Yesterday was the best day and the worst day of our lives all rolled into one. We took a van to the Civil Affairs Office with one other family at around 2:30pm. They told us ahead of time that there would be a total of 13 families at the office all receiving their children at the same time. Our guide Lee told us that when we arrived, we wouldn't get to see the children right away. The plan was to complete paperwork first and then sit in the waiting room and they would call us one by one to meet the children. Well, let's just say it went nothing like that. We got off the elevator and all the other families were already there and had gotten their children. And standing there in the middle of the room was Livvie looking right at us with two of her nannies. They pointed to us and said something to her and she waved. Of course we went right over by her (forget the paperwork!) and I knelt down to say hello. At first she was fine, super shy, but not scared. The nannies were talking to her and she was just kinda looking at us. Then one of the nannies picked her up and gave her to me to hold and that's when everything changed. She immediately started crying and screaming and trying to get away from us. Lee told us that this would probably happen since she is older and that the best thing to do is to get her away from the nannies so she could start bonding with us. So we walked with her down a quiet hallway to try to calm her down. She screamed for more than an hour, calling out for her nannies.
I didn't go into this process naive, I knew to expect this, but it was a million times harder than I expected. Her grief and fear was so strong there were actually times during that first hour I thought about giving her back and just walking away.
After the first hour, Lee asked me to come and fill out paperwork and talk to the nannies to get info about Livvie's routines, eating habits, etc. Cale and Lucky stayed with her out of site so she wouldn't see the nannies again. I could still here her screaming the entire time I was talking to the nannies and I could tell they were upset to. I think they wanted to go and comfort her, but Lee told them no. After we were done talking, Lee told them they needed to leave and I could tell they were very sad they weren't going to get to say goodbye. I asked Lee if they wanted to go and say goodbye and she said she told them they couldn't because it would only make things worse. I felt terrible.
So the nannies left and Cale brought Livvie back into the waiting room and we let her walk around. We could tell she was searching for the nannies (still crying), but then it was almost like she realized they were gone and she started to quiet down. We filled out paperwork for another hour and she slowly started to calm down. During the last 15 minutes, Cale gave her to me while he was signing some papers and I got out the container of mini M&M's....I showed her one and ate it to show her it was food. She stretched out her hand and took one and ate it. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but it was! It was the first time in over two hours that she even made eye contact with either of us. So we ate some more M&M's and I started showing her the other treats we brought (My Little Pony, a stuffed monkey, a light up keychain). She was interested in looking at everything and really latched on the the keychain (thanks Mom!). She clicked the light on and off on it about a 100 times. Still no smile, but at least she wasn't crying. Then the moment that I will never forget, Lucky showed her his ipod and she looked at it and stretched her hand out. He gave it to her and she started pressing buttons on it and then looked up at me and smiled. It was the tinyest of smiles, but it was one of the happiest moments of my life. At that moment, I knew there was hope.
Then, the cutest moment of the day. I tried to take the ipod away from her (since she was waving it around and I was scared she was going to break it), the little turd hid it behind her back and then gave us the most devilish little grin and this little coy shake of her head. Oh Boy - we are in TROUBLE!!!!! :)
I will post more later about our first night together. We miss everyone and can't wait to get home!
Oh, one more thing, she just got over the chicken pox last week, so that's why she has the scabs on her face in the pictures.