Well, we got her! Gotcha Day has been a day we have dreamed about for so long, it seems surreal that it is actually here. On Monday morning at 10:00am, we walked into the Civil Affairs Office of Taiyuan. Norah was already there with several Holt staff members. Our gotcha moment caught us by surprise because we got her instantly. I knelt down trying not to startle her and to control a rush of emotions. Chris manned the camera.
She was hesitant at first, but with prompting from the Holt staff, she came over to me. Bashfully, she looked up and said, “Mama?” We are lucky the water works didn’t start then and there.
She loves her little baby doll and started to kiss it right away on the head. She has had a great role model of a loving family and we will forever be grateful for that.
We walked upstairs to the Holt offices. I didn't realize this until later, but the bows on her dress the foster mother bought her matched the exact turquoise and coral in my shirt.
Here we are in the Taiyuan Holt offices getting ready to sign the first set of paperwork. You may not be able to see the tears glistening in my eyes, but I had started to cry a bit. All of the sudden, Norah got tears in her eyes too. One of the Holt officials chided me a bit to get a hold of myself because Norah was reacting to my tears. The people in China really are more composed than Americans, so I quickly pulled myself together! It is amazing for me to think that Norah is already so aware of her surroundings.
Our first official family photo for completion of the paperwork.
Here Norah and I are goofing off while we wait for our official family photograph to be processed. Our Holt escort, Lisa, looks on in the background. We have only known Lisa for twenty-four hours and can say she is a godsend.
This little girl definitely knows how to capture peoples' attention! Here she is toasting Lisa over lunch. Lisa told us that people were commenting on how pretty she was everywhere we went. She walks with a little swagger and will sometimes nod her head from side to side. Norah is also very independent. She poured her own drink and served herself lunch!
After lunch, the three of us went back to the hotel. Things had been going so well, I think we were lulled into a false sense of security. Up until then, Norah had been cuddling with me, kissing me, blowing my kisses, playing peek-a-boo and was definitely headed down the path to be a mama's girl. However, when I tried to lay her down for a nap, she started screaming for her mama (her foster mom).
I will write more later about "her other mom," but let me tell you now that we know she gave her heart and soul to the girl she knew as Jian Qian or "Qian Qian" as they affectionately called her. We are keeping her middle name Qian (it means "graceful, beautiful girl" and is pronounced by substituting the /k/ sound of "q" for a /ch/ sound) as a tribute to the woman who raised our daughter for two and one half years. Norah would not let me hold her or comfort her and eventually cried herself to sleep in Chris' arms. Although we knew this time of grieving is an important time and indeed, is a very good sign that Norah can attach very strongly, it is heartbreaking to hear a two year old sob her heart out. We are not be able to explain to her what is happening and cannot even offer words of comfort in her language. Please pray that we will seek the Lord's strength in this time and will be renewed through Him. Please pray for comfort and peace for a little girl who is longing for the only family she has ever known.