It's official! This certificate makes our adoption officially legal!
With the director of the orphanage in Baoji, a very nice man. Gracie does smile for us every once in a while and it's wonderful to see it! If she thinks we're funny, wait'll she gets a load of the kids!
Gracie has bonded remarkably well with Jamie just within 24 hours. It is an answer to prayer really. The next two weeks will be an important transition time for Gracie.
Today was a big day. 11/11/13.
Today was the day that Gracie's adoption became legal and official in the eyes of China. Ironically, we were told that today is also "Single's Day" in China -- a celebration of all single people (the "11" representing two single people). So, people were out celebrating today. But we were celebrating for a different reason!
This morning we travelled back to the Civil Affairs office and completed the paperwork. We got fingerprinted, Gracie had her feet "fingerprinted," and we signed a bunch of papers .. and oh, we also paid the remainder of all fees involved. All in cash. It was a strange thing to say how nice it was to finally be "rid" of all that cash we were carrying around. But the payment was made in full, the paperwork was signed, Gracie has now taken on her new name, she is part of a new family, and we have the certificate to prove it! The culmination of over a year's worth of paperwork and prayers. In a sense, it's the completion of a thing. But in another sense, it's only the beginning. How so much like our own salvation this is!
A bit about Gracie...
Even though she is extremely quiet, she seems very intelligent just based on how she is able to copy everything we do. She hasn't said a word yet to us but will just point at things that she wants (food, etc). She also loves people and loves to watch everything around her. She will wave bye at people completely on her own and she loves being outside. She's an amazing eater too. She just eats and eats. She's not picky about anything. Soup? She loves it. How about rice? She eats plenty. Noodles? The more the better. How about American-style breakfast like eggs and French toast? Can't get enough. It's really quite something. Much of what she's experiencing is probably brand new to her, but she's drinking it all in.
Like Baby Martin, Little Gracie also has a heart defect, and is very weak.
The more time we spend with Gracie, the more we are realizing just how serious her heart condition is. We can hardly wait to get her heart checked by our cardiologist back in America. And yes, two days after arriving back in Greenville, we have an appointment ready to go. We brought with us a portable pulse oximeter which measures the oxygen levels in the blood stream and her's is definitely lower than Martin's. But not as bad as we thought it would be given the blueness of her fingers and lips. She's in the 70's. One time it dipped to the 60's. When she cries, the blueness in her lips becomes more pronounced. So keeping her calm is pretty important. When travelling in the van today she had very labored breathing which concerned us. She is also unable to walk on her own. She can stay standing if she is holding on to something. But she must be carried everywhere.
The good and bad of bonding.
Speaking of which, Jamie is the one who has been carrying her everywhere. She has bonded extremely well and extremely fast with Jamie. This was a concern with us when we first met her the other day because she seemed to be so attached to her Nanny, and naturally so. But within 24 hours, she now only wants Jamie! That seemed fast to us. This is a good thing and also a slightly bad thing. Good, because Gracie has taken to her new mother so extremely well.. but bad, because she will only let Jamie hold her -- even to the exclusion of me! I can get her to smile big for me when I play with her. But when I try to carry her, boy, does she let me know her displeasure. It's hard for me to take that kind of rejection, but it's definitely something we will need to keep working on for the next few days and weeks.
There are new challenges and new blessings each and every day. We take it all just one day at a time. "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!"
China is interesting, or rather, is interested in us!
I should note that China is an interesting place. I love being in a completely foreign place that's so different from Western society. However, it can be challenging. Like trying to order food at a restaurant or even trying to find some medicine at the local Wal-Mart. Even these simple things become pretty challenging -- and even hilarious. I mean, you should see the printed menus at some of these local eateries. It's obvious that the correct English spelling is not a high priority to say the least. But it sure makes for some funny words. When we walked into a drugstore to try to find some children's medicine for Gracie (she seemed like she had a slight cold), we pointed to Gracie, we pointed to her runny nose, we made coughing noises, and the lady promptly suggested a box of tissue. Hmm.. how do we say Benadryl in Chinese? Google Translate offered no help, just in case you might ask. People also seem to think we're from Mars or something with all of the stares we've been getting. A completely blond girl carrying a Chinese child alongside a big tall Asian guy who doesn't speak any Chinese but perfect English? Well, I guess that is something you don't see everyday in China. But Jamie thought they crossed the line when she saw them whip out their cellphones to "Instagram" us at the restaurant. Oh well.
I love hearing all the great news about Gracie. I saw Jamie's mom on Tuesday and she said she had said her first word. I know you are both exciting. I can't wait to read about the miracles God is going to continue working in this little girl's life. Praying as you make your trip home next week.