Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Referral Day Recap-Whew!

May 21st, 2009 was a WILD day-but one that we will never forget!

We woke up in the morning and knew that a package was on the way to the agency due for delivery at any time. I was a nervous wreck!

We went to Taylor's 8th grade promotion from 7:30-8:30 am. We weren't expecting it to be outside so we were the only folks standing out in the rain without an umbrella. We didn't take many pics because of the rain but here is one of Taylor with one of his best buddies, Kyle. We thought that Taylor would remain at school for the rest of the day, but instead he came home with us. We broke the news to him in the car on the way home that we would be receiving a referral that day. He had NO CLUE!!! Xander heard the news in the car at the same time and just about came out of his seat belt buckle with excitement.
At 10:51, we finally received the Stork Has Landed email! Of course, Matt had become stir crazy and had stepped out to run a few errands just a few minutes prior. So now, not only was I a nervous wreck waiting for the phone to ring but I also didn't know if Matt would be there when the phone call finally came in. After waiting 3+ years for the call, I wasn't sure if/how I was going to ask them to call back later when it finally arrived!

Matt walked in the door at 11:24 with Taco Bell. I took two bites of nachos and threw the rest in the trash-my stomach was a mess! At 11:29, the phone finally rang! When I saw our agency's name and number on the caller ID, I felt as if I was moving through molasses trying move into position. Taylor took his post behind the video camera and Matt and I sat down at the desk in the office with pens in hand. If we hadn't video taped the phone conversation, I don't think I would remember a second of it! 'Diedre' from the dossier department was the one to deliver our news. She is not someone we were familiar with, but at our agency when referrals come in, they get everybody involved. I remember being relieved when she said that we had a GIRL! and a little sad to learn that she was close to a year old and that we would miss her first birthday. The three questions I really wanted answered were: What is her name? How old is she? and Where is she? What surprised me was how emotional I was when she started to rattle off the other information. Things like-laughs out loud, tears paper, can imitate sounds, rolls over, can grab items with thumb and index finger made her seem real to me and the fact that she is doing all of those things without us really hit me at that moment. When I finally get the video up here, you will see that I had a hard time keeping it together at that point.
Once we had our info, we had to talk about shipping arrangements for Meili's file. They could have sent it that afternoon and it could have arrived at our home the next day. The only problem is that we were leaving town on that afternoon for Phoenix and then on to CA for the long weekend. At this point, we had not even packed yet but there were more important items to attend to!

We made a few phone calls to our family and waited to receive Meili's pictures by email. They finally came at 12:19. The first picture I saw was the one where she is in the walker. My first impression was that she looked like a little monkey. We affectionately referred to Audrey as the 'monkey princess' when she was little-even made her a little monkey outfit for her first Halloween. It looks like we may have a 'monkey empress' on our hands now! Next, I saw the pic of her in the car. She's looking to the side in this one and looks a bit scared if not perturbed. Then, we saw her mugshot. I expected that this would be our least favorite photo but I think it's the one we like the most. She has a sweet little expression on her face and the shape of her head is JUST like her baba's-almost a perfect square with a little chin jutting out. Even folks we don't know have noticed a resemblance! When we look at the pictures now, there is no doubt about it-she is ours! I can't wait to hold her and see what she looks like when she smiles!
We printed out the photos and flew out the door. Audrey and Noah were still at school (their last day!) so we decided to pop in and give them the surprise of their lives! We first found Audrey outside with a group of her classmates waiting for their turn for water field day. She saw a gift bag in our hands and asked what it was about. We answered, 'It has something to do with CHINA!!!' I think she screamed. She opened the bag to find her sister's picture and fell in love. She really wanted to have a picture to show her friends at school this year and was able to do so with only about an hour and a half to spare!

Next, we went into Noah's classroom. There were other parents there and the class was getting ready to have an ice cream party. It is customary in his class that whenever a family member arrives, they stop whatever they are doing and the student will introduce them. So, Noah introduced Matt and I and then I asked Noah if he would like to introduce HIS BABY SISTER!!! The look on his face was priceless and so was the AAAWWW! in unison from his classmates when he showed them the picture. I was crying and his teacher was in tears. What a moment!

Next, we rushed across town to be fingerprinted for our 4th home study. Our third one expires in a couple of weeks so these couldn't wait. It should have only taken about 15 minutes but thanks to my fingerprint card being jammed in the printer and the sweet little 85 year old man helping us that had no clue what to do about it, we were there for more that 2 and a half hours! I was fit to be tied. We ended up having to call a neighbor to retrieve Noah and Audrey from the bus stop while we were stuck there. Thanks, Linda!

We finally got home at about 3:45 and took a few minutes to show Meili's pic to a few neighbors. When I looked at the clock again, it was 4:30 and Noah and I needed to be at the Taylor Swift concert in Phoenix (2 hours away) by 7 pm. The plan was to spend the evening in Phoenix at my Grandma's house and continue on to CA the next morning for my sister's college graduation. I couldn't believe that it was 4:30 and I still hadn't packed! All I wanted to do was get on the computer and watch referral day unfold on RQ and in blogland. I think at that point, I still needed some reassurance that our referral was real! But there was no time, not even time to send an email or compose a proper blog post-so not what I had planned!

We threw some things in suitcases and hit the road. I've never left for a trip with my house in such disarray. It was against everything that I believe in but we had no choice. We did have a great time during the two-hour drive calling friends and family and telling them our news. The kids stared at Meili's picture for most of the drive and Matt dropped Noah and I off at the concert with no time to spare. I'm embarrassed to admit that once we made it in there and the lights went out, I had a bit of a 'moment.' It was an odd combination of stress (Here's the day we've waited 3 1/2 years for and we don't have any time to enjoy it!), disbelief (Did this really happen?), gratitude (How did we get so lucky to be chosen as parents for this little girl?), and relief (We really lived to see referral day...and she's perfect!) Several folks sitting next to us must have wondered why I was so moved by Kellie Pickler's performance.....;o)

We didn't get back to Grandma's until close to midnight. Everyone else was sound asleep. Before joining them, I had to take just one more peek at Meili's little face. What a dream come true!


Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

OMW... what an EXCITING DAY but soooo jam packed..
As for the standing in the rain.. we did that here too...
LOVE the photos and the whole day was perfect..
you had me crying when I was reading about you going into the kids classrooms..
I am sooo happy for you all.

Sherrie said...

I am so happy and excited for you guys. Keep us all informed when you can. I am sure you will be very busy until you bring her home. Best of luck with everything. Miss you!