Picking up from where we left off... read Part 1 here if you haven't already! Wednesday, June 20th, it’s travel day, we flew to Beijing… who doesn’t love an 18 hour flight? We arrived on Thursday, June 21st and left from the airport to visit one of Carrie’s friends (assistant director at an orphanage in Beijing). It was so crazy to see all of the children that are just waiting for their forever homes and families. Because we were 12 hours ahead and technology is awesome, we were able to FaceTime our babies back home who stayed with our family during our trip. We did some sightseeing while in Beijing with 9 other families from our agency- Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Great Wall (which was awesome), Jade factory, and learned how to make Chinese tea. We all left Beijing on Sunday and headed to the province. We left via bullet train for 6 hours and headed to Nanjing, Jiangsu where we would be meeting our sweet girl. When we got to Nanjing, our guide and her driver took us to the hotel we were going to be for the week. When we got to our room she gave us the rundown of what we needed to bring to the Registrars building when we meet our sweet girl THE NEXT DAY!!!!! We barely slept because of all the feels. We woke up and after eating breakfast, we still had 5 hours before we got to meet her. Carrie and I spent our time walking around Nanjing along the Yangtze River people watching and trying our best to stay busy so we wouldn’t go crazy. It was time! We met our driver and headed to the Registrars building. Traffic... would you believe it... of course when we HAD to be somewhere... our guide was texting us saying that everything was okay. She was walking around, talking and doing great. Carrie and I were in shock… she was WALKING?!? We had no idea! The last update and videos we received and showed her holding on to rails and in a little bouncer- never walking!!!! This was crazy to us!! When we finally got there, we walked into a room where there were 8 other families who were also getting their sweet babes. And there she was, our sweet Cate! To say the room was chaos was an understatement! There were so many different things going on… would you believe it if I said more paperwork? We sat and talked to the nanny and orphanage official through our guide to ask them some questions that we had written down like- what helps soothe her when she is upset, and what her favorite foods or snacks were, and her sleeping arrangements so we can be somewhat prepared when we leave here with her. And then she was ours, in our arms, just like that. So weird to show up, get handed a toddler, and leave all within 45 mins. Crazy right?! My prayer before we got there was for Carrie and Cate to have a strong bond because I knew I would be going back to work and I wanted the transition to be easy when that happened. While this was my prayer- I didn’t think it would be so strong that she didn’t want me to hold her or be left alone with her- when Carrie would leave the room- she would lose it. This crushed me. I was happy that she bonded quickly and strong with Carrie- but I wanted her to feel comfortable with me too. I’ve always been around kids, I’ve always been able to make them laugh or comfort them or play- but not with my own daughter. While I know that she has only known me for a couple of hours, I knew that it would not be like this for long. I just didn’t know how long. The next day we went back to the Registrar’s office to finalize the adoption and change her name to be officially a Cass. The next day we had the opportunity to go back to her orphanage that was 3 hours away… and if you didn’t know, China doesn’t have any child restraint laws so there are no car seats. When we got to the orphanage, we got to meet the guard that found her in the middle of the night on his shift. That was pretty bittersweet, sad and neat all at the same time. We got to tour the orphanage- where she played in the courtyard, where she slept, and the classroom where they would do arts and crafts and played. This is where things got interesting. She walked in like she owned the place. She started barking orders in Chinese to the other kids while holding her hand out and the kids just turned their toys over to her without a fuss. She sat at the table with about 8 toys and there she was in all her glory. The nannies told us she was the princess there and did whatever she wanted and didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to. After our tour, they fed us. In true Chinese tradition- it was a giant lazy Susan with about 9 different dishes to eat. One of them was their local delicacies- EEL!! We felt bad if we didn’t eat it, so we did... it was different... After lunch, we said our goodbyes to the nannies and directors and headed back to the hotel. The car ride wasn’t terrible, but manageable. We headed out for Nanjing on Thursday and flew to Guangzhou where we would go for the duration of our trip. We met back up with our group and all stayed in the same hotel. We had to go to Guangzhou to do the remaining paperwork and get her cleared to get her VISA to travel to the states- to come home!! Because of the July 4th holiday- all of the US buildings were shut down so this extended our trip a day because of paperwork processing. When we got her VISA, we headed to Hong Kong which was about a 2.5 hour drive from Guangzhou. The next day everyone got to head home. We flew into Chicago with 4 other families from our group. On the flight to Chicago which was 15 hours, Cate screamed for about 5 of it. Because I could not assist Carrie in trying to calm her because at this point she still wants nothing to do with me, all I could do is watch and try to comfort Carrie. It was brutal. But we made it! As soon as we got through immigration- Cate was officially a US Citizen!!!! This is one of the reasons that there is so much paperwork- so when she landed on US soil- she was a citizen of the Untied States of America. Our connecting flight was delayed, of course, and the day couldn’t get any longer it felt like. We knew we had family waiting for us at JAX so we just wanted to get home to hug our babies and introduce their new sister. When we arrived in JAX, it brought tears to my eyes and I was overwhelmed with love and support when I saw how many people showed up to welcome us home. After I hugged my babies I just stood there and could not believe how many people were there. Family, friends from church, friends from Tallahassee, friends from work, and friends who have adopted from China before with their families!! It was awesome. Once again God letting us know that He loves us by surrounding us with such awesome people.
Skylar and Wyatt IMMEDIATELY took to Cate and walked her around like they’ve been family forever. Cate greeted everyone and sat down and played with the other kids at the airport and just surprised us how well she did with all the people there.
Over the last couple of weeks we have had to remind Skylar that Cate has a mommy and daddy because- Momma Skylar... ha! Sweet Wyatt just cannot keep his hands or lips off of her. He is always trying to hug her, hold her hand, arm or her leg- it’s just the sweetest! Since being home Cate has had multiple doctor appts to just check on her and confirm some of her special needs. We still have quite a few more appts to go to, but she has been a champ. Everyday Carrie and I continue to be amazed by her. Her English gets better and better every day and seeing how well she is accepting all the love we have been pouring her way is amazing. Carrie sent me a text on our month anniversary of Cate’s “Gotcha Day”. It was a video of her singing a song by Chris Tomlin. Her text read- “If this doesn’t make you teary this morning not much will,”One month ago, Cate was in an orphanage and had never heard the name Jesus - this morning she is singing about her Good Good Father. That’ll start the tears this morning.” ❤️❤️❤️ We just continue to thank God for all His blessings and being so present in our lives during this journey of bringing our sweet girl Cate home.
#adoptionrocks #wecouldhavemissedthis #shesworthit #ourbestyes You can follow along with the rest of their journey through Nate & Carrie’s blog here!