Well, we're awake. and totally overjoyed.
our little baby is insanely adorable. the photos didnt do her justice... huge curious eyes, long beautiful eyelashes, perfect little lips -- and on an on. she's just a knockout from head to toe.
she has a little cold or something that is causing her a tiny bit of discomfort, but other than that she is in great health. she's a little fatty -- no real concerns about proper nourishment from a visual inspection. no rashes, no pink eye -- none of the little issues that are pretty common in orphanages.
all in all, we are super excited. today she's opening up a little more -- smiling, voicing her little objections to the problems of modern living, etc. She really digs her little "ipod" toy and the mirror -- both fascinating. also, her food. she LOVES food. the nanny said, "she not cry, so if she cry, she hungry".
Speaking of the nanny, she was pretty devastated about having to give little Hien away. It was hard for us -- she held our baby for most of the day yesterday (while the other families all held their own babies) and was literally standing outside the van touching the glass (you know in movies where someone is in prison, and they do the touch-through-the-glass-in-the-visit-room?) and staring at us/baby as we drove off.
Then, randomly, we get a knock on the door after we get home. Turns out it is Lieu (the nanny)'s sister, who had also help care for our kiddo. She cried too and sort of let herself into our room and hugged and kissed and fed the baby.
All a little offputting in a way. You don't want to take a baby from someone that cares about her -- but Lieu was very clear that she was happy for us and Hien, and just asked us to send photos. Really, it's comforting knowing that she was SO cared for the past few months. All of the children at this orphanage were loved and treated like important little people.
Even the director of the orphanage, a funny little man called Mr. Lep (or something like that) was super caring and affectionate towards the babies and the kids around the Center. Culturally, he couldn't just "show" how much he liked them, but he playfully slapped at all their cheeks and said things in Vietnamese that would crack himself up while he looked down at the baby like a proud dad would. All very sweet.
The orphanage itself was a nice place, a run-down, but happy little u-shaped buidling complex with a courtyard in the outskirts of the city of Tuyen Quang - a bustling little Village in the middle of beautiful countryside just a few hours north of Hanoi. there were lush foresty areas and rice fields on the way up there, and spectacular mountains that seemed to "grow" differently than their american counterparts -- jutting straight up into the sky, with rocky point shooting off in funky directions. all very beautiful.
The day was long and tiring, but obviously good. Even the food at the luncheon was better than anticipated. BOTH of us ate a little of everything. Some of it was even bordering on "yummy", although none of it LOOKED very yummy. we were both very pleasantly surprised. Mr. Lep sat near us and made a good half-dozen "toasts" throughout, happily clanking his mug of Hanoi-made beer against Mark's mug and laughing at Tallia for wasting a good beer mug on Coke.
The ceremony was interesting, but more of a procedural thing than an exhilarating experience. We have video of that, so you can see for yourself when we have time to upload that.
The ride their was long, the ride back was longer. Lots of road construction going on everywhere, though its not entirely clear why they picked THAT particular stretch of road, which made for a bumpy ride. Luckily, our little one is pretty sturdy, so she slept through much of it and we didnt have to worry about her neck.
Today we're all learning a lot about each other, having fun, cleaning up some messes, etc. We will pick up her passport today (still no name. soon!)
Also -- GREAT news; heard from agency that the previous group of families that picked up babies from Tuyen Quang (our orphanage) got their Visas approved!! so that is a very POSITIVE sign. clearly, we're not out of the woods yet, but news like this is undescribably exciting for us.
That's it for now, i'll throw a couple more photos on and then have to get back to this amazing little creature.
thanks to all that are posting comments. we havent had time to respond, but we read every letter of every word and it makes us super happy to hear from you all.
more posts later if the time works out. keep sending good vibes for easy adoption.