This will be a very long post, but we need to include every detail. I will start from the beginning.....
We woke up Sunday morning in Guangzhou filled with excitement. Today was the day we were getting our new daughter! We walked around Guangzhou that morning. We met a wonderful group of preschool children. I started to take pictures of them and their teacher stopped us and wanted us to talk to them. The kids were all 3 - 5 years old. She told us they had been learning English for a month and they wanted to ask us questions. The teacher called up about 3 students one at a time. She us ask them their name, what their teacher's name was, what their favorite color was etc. After we asked them the questions and they answered, they would get a little gift out of their backpacks and give them to us. We received some custard pies, a pack of gum, and a cute stuffed Olympic mascot. They sang us a few songs and they were soooo adorable. That was such a wonderful experience. Now we were more excited than ever to bring a little child from China into our lives.
We met our guide in the lobby at 11:30 and we drove to the airport. It was POURING rain outside. I'm not sure if we have talked about the driving in China yet. At first we thought they were just crazy drivers, but now we realize how good of drivers they are. The cars get within inches of each other. People walk across the street and we are sure they will get hit. We haven't seen one accident yet. If that huge rainstorm had happened in America, we would have seen at least 3 wrecks on our way to the airport.
We arrived at the airport and went through security. Since we weren't allowed as much baggage, we took some of our luggage on the plane as carry-ons. I bought lots of gifts of deodorant, lotion and lipstick to bring for gifts for the different people we were expected to give gifts to that were involved in the adoption process. Security took them all away. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. Little did I know that that was such a minor set back compared to what would come later.
When we got to our gate, our plane was delayed about 2 hours. We finally boarded our plane and sat there for a while. There was an announcement made in Chinese. We understood none of it, but several people moaned and there was quite a bit of loud chatter going on. We sat a while longer, another announcement was made, and this time there was much louder upset chatter and people were getting up and getting their bags. The girl next to us had limited English and she told us we had to get off of the plane, but not to go far. We exited the plane and at least 25 people swarmed the airport workers at the gate. They were yelling and screaming. Derek and I thought for sure a riot would break out. Derek got out the camera and started filming. Several Chinese men stood behind him and looked at the screen of the video in amazement. That was odd to us. ALL of the Chinese people have super high tech phones, but I guess video cameras are just something they don't have.
We got back on the plane after about 20 minutes, but we still sat there. They served us a meal and that seemed to calm the masses. We waited about another hour and it looked like the plane was ready to take off. Then down the aisle comes this lady, probably in her 20's. She started speaking to the flight attendant, and the flight attendant started yelling back. By this time the plane had started moving out of the gate. The girl next to us told us that she was wanting to get off the plane. People on the plane started yelling at this girl. Then the pilot came out of the cockpit and started screaming at her. But the plane kept moving and the girl returned to her seat. Derek and I just looked at each other in amazement! We were now 4.5 hours late. We were getting Lexi that night and we knew we would have no time to settle in before they brought her to us.
Our guide Christine met us at the airport. She took us to the hotel and told us Lexi would meet us in the lobby as soon as we got there. I arranged the video camera and the camera. This is not the way I had planned on meeting my little girl, but that was okay!! We were almost there!
We waited in the lobby and the orphanage director and a nanny walked in carrying Lexi. Lexi was asleep and woke up as they handed her to us. She was quite limp and could hardly hold her head up. We took her and then signed all of the paperwork. they handed us a bag of formula and a bottle, that's it. No cameras that we had sent to the foster family to take pictures and give back to us. And what about the other things we sent in those 3 packages. No blanket, cute ladybug sweater, books....none of that was given to us. We went up to our room, but felt sick inside. Lexi was quite small, just 12.5 pounds according to the bathroom scale. She was like a newborn. We were quite worried. The first thing I did was email my adoption Yahoo group. I knew they would help. Sure enough, we got 40 responses to our email, many filled with encouraging words. Many families had been there and assured us that she would come around and she would catch up quickly. She slept well that night, only waking up a couple of times and then going back to sleep on her own.
The next morning Stefani from our agency called. I was still very worried and she talked to both Derek and I and tried to calm us. It was wonderful to talk to her. We got everything ready to go to the Civil Affairs Office where we would pay our money and Lexi would be ours forever. I got Lexi dressed and had to put her in the clothes she came to us in. Nothing else fit. She also had a dry diaper. All night with no urination. We knew that was a horrible sign. She wouldn't take a bottle. I finally got a syringe and started feeding her formula with that. She lapped it up and took about 2 ounces.
We were angry. Angry at her foster parents. How could they neglect this child? She was obviously not stimulated. Angry at the director. How chould she just hand us this baby with a bottle and not tell us how to feed her? We realize now the circumstances and are no longer angry. I'm sure the director and tried to feed her and couldn't. We realize now that our little girl was not capable of feeding herself.
We walked into the office and there were other families there with their new babies. Derek and I admitted to each other later that we were jealous of the other families. Their children seemed so healthy and full of life, our child seemed lifeless. We were the last into the office. The director of the orphanage and our guide went in first. Our guide Christine came out to get us and she showed me a picture of an MRI and asked if I had seen this. I told her no and then we sat down. There was a lot of discussion. Apparently a few months earlier they had taken her to the hospital to have her lip operated on, but Lexi was too weak to proceed. Christine told us that on May 20 Lexi had her final examination at the orphanage in Yan'An before they brought her to meet us. The doctor had a question about her brain. He didn't know, it was just a question. We had 3 options: Adopt Lexi, decide not to adopt, or take her to the hospital to get her checked out. I decided immediately that we should take her to the hospital.
The Xi'an Children's Hospital was an experience in itself. I wish I had had my camera. You walked into the hospital and it was like a train station. Many people, all of them with 1 child, mostly boys. It was crazy. There buckets all around with liquid in them where I am assuming people threw up or the little kids peed in them. We went up to the second floor and passed by a room with children getting IV's. There were many hard chairs set up like a classroom. Kids were sitting on their parent's laps and there were IVs hung from the ceiling and the children were getting them. There were little ashtray-like things on the ground. We weren't sure exactly what they were for until a little boy started to squat and pee on the stairs. A nurse went running over to them and pointed to something. The parent took the child over to one of these pots on the ground, the child squatted and went to the bathroom.
Finally they took Lexi back into the examining room. We waited for a long time and then Christine called us in. The doctor was examining her and then Christine told us the diagnosis. There were 3 things wrong with. Her cleft lip, palate and there was something wrong with her brain. She told us her brain was "very bad." The doctor said she was "hopeless." Derek and I just broke down. We just held each other and sobbed. How could this happen? We knew we couldn't adopt her. All of the Chinese people were looking at us in amazement. People were coming in from the hallway to the examining room. They were gawking at Lexi and her unrepaired lip and staring at us and wondering why we were sobbing (Chinese people hardly ever show their emotion).
Christine took us back to the hotel and Lexi went with the orphanage director. We had about 3 hours in our hotel room. We had housekeeping take the crib out of the room and I started to arrange our room, since it was quite a mess since we got in so late, got up very early, and tried to take care of Lexi. I packed away all of Lexi's stuff we had brought for her. That was so very hard. We had lost our baby. Derek picked up a hat he bought in Guangzhou. It said "Ba Ba" on it, which means daddy in Chinese. He turned to me and said "What am I going to do with this?" and then sat on the bed and sobbed. I cried the whole 3 hours. Though I do not know what it is like to experience the death of a child, I got a very small taste of it.
Christine picked us up at 3:45 and took us to the Civil Affairs office. We had to write a letter stating that we chose not to accept the referral of Yan Fu Jia and the reason. She also told us that if we wanted another referral, we could ask for that. Of course!!! The pain was still so raw, but we knew we still wanted another child.
They called us back to the office and there was more discussion. They told us the Civil Affairs Office agreed with our decision to not adopt Lexi. In China, everyone has a grace period where they can decide to adopt or not to adopt. If you decide not to adopt and there is no medical reason why you are not going through with the adoption, then you are never allowed to adopt from China again. If there is new medical information and you decide not to adopt, you can ask for another referral. They told us they could not promise us anything, but would try and find us another child. We tried to give our suitcase full of donations to the orphanage director, but she refused. She said that we needed to give those donations to the orphanage we adopted from. Christine said she couldn't promise anything, but our chances of receiving another referral were quite high. I am so glad now that we never got angry about Lexi's presumed neglect. Lexi was not neglected that we know of, she is just incredibly disabled.
We went outside and to the van where Lexi was sleeping. They handed her to us to say goodbye. We held her, kissed her, told her how much we loved her and how sorry we were. It was so hard to say goodbye, yet we knew it was the right decision.
Christine walked us over to the famous dumpling restaurant and ordered the dumpling banquet for us and then she left. We had an incredible dinner. They brought us about 20 different kinds of dumplings. I still wasn't hungry, but managed to eat.
This morning we are going to the Terra Cotta Warriors. I feel so much better. There are no more tears left for me to cry, though the bags under my eyes are huge!! If we get another child, her name will not be Lexi. There will only be one Lexi. We feel we will always be her parents. They told us they are going to take Lexi back home and get her the medical care she needs and possibly be able to put her up for adoption in 1-2 years. We think they were telling us this to make us feel better. Christine seemed doubtful also. We believe that Lexi will never know any better. We wonder about her future and how long she will live. The pictures of her taken just 3 months ago of her show so much more life than she has now. She is going downhill. We will probably never know what happens to her, but we will always love her.
We will update again as soon as we find out anything else. Thank you all for your love and support. We feel it strongly all the way on the other side of the world!!!
Presley's Adoption Timeline
- 8/15/2007 - Received referral for Geneva!
- 9/13/2007 - Sent LOI (letter of intent) to our agency
- 9/29/2007 - LOI was sent to China!
- 10/08/2007 - LOI was delivered to the CCAA in China
- 10/29/2007 - PA (pre-approval) was issued!!
- 1/15/2008 - DTC (dossier to China)
- 1/18/2008 - Dossier delivered to CCAA
- 1/25/2008 - LID (log-in date)
- 4/1/2008 - LOA (letter of acceptance)
- 4/25/2008 - CCAA issues TA (travel approval)
- 5/22/2008 - Leave for China!!!
- 5/25/2008 - Met our sweet Lexi!
- 5/26/2008 - Discovered Lexi had brain damage
- 5/30/2008 - Met precious Presley!
- 6/7/2008 - Arrived home