It's been quite an amazing day so far! We went to the bank to exchange money and literally walked behind it to go the Civil Affairs office.
We got off the elevator and walked into a room where three people and a baby stood waiting for us. It happened so fast we were beside ourselves. This was our first glimpse.
A lady took our passports and Zoe's information to confirm everything. Then she promptly said, "You can hold her now" and left the room. That's the orphanage director holding her above. She put her down on the floor where she stood but holding the director's hand. She can walk while holding someone's hand but is still a little wobbly. She checked me out for a few minutes, took my hand when I reached out then promptly tried to walk the director out of the room and away from us weird looking people! She knew something was up and wanted nothing to do with us. So I pretty much had to pick her up while she was upset, but she calmed down quickly. She took a few looks at me directly in my eyes, then reached for Eriek trying to get away from me. She was content with Eriek for a few minutes and even shook a rattle a bit. Then decided she wanted nothing to do with us and began crying and throwing her head back. There were some intense moments and she seem to realize the magnitude of the situation. We could distract her for a couple minutes here and there with looking at pictures on the wall or out the window, then one look at us and it started again.
This was tough, but we expected it. Honestly her cries sound so tiny compared to Arella who could belt a high note about a minute after birth. The director had brought all the things we had sent to Zoe in care packages. One of those things was a baby photo album with our pictures in it. When we gave that to Zoe she grabbed a hold for dear life- something she knew, something from home, yet it was pictures of us. With album in hand I began to sway her side to side and she calmed down and the fell asleep in my arms. I, of course, started leaking a few tears of joy.
While we were calming her and she fell asleep, two other families came into the room and were waiting on their children. One couple had a little boy 20 months old. The other family had a 3 or 4 year old girl. The room soon filled with soft crying but Zoe kept sleeping. We got to talk to the director and vice director of the orphanage for a bit and thanked them profusely for the obvious great care that had taken of our little girl. Here we are all together.
She came from a very small orphanage- only ten children. Zoe shared a room with just one other little girl who had a family waiting for her as well. They had one nanny for the two of them. Friends, prayers so answered! It is so obvious she has been loved and given some attention! The orphanage director even cried a bit as we were wrapping things up. This is not normal. This is rare. This is God's hand at work through all of our collective prayers. How can I ever thank you all enough for joining me in petitioning for Zoe? Praise be to God that He has been and is using sweet little Zoe to bring us together, united in His name and for His glory!
She woke up when we got into the car. She looked at us and didn't freak out at all. She held tightly to her photo album and just kept checking us out and looking out the window. By the way, her favorite picture in that album? Her sister.
She still pushes away if we get our faces too close to her, but she seems to like when we kiss her head and her hands. She even started holding our hands.
Walmart was a great bonding experience! She loved pointing her photo album at the tvs and grunting. She even saw herself on tv!
At checkout we heard her voice for the first time as she said, "Ba Ba" which is Dada. Melt. My. Heart. They told us she was scared of strangers and usually stays quiet around them until she feels comfortable. I guess she's already getting comfortable.
Back at the hotel we took the first two layers of clothing off. They like to bundle their kids up like the kid from Christmas Story here. Zoe explored a little, shuffling along the floor holding my hand. She likes the mirror and Cheerios. She also likes to play a game where we blink really big and long back and forth at each other.
Amy, our guide, helped us figure out her bottle mixture, and I guess we got it right because she loved it! She seems to really enjoy being cuddled by Mommy while drinking it.
We played a bit with Daddy, too. I think she's smitten with him.
She was very happy to lay down for a nap after Skyping with Mimi and Pops. We heard her voice again as she talked to herself a bit in the crib, saying, "Ba Ba" again and a few other babbles. So precious to our ears. Then she got upset. She did not want to be held, but rubbing her back and whispering that we were there for her calmed her down and she fell asleep. It's been just about two hours and I just heard her sweet voice again! She is holding and rubbing her little lamb blanket.
My heart is so full. Thank you Lord for the blessing that little Zoe is, and allowing us to finally hold her in our arms.