It’s the moment we have been waiting for forever! We woke up not even believing it was FINALLY here! The day we meet Miss Mia Luoshu Harvey!
The families were a-buzz with nerves and excitement today. We hugged and said “Happy Gotcha Day” all morning. The bus ride over, Vivian explained what would happen when we arrived at the Civil Affairs office, and we asked some questions and made sure that we teamed up together to capture each other’s first moments with our new kiddos. Everyone was just overwhelmed with every emotion.
When we arrived at 10:00 a.m. to the room where we would meet our children, one baby was already there and waiting for Karlynn and Brad. They received her first. I took video on their camera for them and cried right along with them! Then, three families received their children at the same time because they were from the same orphanage. We helped them with photos and video as well, and anxiously awaited our child’s arrival. Our friends, the Norris family, were also waiting on pins and needles. Finally, at 10:20 a.m., I couldn’t stand it any longer. I asked Vivian if they would be there soon, and after a quick phone call to someone, she told me they were at the gate!
At about 10:30, we saw a black car pull up and just knew it was her. Slowly, four adults piled out of the car…..and then we saw her….
I was already crying. I was a mess. She was more beautiful than any picture could ever capture. I will be forever grateful for our new friend, Brad, who took video of our first moments together. I took some screenshots of it for you to see until John creates a real “Gotcha Day” video in true Harvey fashion. As you can see, she was very loved by her orphanage. The man holding her is the director. It is a very small rural orphanage with only about 70-80 kids. CCAI has about 5-6 kids per year adopted from there, which explains why I don’t have more information on it. I say she was very loved because the people who came with her stayed for quite some time and she was not at all interested in us from the beginning. In fact, she was the first kiddo to really cry when a parent tried to hold her. We busted out the lollipop first, and then tried some toys with not much luck. The only thing she really liked was the play cell phone. In fact, she is sleeping right beside me in her crib as I type this with that cell phone in her bed. It took a very long time for her to warm up to us, but we took it slowly at her pace, and it turned out to be for the best.
I used a trick I had done to get kids to smile with photography–take their picture and then show it to them. Worked like a charm! This kid loves selfies and has even pointed to me in the picture and called me “Mama” and John she calls “Papa.” In China, they usually say “Baba” for daddy, but I swear she is saying “Papa” and that makes me smile because that was the term used for my daddy by our kids. So, cell phones work magic. We got some smiles, finally, and she liked the Chinese snacks we brought as well. When it was time to leave and head to the bus, there was more crying, but it was more like whimpering. I snapped a family selfie really quick before getting on the bus and we headed back to the hotel.
When we got to the hotel, we worked on some trust-building and playing. We were really trying to figure out what would get her to open up a little. Bubbles. It was bubbles. Thank you Alesha Furnish for the bubble set! She LOVED it! We must have played with bubbles for at least 30 minutes non-stop! She smiled, she laughed, she played, and it was BEAUTIFUL to see. Our little girl was finally showing her personality and lighting up our hearts.
Around 12:30 things turned a little. She started fussing and whimpering and then crying. We tried a bunch of different things, but knew she was tired. All of the paperwork we saw confirmed that she still naps from about 12-2pm each day. She sleeps alone, but resisted the crib big time. We are not co-sleeping parents, but we knew she needed rest. So, John set up “Tangled” on the laptop and we snuggled with lots of blankies with her right inbetween us. With that phone in her hand, she fell asleep within a minute or two. She sleeps MUCH faster than our boys ever have. I enjoyed some snuggles, but had an empty belly. After so many Chinese experiences, John walked to Subway for something quick and “normal” after such an emotional morning. I ate my sub with one arm still on Mia and got to talk to my sister over chat. By the time I thought I could start blogging, she woke up. Thankfully, she did not seem upset, but just a little confused. We played again for a while with the stacking cups and toys and bubbles. We finally got her to take off her shoes and relax a little bit. I noticed the velcro was coming loose on the shoes and I knew we would need to get her some new ones, and especially pink would match more of her outfits.
We took out a new board book that had both Chinese and English with the objects and we read to her about fruits and other common words. She worked on repeating the English word back to us and sometimes would tell us the Chinese word! She really knows her fruits and apparently likes strawberries. We couldn’t believe how fast she was picking things up! She learned “hello” and “bye-bye” (in English) while waving in no time. She knew what high fives were and loved doing that. We tried to teach her knuckles and how to blow kisses. She’s getting the hang of it. John took video of her “reading” that book so hopefully she will watch it when she is older and hear her Chinese language.
We are trying to capture these precious moments as best we can. It was hard not to post anything online during this time, but we knew Owen and Camden deserved to be the first ones to see their sister, so we had to wait until 7pm our time (7am their time) to introduce her to them.
After the books, I showed her some of the clothes I had brought for her. She didn’t fuss at me taking off her coat, so I carefully and slowly kept going to see if she wanted to try on new clothes. She actually did not smell badly at all and we did not attempt a bath at this point, but she seemed excited for something new. During the changing process, I took her to use the potty and she did excellent! I praised her for going pee in the potty and showed her how we wipe, flush, and wash hands. The towel rack in our bathroom is SUPER sturdy, which makes for the perfect toddler step stool for the sink! We high fived and celebrated her going potty so well. Then, we finished getting dressed.
In China, everyone wears a ton of layers. The adults have been walking around with 2-3 layers on at all times and we are wearing shorts and t-shirts. So, when I put on a little short-sleeved dress on Mia, she started pulling at the sleeves, like they were not long enough. I told her it was okay and we would just put the cardigan over it. We added underwear and leggings (I am not sure if she ever wore underwear before, based on her reaction), and I think she thought the leggings were not enough clothes. Of course, we made a big deal about how pretty she is and showed her in the mirror. She liked what she saw! Then, we busted out the hair bows and she wanted daddy to try one, too, so John played around and put a bunch of bows on his shaved head and we played and had fun. She loved the pink bow in her hair and kept it in the rest of the day.
John had to attend a parents’ meeting at 3pm, so Mia and I went down to the 3rd floor with him and then explored the hotel a little bit. Mia wasn’t occupied by the beautiful lobby, and hand-in-hand she led me out the door. We walked a block or two down from our hotel to the Starbucks, but I realized I had no money (John had it), so we walked back. As we were walking back, she kept leading me, and started singing her little songs as well. It was just a joy! Then, we went and looked around the fitness center and pool and we were told the hot water pool (hot tub) would be good. The big pool is too cold for kids. Yes, I know. Chinese kids cannot be cold.
I checked on a friend after that, who’s baby is sick. We went back down to the meeting room to get one of the guides to help and Mia was just great! She carried that cell phone and quietly entertained herself as we helped our friend. Then, we went back to the meeting so I could finish signing my part of the paperwork and Mia even had to put her handprint on one!
None of us seemed to be wanting to stay in the room, so we decided to look for shoes and a few other things back at the Walmart area. Mia made sure to hold both mama and baba’s hands and led us the whole way with playful steps. She is just an awesome kid. We decided to check out the mall we were told about instead of Walmart. The whole first section was like a typical mall. The second section was like a whole different mall with kids clothes, shoes, toys, etc. Here, we found a pair of pink tennis shoes for Mia. She loves them. The workers there were happy to help, though they spoke no English. They showed us the price on the calculator so we could pay. They let her walk right out with them after getting our family picture on their phone! It’s funny how many people here want our pictures. But look at this girl….Isn’t she BEAUTIFUL?
We were getting hungry and again, we were too tired to think about Chinese food, so we went to the Pizza Hut and ordered from a picture menu. We took each part of our day slowly, waiting to see how Mia would do, and since she was doing great, we went for it. Eating at a restaurant was different with her. They say she is not picky, so I cut up the pizza very small for her and she only ate the crust/bread, but that was ok. If she didn’t like something she threw it under the table! It was wild! She laughed about it and flashed that cute smile and I tried to gently tell her no and redirect her attention. She has very limited table manners, so we will be teaching that along with English over time, lol. It is like taking a one-year-old to a restaurant, except she will jabber in Chinese and sing and practice hello and bye bye with her little cell phone!
After dinner, I was tired and took Mia to the hotel while John got a couple things at the Walmart. We visited with another family in our group briefly before video chatting with our kids….FINALLY!!!! I could not wait to let them see her! It was SUPER fun to watch them interact. She watched them for a while and then got down off my lap and played on the floor and did her own thing. Then, she tried to feed her brothers and Meemaw some snacks that she was eating. It was super cute.
John had bought some bubble bath for our bubble-loving girl, so we slowly tried to see if she would like to take a bath. We were told she loves baths, and they were right! She let me wash her and then I washed her hair and half the time she was giggling and the other half of the time she wasn’t so sure. It was then that I realized that she probably doesn’t get her hair washed every day. I wasn’t sure how often to wash Asian hair, but just then our guides came by and we were able to chat a few minutes. After speaking with them, it sounds like I won’t need to wash her hair for a few days now!
We decided to bundle up our joy baby with two sets of pajamas to make sure she stays warm. She had fun getting her teeth brushed (she has beautifully white teeth). I never have to dry the boys’ hair, but since she is so used to being super warm all the time, I got the hairdryer out and dried her hair before bed. I’m pretty sure she is the cutest thing ever to wear footie pajamas….just saying. She was definitely ready for bed. John put Tangled back on and she was fine to go in the crib with blankies and a couple stuffed animals. She did ask for snacks and water, so we gave them to her. Once she finished her snacks, she was dozing off and John tucked her in for the night. It was only minutes before she was out.
Through this entire day, I am just so overwhelmed with gratitude. God has gone before us in EVERY single step! We have truly been covered in prayer and today is the purest example of that. She seems to feel safe with both of us and is very easy-going. She is funny and sweet and just plain amazing. I am in awe of God’s blessing to us and our family.
Mia, you are a true GIFT from God! We love you more than ever before. I cannot believe I have already gotten kisses and love from you. YOU, my child, are a daughter of the KING and princess of our hearts! We pray you will grow to know and love our Savior, Jesus Christ, and trust him with your whole life. He is the ONLY way! We are living proof of His grace and compassion. We will forever love Him because He loved us and gave us YOU!
Gotcha Day: April 18, 2016.