Saturday, May 24, 2008

5 years ago (a day early)

I'm posting this a day early because tomorrow is Elise's b-day party and I don't want this day to pass in the craziness.

On May 25, 2003 (5 years ago!), Elise was placed in my arms in a hot, stuffy hotel hallway in China. Perry and Carson weren't able to travel to China so it was myself and Aunt Carol who first met Elise. Many adoptive families celebrate Gotcha Day, but we decided to celebrate Family Day instead and celebrate on the day the whole family was united at the airport when we returned to the US.

SARS was in full force 5 years ago and our travel plans changed several times before we actually landed in China. It was a tense time to be in China.

Here's an e-mail I sent from China 5 years ago:

We have officially adopted Elise in the People’s Republic of China!!! Yeah!!!

We’ve had a little bit of a rough time. Elise is definitely grieving and doesn’t really like me too much. That’s pretty typical of the little girls in our group. Some don’t want anything to do with one parent.

Elise was crying when we met her at 11:00 am and didn’t stop for about 4 hours. It was a rough day. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast (lunch was served RIGHT after we got the babies and I spent the entire time walkingher). The air conditioning is still off, so we were both pretty drenched insweat by the time she zonked out! She refused any food or bottles and finallywore herself out and took a 15 minute nap. She did a little better once she woke up from that short nap. The hotel has supplied us with a stroller and we discovered she really likes that (she doesn’t have to look at us in it!) (The air was off because of SARS and it was HOT!)

She also HATES the elevator, which is a bummer because we are on the 17th floor!

She did finally take a bottle last night and drained it! Perry and Carson called last night and it was so good to talk to both of them!!! Elise was taking the bottle at the time, so she got to hear her daddy and big brother over the telephone.

She slept from 8pm until 7:30am! She woke up at 3:30 for a bottle, but went right back to sleep. Her sleep was a bit restless at first. When she first went down, I’d walk by her crib and see that she’d be laying there with her eyes open just looking around, then she’d fall back to sleep. She wasn’t too thrilled to wake up the morning and discover that Carol and I were still here! She’s been pretty fussy today, but is taking a nap at the moment, so that should help.

One of the little girls in our group has pneumonia and they had to visit the local hospital twice overnight. The hospital wanted to keep her there, but mom said no. She said it was filthy and they even saw a rat! Grace seems to be doing a bit better today, but keep her and her mom, Carol, in your prayers. (remember, we were in China during SARS so this was especially frightening news!)

The other little girls are all grieving in their own ways, some are fussy (although I think Elise is the fussiest!), some are just withdrawn, others are clinging for dear life to their new mommies.

We completed some more adoption paperwork this morning and finalized the adoption in China. I believe we also started the process for her visa…it’s hard to tell what you are doing because no one speaks English, you are just told to go here or there.

Our facilitator, XiXi, is wonderful!!! She’s an adoptive mom herself and knows so much about the process and what is important to adoptive parents. She made sure we all got a Chinese newspaper today and has been so helpful as the babies adjust to their new parents. Elise loves being around XiXi when she’s talkingChinese!

We are off to do some shopping this afternoon. Should be interesting!!! We should be quite the spectacle! Carol and another member of our group ran to the market yesterday to pick up baby supplies and she said they caused quite a stir. Folks kept coming over to see what they had in their cart!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from those first days.

This is Elise after she'd cried for HOURS and wiped herself out!

And this is one of the first smiles we saw. She loved this little walker (especially when it was turned to face AWAY from me those first few days!)

Elise, you are such an amazing little girl and we are so blessed to be your parents. We love you, Princess!!!!


Tammie said...

Wow! 5 years already!? But then again, is it only 5 years!?

Happy Anniversary!! What a remarkable trip that was!! I remember sitting in the White Swan when we ran into you & Aunt Carol with Elise for the very first time. I was amazed at how sweet & beautiful Elise was & how easily I recognized you.

It was so awesome to finally meet you after all the Wednesday night chats & emails.

Elise has grown into a beautiful little girl!

Super Mommy said...

What a sweet little princess. Happy Family Day!