Yesterday was the big day. Known in adoption circles as "Gotcha Day", because in the future the day will be celebrated with the child as the day that the family got them. Informally known as 'gotcha' because it is the day you realize how much work the new baby can be.
The whole process of picking up the children took very little time, maybe a hour and fifteen minutes from leaving the hotel to arriving back in our rooms. We left at 9 in the morning. Cheyenne was very quiet and a little sluggish. I asked her if she was sad, and she nodded that she was. She is a bright girl and we had prepared her enough to know what was coming. It was only a 10 minute ride to the Civil Affairs office, and all of the families were startled at how quickly we got there. We had never traveled anywhere on a bus in China that took less than an hour and the quickness jumpstarted our anxiety. As we pulled up, we saw a group of new parents leaving with their new babies. All of the new babies were dressed in tiger outfits. They had orange footed sleepers with tiger stripes and a tiger mask strapped to their backs. I'm guessing they were kids from the "cool" orphanage. In the Civil Affairs office, we sat in a room with a large round table and tried to look official with all of our cameras and camcorders. It was only a few minutes before we heard crying babies in the outer lobby and we knew it was time.
Now, from my 'vast experience' in picking up orphanage babies, there are two distinct types. The first type are "happy" babies. They are wide-eyed and interested in the proceedings, but not really too upset about being adopted. They will interact with the new parents almost immediately, they will drink a bottle as fast as they can and then they will fall asleep for a long nap. The second type of babies I will call "cryers". They have obviously bonded with their caretakers and are terrified at being taken away by these "white devils". They won't eat and won't sleep, because they are very upset and distraught. While Cheyenne was the first type, Kaya is definitely the second type.
When they brought Kaya into the room she was red-eyed and sweaty, but wasn't in a full-blown scream yet. Cheyenne was sitting in one of the chairs staring down at the table. She knew. They called our name, and we handed the Civil Affairs officers our passports. She looked us up and down and looked at our passports, and I guess we checked out, because she handed us our baby. At this point Kaya realized what was happening. She was a little upset before, but now she was really mad. Lisa took her in her arms and was soothing, gentle and kind, but Kaya would have none of it. The two of them sat in the chair next to Cheyenne, and Lisa introduced Cheyenne to her new sister. I could tell Cheyenne was trying to be good and hold it together, but she couldn't do it. She launched into a full-blown cry, which propelled Kaya to cry even louder.
I should mention that the rest of our group had also received their babies. Most were very happy babies, but Jeff and Jana were given the biggest cryer in the bunch. Their twins could not have been more different. One was happy and bright-eyed, while the other was crying so hard that her entire head of hair was soaked with sweat. I don't know if Lisa and I could handle getting two children at the same time. I know we couldn't handle two cryers at the same time. Most of the babies had very fine straight hair that stood up on their heads like they were full of static electricity. Kaya has a full head of thick wavy hair. Like a very small Chinese Beatle.
By the time we got back to the hotel, Cheyenne had 'made up' with Kaya and was telling people in the hall about her baby sister. Kaya was still crying. Sometimes it was a whimper, and sometimes a red-faced wail, but she was always crying. She wouldn't take a bottle, and we made 7 different bottles with different formulas, temperature and nipples. Luckily we had headphones for the DVD player, so Cheyenne could hear Cinderella while her sister cried. After a couple hours, I found that if I bounced Kaya as I walked, she would quiet down. But I had to really bounce her. Like a full 12" dip with every step. Her head was bouncing off my shoulder. I couldn't keep that kind of bouncing up for very long, my quads are still sore from hauling Cheyenne up and down the steps of the Great Wall of China. It took me longer than it should have to realize that I could just walk normally and bounce her with only my arms. But I couldn't keep that up for long. When I started easing up on the bouncing, she would launch into another wail. So Lisa and I started trading off on the bouncing.
I picked up some "take away" Chinese food from downstairs and on a whim ordered a dish of "Taro & Chicken in Pumpkin". It turn out to be pureed taro and chicken served inside a small pumpkin, a thick gray soup that turned out to be very tasty. Lisa fed some to Kaya and she seemed to like it also. So, we started spoon feeding Kaya taro soup, rice porridge and steamed egg. She eats pretty well as she is being spoon-fed, and while she is eating she is not crying. Bonus for everyone.
Although Kaya did take a nap for about 20 minutes, the rest of the day was spent walking and bouncing and crying. At about 7pm, we got her to go to sleep. Cheyenne had already fallen asleep with her headphones on while watching Cinderella. Everybody woke up at 4am this morning.