OK - I owe you all more details from yesterday.
Our flight from Beijing was delayed by about 40 minutes. We arrived at Guangzhou and had no trouble getting our luggage, finding our pickup from the hotel, and there was not a ton of traffic on the way in. When we checked in we were told that we had a message from our guide, Wenxi. We knew she was supposed to contact us at some point today to let us know when we would be meeting our children. We came right up to our rooms and called her and she said that we needed to hurry up and gather our paperwork and meet her in the lobby, because we were supposed to be at the Civil Affairs office in 10 minutes to meet our children. WHAT???????????? We ran around, grabbed our stuff and amazingly didn't forget anything, and took off to meet Wenxi.
Luckily, Civil Affairs is a short ride from our hotel, but of course we got there about 15 minutes or so later than we were scheduled to. The place was completely crazy. It is this small lobby and there must have been about 25 families all getting their children at the same time. We walked in and all the handoffs were already taking place, and there were all these babies crying and new parents tearing up, it was just overwhelming. We were whisked off to a little corner of the room, which happened to be right next to the room where the children wait with their nannies. James said he thought he saw Abby going in there with someone, but he wasn't 100% sure it was her. In the midst of this chaos we had to organize some paperwork, and then we spent a few minutes taking in everything going on around us. All these months I've been watching this scene in other people's blogs; I've seen it a thousand times. Being there in person was completely different. An amazing thing was taking place right in front of me - a couple dozen families being formed in a miraculous way!!!! All these people had just undergone the same journey we had been through - I knew every painful step, every little bit of paperwork, every single bit of waiting they had to do. And I felt really happy for them that they had made it to here - and whatever lay ahead they would be doing it with their child by their side!! While looking around I saw my bloggy friend Chris with her little girl Avery - I was so thrilled we were there together, even though I didn't get the opportunity to say hello!!
Well, the Smiths, who are part of our group, and are actually with us the entire time up until we get off our plane in Newark, got their little boy first. They're in that clip of our video right before we see Abby. As I was watching them with their baby, all of a sudden there she was!!!!! She looked just like in all her pictures - so sweet and little - and so scared!!!!! I can't get over how little she is, Lanie is going to tower over her. She looked right at me and said - "Hi mama. I love you!" (they do prepare them for this day well, apparently). She then just smiled away and sat with me. I think I gave her about a thousand hugs! It was a bit awkward because I didn't really know what to say to her because she couldn't understand me. I didn't want to rattle of in English and just scare her more. I gave her some of the snacks I brought her and some of the gifts out of her bag. She ate some of her little koala crackers and shared some with me and James - which she does with absolutely everything. I think she's used to having to share - which is a good thing since she has four siblings!! She would also not eat all of anything. She would eat a few, and then close it up and put it away. She liked the things in her bag, but I think she was a bit overwhelmed.
In the van on the way back to the hotel, she started tearing up. I gave her the little cheap digital camera I brought for her, and that was that. I haven't seen a tear since. I don't think she's put the camera down for more than five minutes at a time - and I'm her favorite subject. She keeps calling out "Mama" - and then "click". I guess we'll make a good trio - she can take the pictures and Lanie and I'll scrapbook them.