Gotcha Day for Rachel

Hey everyone, Allison is in bed exhausted and happy getting some well deserved rest.    So i'm writing tonight's update.   In short, I our day was amazing.  Thank you so much for your prayers... so many details went well, and we are overwhelmed with how Rachel has adapted to us already.  I am also exhausted, so I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but I want to get this out there while its fresh.  

We started the day with an orientation meeting at 10 am, then we had 3 hours to wait before leaving for the civil affairs office where the exchange took place.   We were well prepared thanks to Allison and Abigail, so we spent the time listening to some great worship music, realizing things were about to get REAL, and praying together.

Here we are before we left:

 Wearing our t-shirts that say Mommy, Daddy, and Big sister in Chinese.

Wearing our t-shirts that say Mommy, Daddy, and Big sister in Chinese.

There were 6 other families there with us that day, and once we all arrived things happened very quickly.  Two kids were already in the room when we got there, and we helped our friends with pictures and movies as they were introduced to their kids.  Then Rachel arrived later with two other kids from her orphanage.   We were second in line and could see her across the room.  

This is our first sight of her:

 Rachel with her nanny, our first sight of her in person.

Rachel with her nanny, our first sight of her in person.

Abigail was so excited she started crying when we told her she had to wait, which almost kicked off a chain reaction, but Allison and I were able to hold it together.  I was busy distributing cameras for video's and still shots as they walked across the room.  Of course there were tears initially... this is good, because it shows she was well cared for.  She definitely loved her nanny, their good relationship was clear today.  We were really happy to see that.

 Just after hand-off

Just after hand-off

So, Allison and I are doing all we can to console her and Abigail has the GENIUS idea to run and get the little light up bunny we brought for her....calms her instantly.  Abby saved the day!  

Rachel will fit in well in our house, she is memorized by technology!  :-)

 Abby saves the day with the light up bunny toy!

Abby saves the day with the light up bunny toy!

After that we actually had some great moments with her calmly adjusting to us on the side of the room.  She was showing her intelligence soaking in the room and not missing a thing.   Pointing and commenting on things, and interacting with Abigail who was DYING to get to know her. She did a great job hanging back and focused on her constantly.  We had a brief cry when her nanny came over to tell us some things and say a goodbye... she said something in Chinese like "no no be tough" and she got quiet again.  Her nanny cried when she walked away, it was so nice to see how much she cared for Rachel.

be tough Rachel from nanny

We had anther 10 minutes of play time with Rachel and things were going well.  After that we were able to ask her nannies some more questions.  They came over and talked with us again.  She held Rachel while she told us the answers we were looking for. 

 So great to see them so happy together for a final goodbye

So great to see them so happy together for a final goodbye

The question/answer session ended on a happy note with everyone smiling.  The hand-off was pretty good after that.  Very little, if any, crying and she seemed to know it was ok to be with us.

Her Nanny did a great job and was clearly trusted by Rachel.  We had a nice family photo:

 Rachel loves that light up bunny!

Rachel loves that light up bunny!

Shortly after that, Allison and Abigail had her cracking up with some dancing my little ponies!

 Our first laughs together

Our first laughs together

And on our way out, Allison got her first real hug:

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The bus ride home was amazingly quiet considering there were 6 new kids on it.  They all loved the ride and outside stimulation.  Rachel sat back and relaxed on Allison for the whole ride. What a blessing and great feeling!

Back at our room Allison and Abigail played with her and she was fully clung to Allison.  We played games and let her run around a bit.  Each time she went a bit further, but would sprint back to Allison in her new squeaky shoes.  She wouldn't hug me or anything yet, but I could get her to laugh if I stuck out my tongue with a Pllllllbbbbbbb. She has spunk, and I believe her Nanny is right when she says she is strong willed... she'll have to be to live with Trevin... he's in for it!  

I finished some paperwork downstairs in the hotel and when I came back up she was eating some cheerios.  I hadn't held her yet so I grabbed a few and tried to get her to sit on my lap...well after one plate standing in front of me she decided I'm safe enough to sit on.  What a feeling!

 I'm not afraid to bribe her with food for a little daddy time!

I'm not afraid to bribe her with food for a little daddy time!

Abigail picked up on my trick and it worked for her too!

 SOOO happy to have her little sister on her lap!

SOOO happy to have her little sister on her lap!

She even let me feed her dinner.  We had some fun with the spoon and she acted like a bird with her mouth open with me... funny stuff.   And of course, textbook, she would not stop eating until ALL the food was GONE.  We had to be strategic in emptying the bowl into another when she wasn't really looking so she didn't over stuff.  

 First dinner with daddy.

First dinner with daddy.

We had a fun time skyping with the boys so they could meet her tonight as well.   And by 9pm she was in her crib with minimal fussing.  Abigail fussed WAYYY more when she was little.  

During the bottle feeding I was able to get some funny looks, she's a rascal!

 Cute reaction to me while she's eating

Cute reaction to me while she's eating

Its hard to explain the roller coaster we rode today... but I can say in many ways for me, a gotcha day is YEARS of fun/challenges/experiences with your kids condensed into 1 hyper-day.  The love and bond we feel like we already share is off the charts!  Time to get some rest so we can enjoy more of these moments tomorrow.  Thank you all for your prayers and support!