At 8:30am we had to meet Aggie and other officials for more paperwork. This was the day that we officially "adopt" Siana - take our oath and seal the deal.
Mealtimes continue to be quite an ordeal. We already had our work cut out with 2 little children at the breakfast buffet - taking turns to get their food/drinks. Now we have one more to add to the mix. Everything takes longer now. Aggie was already at the lobby before Allan and I had a chance to eat breakfast. I went to the meeting room with Aggie to start on paperwork while Allan finished up with the girls.
The international adoption lady from Siana's orphanage (who brought her to us yesterday) was there. I finally learned her name - Mrs. Xue. I wasn't sure how Siana would respond to her. When Allan came into the meeting room with all three girls, Mrs. Xue called for Siana right away, but Siana acted like she didn't even know her. She was doing fine playing with her sisters for a while...but when Allan left the room to go get something, she had a meltdown. Mrs. Xue tried to take her from me (to try to calm her down), but Siana just shook her head and kept crying. She eventually calmed down before Allan came back into the room. From that point on, she had mini-fits here and there while we were in the meeting room. I'm wondering if she was anxious that she might be handed off to someone else today.
The "official" who came to finalize the certificate of adoption was not friendly at all. At the end of it though, we were able to take the oath, sign off on the deal, and she officially became "ours." I would have liked to taken a picture, but by end of the meeting, all the girls (and Allan & I) were ready to leave the room. Speaking of pictures, as you can imagine, it's been hard to take good ones of a 2-yr-old. So I apologize that the amount of pictures are decreasing daily (compared to the sightseeing days). My Canon ended up working fine after all (I think it was just the low battery), but she seems to be a little scared of the big black camera.
Once we were out of the meeting room, she went back to her normal self and was much calmer and happier. We came back to our hotel room and played around for a while. She loves to play with her sisters, but she's also perfectly content playing by herself (I imagine she did this a lot at the orphanage). Empty plastic bottles and a trash can kept her entertained for quite a while.
She is also very playful. Every time I try to correct her on something, she immediately wants to turn it into a game and keep doing it.
Like in this video here: http://youtu.be/3pVvldG8MbA
After a quick lunch in the hotel room she took a good 2-hr nap, at exactly the timeframe that Mrs. Xue told us.
During her nap, Aggie and I went shopping to buy clothes for Siana's orphanage, as we will be visiting there tomorrow afternoon. I want to thank our family and friends who made contribution to her orphanage. We were able to buy cute clothes for the children at the orphanage (mainly boys; Aggie told me they need clothes for boys 2-3 years old).
After nap it was time to hit the pool (the girls had been begging). I thought Siana and I might stay in the room, but as soon as the girls started taking off their clothes, Siana immediately joined in. So off to the pool we all went.
Here's a video of the three sisters having fun before heading to the pool: http://youtu.be/kVGjQPkPktY
She was very playful in the water at first, trying to put her head in the water like her sisters. She kept getting water in her mouth and nose, so after a few minutes, she switched to being an observer. The older girls found a Chinese friend to swim around with. This is the hotel's whirlpool, but it's never warm (and it's never turned on), so it's mostly used as a kids' pool.
She is a serious thumb sucker.
She had another mini-meltdown when Allan left the pool to take LB to the bathroom. She seems to have separation anxiety when Daddy leaves her sight (although she calms down with me after a few min). Sigh. 3 out of 3 are Daddy's girls. Go figure.
After the pool, we ventured out to do some more grocery shopping (Siana is going through some diapers - particularly #2 - like she means business). Going out is becoming more and more challenging as well. Both the older girls have figured out that going outside = more walking than we're used to in the U.S. So now LB quickly wants to ride in the stroller and even Peanut is complaining a lot about walking. We look like quite the crowd - Allan with Peanut on his shoulders, pushing LB in the stroller, while I'm walking a few steps behind carrying Siana (not to mention our bags and cameras that we're carrying around). LB keeps having meltdowns here and there (especially when we're out). We're receiving stares for different reasons now than just having "cute biracial children."
LB continues to be a challenge...currently more than the other two children. Please continue to pray for us! It's hard to maintain any type of routine or structure living out of a hotel room as foreigners who are not familiar with the environment. This is a pretty big Sheraton hotel, but it's obvious that we're the only non-Chinese people here. Allan keeps saying how ready he is to get home and get settled. I hear that Guangzhou is usually a more pleasant experience for adoptive families (bigger hotel room, more familiar restaurants, tourist-friendly, etc.), so we just need to stick it out for a couple of more days (we fly to Guangzhou on Friday night).
All in all, we are very thankful. We know that things could be much worse. Everyone is healthy - and happy for the most part. Siana Lu is blending in very nicely with our family. Her sisters can sure make her laugh - especially Peanut. It's so obvious to me why God made her the oldest sibling. She has a natural caring heart for those she's meant to look after. As most of you know, raising her has been no ordinary task, but it's been so rewarding to see the fruit of our labor. She's a natural leader and she's really starting to use that gift in a good way. She still has her moments (like in this picture below - Allan wanted to take a picture to compare the size of the car to her size), but there have been so many moments where she has shown her maturity and made us proud.
Here are a few more pics of our surroundings. Here's a cab(?) driver, taking a break. All the store signs are written both in Chinese and in Mongolian.
We had room service for dinner tonight, which was much more of a pleasant experience than dining out. Everyone had plenty to eat. It took all three girls a bit longer (maybe half hour) to settle down and fall asleep tonight, but now I can hear their peaceful breathing sounds next to me.
Every day continues to be an adventure. I know that our bond is growing stronger by the day. Tomorrow is the visit to the orphanage. It's a 2.5 hr drive each way (although they told us the drive back will be shorter). Again, your prayers are much appreciated.
God is Gracious,