takes 28 minutes to make one loop, and there is no way in you-know-what I would ever get on it!!!). The new section is not very populated yet, we were told. We drove by Rylie's orphanage on the way to the hotel, which was a strange feeling, to think that our daughter was that close!

We experienced traffic unlike anything I have ever seen....there are cars, people and bikes everywhere! Literally, people and bikes and scooters just go wherever they want, weaving in front of each other with crazy agility. I can't believe at least 10 people didn't get hit as I watched. They use their horns profusely, but no one gets's just what they do. And I think I saw one helmet the entire time. So vastly different from the States, but it works!

Our hotel is ok....smoky, but they have taken care of everything we have needed. It is a 5 star hotel (which I would venture to say would not be rated as such in the US). Looking out our window however, I am struck at how lucky we are and by how much we have in comparison to people here.

We originally thought we would be heading to the Civil Affairs office to meet our kids. We found out that they would instead, be brought to the hotel, which was great to save us another trip. The 11th floor of our hotel has a cute play-area which was a perfect meeting spot.

After getting ourselves settled for a few anxious hours, we headed upstairs to the play area. Not knowing if Rylie was already there, we arrived to find our traveling companions and Jenny. I was glad she wasn't there yet....we had time to get our stuff together and prepare cameras!

After about 5 minutes of waiting, Jenny's cell phone rang. "One of the babies is here!" she said. It ended up being the other couple's daughter, a beautiful little 10 month old girl, Amelia. She didn't make a peep, and soon fell asleep in her mother's arms. It was awesome to watch the creation of a family right in front of us. They are from Maryland, and were the only family in our group not adopting a child with a medical need. They have waited 4 1/2 years for this, but adopted a little girl domestically about 2 years ago while they were waiting.

We sat for about 10 minutes more when Jenny's phone rang again. The butterflies rushed back immediately, as I knew what this call meant....Rylie was here. Whereas in the days and weeks leading up to this event, whenever I thought of this moment, I always felt like I was either going to pass out or throw up, I was a little nervous now, but mostly excited.

We heard some commotion and voices and within moments, 2 women rounded the corner carrying Rylie. She was wearing a little white dress which was on backwards, yellow thin shorts with some type of cartoon character on it, and blue jelly sandals with a little yellow animal of some sort on it. In one hand, she held some type of half-knawed-on meat stick which reminded me of dog treats we sometimes buy for Bailey and she had a few tears rolling down her face. We greeted the ladies, who were dressed so nicely, I couldn't help but feel that I should have changed clothes before this interaction (but figured we would be playing on the floor some). Anyway, Rylie looked terrified and confused (which we were prepared for) which got worse the minute she was placed in my arms. The look of terror went into full fledged screams and tears. It broke my heart, but it was ok. I couldn't imagine what she was experiencing, and we were ok to give her all the time she needed. She cried for about 5 minutes or so, and then for the next 30-45 minutes, whimpered and tried to catch her breath with big intermittent gasps. We sat on the floor and just held her....eventually offering her some Gerber Puffs, which she gradually started even taking from our hands. Over the next hour, we tried to interact some, with a ball, some stacking cups, and rocking toys in the playroom. Within the hour, she had settled down, was walking around with us, and even coming to be picked up. She let loose again when, after Rush had been doing some paperwork and it was my turn to go sign, I handed her to him. She calmed quickly though. This is one brave girl. She never arched or kicked, never tried to get away....just cried.

We talked a lot to one of the ladies from the orphanage, who was very sweet. They gave us a small red box containing a jade pendant for Rylie...a gift of thanks for adopting her. Never ever could we give back enough in return to them. They also gave us a bag of snacks she likes. As we asked questions about her likes, dislikes, and routine, our guide translated and we learned a lot! Her foster family was sponsored by an organization called Half the Sky. They actually lived at the orphanage and she had 6 foster sisters! She was with them for over a year and right up until the time she was brought to us, which I was happy about because we had read that usually they are transitioned back to the orphanage from foster care 2 weeks before adoption and I was glad she was spared from yet another transition. The woman kept remarking about how smart, curious and inquisitive she is, which I think is true considering this girl doesn't miss a thing. She watches everything and studies you with her big brown eyes. They said she loves other kids (yeah for Jonah and Reagan!) and often imitates adults. We were told a lot of other details, all of which sounded good. She is allergic to a medication, but they didn't know what. We are supposed to find that out today. They gave us their email address at the orphanage and asked us to email updates and pictures. We feel like Rylie was definitely loved. I was touched when one of the ladies said good bye to could tell she cared about this little girl, and it just made me so happy to feel like she has been in good hands all this time.

We also learned how to pronounce her name, Jia Hui, which we will used interspersed with Rylie for now. Jia means "perfect" and Hui means "smart" especially for girls, is what Jenny told us. Both seem appropriate.

We were given a copy of the note she was found with, which basically gives her birthdate. We also received her "finding ad" from the newspaper.....basically a message saying an abandoned baby was found...a means for the birth parents to make one last attempt to change their mind. It has her picture at age 2 months and says she was found outside of a hospital/medical university near the center of the city. I am hopeful we will be able to visit it. The orphanage, however, is off limits.

After signing and thumbprinting lots of papers, we had 24 hour custody of her.

We headed back to our room, and quickly saw signs of who this little girl truly is. While overall she was still cautious and reserved, she had moments of spunk that make me think that her and Reagan are going to be quite the pair....I think I am in trouble! She played with a big beach ball and a few other toys, occasionally giving some smiles and even a few full belly laughs. I gave her a doll which she proceeded to throw across the room (I have 2 girls and neither wants dolls...). Bath time rolled around and she didn't fuss one bit. Not knowing if she had ever been placed in water, it was amazing! After a slathering of lotion (her skin is horrific) we got pj's on and settled in for the night.

We had some dinner in the room, Skyped with my mom and the kids, Rush's sister Sharon, and my sister, Kristen and her son Anderson, who is the same age as Rylie, and all crashed at about 8pm. She went to sleep without any issues.

After all this child has been through, after being placed with complete strangers who look and sound unlike anyone she's ever been around, I am inspired by this little girl's tenacity and spirit. What a day.....we are in for a treat as we peel back the layers and learn who Rylie really is. (Monday) we will head to the civil affairs office, sign a lot of papers, hand over a lot of money, and legally, Rylie Layne Jiahui Middleton becomes our daughter!


  1. Beautiful story... I'm beyond bummed that I haven't gotten to "meet" her.

  2. She is just beautiful. Now the adventure truly begins!

  3. I can't believe you're up in the middle of the night doing this! But then, I can, because I can't imagine how you could sleep after a day like that! Thank you for sharing all the details. We prayed for you guys at our church today. So glad you got to spend some time with people who have been with Riley for a long time. Kind of an extra special gift there.

    The baby doll thing cracks me up. Brenna does really do dolls either - I'm still waiting to see about Carrie. So far - not so much.

  4. I have tears running down my cheeks as I read this - I can jsut picture you all now and I can't express how I feel knowing what you are all experiencing - didn't the anxiety of the wait just melt away the moment you held Riley in your arms :). Love you my friend enjoy every single moment of these first days with your girl. Loved seeing the picture of her holding Rush's hand I know he must have loved that moment. Can't wait to see more.

  5. Wow, we are so excited to see and hear how it is going as you have met Rylie! Thanks for keeping us updated on how things are going. We will pray as Rylie joins your family...what an amazing adventure you guys are on! Psalm 139:14-16.

  6. I just loved reading the story of Gotcha Day! Thanks so much for the detail. She is precious and you all are so blessed. Wish I could be there with you! :)