Tuesday, September 25, 2007

G & R Ceremony

I keep forgetting to describe the day we got Sasha. Kenny and Kim (?) called us from the lobby of our hotel and then came up to her room at about 8:30 or 9:00 in the evening of the 18th. Kenny said that he would pick us up at 5:30 am in the lobby and we would pick up another couple from the Hgoc Ngoc and then head up to Lang Son. At first we were going to bring all of the donations, but Kenny called us a little while later. He said he had spoken to the director of the orphanage who said all of the older children were going on a picnic the next day and wanted to know if we could bring them another day. So we brought with us a diaper bag, three care packages from other families, gifts for the staff, a big box full of baby blankets and baby clothes, as well as some picture books, diapers in all sizes (mostly small), baby soap and shampoo, and some wipes. It was a lot of stuff, but we figured we were only going to be doing this one time. I had gone to the store and just bought what I think they needed. Since I didn't know, I had to guess.
We picked up other couple (very nice people) and headed up to Lang Son. It is a very pretty drive and gets prettier as you get closer to Lang Son. It was a great trip since it was FINALLY HAPPENING! I think it was about a three hour drive. We pulled up in front of the orphanage gate and then drove in. It was very quiet there and we only saw maybe one woman outside. We went into a building and Kenny showed us into a room where we were supposed to wait. It seemed to be a conference type room. He said the caretakers would bring in the babies. Some time went by while we waited nervously. Finally (I have no idea how much time passed. Five minutes? Ten?) I turned and saw and small, older woman holding a baby. I kept hearing the other man (the other family) saying how pretty whe was. The woman and the baby were looking right at me. Both of them had this calm expression on their faces. Kind of interested. The baby (Sasha) was wearing a hat, a long sleeved shirt and pants and a jacket like thing with no sleeves. I walked over and took her from the woman and she went right to me. She wasn't scared or happy, she was just very calm. I think I kind of walked away with her while talking to her. I sat down so I could hold her and get a good look at her. It was such a strange feeling. Kind of like being outside of myself watching it happen. I remember looking at the baby while the caretaker was still holding her and thinking, "So this is my daughter." Sasha ( we were not sure about her name and wanted to look at her and spend time with her to make sure it fit her) just looked at me calmly. The caretaker sat down in a chair near mine and just watched. It wasn't uncomfortable at all. I think it was because Sasha wasn't trying to reach for her and the caretaker was just calmly watching instead of hovering. It also helped that we didn't speak the same language so there was no pretense of trying to talk with each other. I did hug her at some point, I don't remember when. I looked at her for a long time and just held her and talked to her. After another five minutes or so another caretaker brought in an adorable little boy and handed him to the other couple. We all just spent a little time with our babies before Kenny came back into the room. I had written down a bunch of questions for the caretaker and had them translated into Vietnamese. She went and got her glasses so she could read them and then told Kenny the answers and he wrote them down. I got some of the information, but couldn't really take it in. I thought I would just read it later but it didn't all really make sense. He told me he would take notes and tell me what they meant later. By the time I looked at them later that evening Kenny had left and I thought I would figure it all out anyway. They were just questions like, "When does she sleep? When does she eat? How much does she eat? Does she share a crib with anyone? Does she have a nickname?"...things like that. I did find out she slept alone, they called her Bui or Bui Thuy (her name is Bui Thuy Duong). I was surprised since I thought they would call her Duong Thuy, but they told me again and again that that was what they called her. (I kept making sure since I wanted to include the name they called her in her new name)
After the speeches from the lady lady from the justice department and then the director of the orphanage, we signed the book. We handed Sasha to her caregiver when we went up to sign the book. After the G & R ceremony, which we felt was done very well, we took pictures. We took pictures with the caretaker and the orphanage director and then another one on the steps in front of the building. Before we left the room we said goodbye and hugged Sasha's caregiver. She was obviously a caring, calm woman. We both liked the director of the orphanage as well. Kenny took all of the presents for the officials at some point and then we left. It was odd that it didn't feel odd to be driving up without a baby and driving away with one. It seemed so easy, then I quickly remembered how hard the paperwork and wait was. Neither of the babies cried at all on the way home. Sasha just looked at us then fell asleep and slept most of the way home. Sooo cute!
We got home and decided to bring her to the SOS clinic right around the corner to check on her cold. We wanted to make sure she didn't have an upper respiratory infection like we heard a lot of babies from Lang Son had. The doctor said she just had a cold. She weighed her (12 1/2 pounds) and measured her (almost 26 inches) and checked her ears. We were happy to hear that her lungs were clear.

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