Wednesday, May 16, 2007




Officially, legally, finally…ours!
As I type, there is the sweetest little Vietnamese baby peacefully sleeping in the bed next to me. And she’s not going away! She’s ours forever! We just got back from the Giving and Receiving ceremony where the Vietnamese government “gave” and we “received” this precious gift. Dan is still running around with the other dads filing the paperwork to get her passport so Reagan and I are here together in our hotel room (with a view that I still cannot get over – it is gorgeous!). The ceremony itself was more of a photo op than anything very official feeling. We all sat down in a small conference room around an oval table, on chairs very much intended for asian-sized bottoms, with the director of the orphanage and the head of the provincial government here (I think!). The only thing that hinted at the gravity of the occasion was the bust of Uncle Ho and bright red and gold banners behind us. There was a short introduction, the government guy asked us to take good care of the babies and bring them back here some day, and each of the families were asked to give a short speech. We had signed the paperwork before any of the authorities were even in the room, so the official “this is the G&R” part was simply them handing us the papers and posing for a picture. We were probably only all seated there together for 20 minutes or so. But it did the trick and she’s now here with us!
The hard part really was at the orphanage. We picked the children up there before going to the government building and I wasn’t prepared for how emotional that would be. First we attended a meeting with the director and vice director of the orphanage – more of the same “please take good care of them and teach them about their culture” stuff. They also asked that we teach them the Vietnamese language, but given the fact that we’re having a rough time just learning how to pronounce our daughter’s name correctly, that’s a request that will probably be left unfulfilled.
After the meeting we went downstairs to where the nannies were saying good-bye. It was obvious that the girl primarily responsible for taking care of Reagan was having a really hard time. Over the past 3 days when we’ve been at the center she’s rarely made eye contact with us, and has been reluctant to let us hold her. At first I thought she was just a cold personality, but as I watched her interact with Thao Van (Reagan) it became quite clear to me that she was just sad. She loves this little girl, and has spent the better part of most days enjoying and caring for her. While I’m sure she knows that an orphanage is not the best place for any child to grow up, I can certainly understand her pain. She avoided handing Reagan to us until the very last moment, and after she did, she quickly slipped away behind a cabinet to hide her emotion. Before leaving we had the Dillon staff translate for us telling her just how much we appreciated all that she has done for our daughter, and at that she held my arm for just a moment before slipping away again. Dan and I were both in tears too as we then walked out of the orphanage with Reagan and literally just the clothes on her back. Speaking of which, each of the baby girls who were adopted today were dressed in the very best that the orphanage had. We were glad to have brought quite a bit of clothing and toys to leave there so we didn’t feel as bad taking their nicest things. Reagan’s little outfit was sweet and clean, and something I will treasure forever.
Since we’ve been back at the hotel Reagan has just been an angel. So far she seems to be a very easy-going, laid back child and has only wimpered when we gave her a bath, and just before falling asleep. The other girls have had a little harder time, so we are counting ourselves very blessed. Of course, that all could change – we’ve only known her a few short hours, but so far we’re having a ball. I think that her obvious attachment to her nanny, Luc, is a blessing and will help her bond to us more readily. We’ve been enjoying a quiet afternoon at the hotel watching the fishermen in these great little round boats out on the South China Sea. Tomorrow we sit on a bus for 6 ½ hours or more with three babies who before today had never been outside of the four walls of their nursery. That will be the real test!

13 comments:

Scott and Leslie said...

Oh! Congratulations! It has to be so hard on those nannies! I am glad to hear that they love the babies and take such good care of them while they are in the orphanage. Post pictures when you can!

Bill, Paula & Will Cook said...

Thank you for loving your new, sweet daughter enough to love her caregivers too. I am praying today especially for her nanny, that God would touch her heart in a special way.

Thanks also for sharing your special trip with us. It has been so helpful to follow and learn, and we've even encouraged our extended families to follow along so that they too might understand a bit of this experience. Your vulnerability is helping so many others! Thank you and enjoy that darling girl! :)

Paula

jjm said...

It's official! She's yours! That is so wonderful! I'm happy to hear that your first day is going so well and I'm hoping you have an equally peaceful bus ride. Thank you for sharing your journey, and congratulations!

Leigh said...

OH, Happy Day!

I am just so inspired...so happy for you, and yet, a little emotional myself...longing to have the same experience.

Congratulation and thank you, so much, for sharing your journey!

LaLa said...

Congrats and thanks for all the details. It is so different from our experience in China..I kind of dread the orphanage part in Vietnam..just so sad. Have a wonderful time with your daughter!

Josh and Laina said...

My heart is full right now with excitement and awe. She is so beautiful and she's yours! We're so happy for you and are praising God for bringing her to your family.
Hope you are feeling rested and that the rest of your trip goes smoothly. We miss you!
Laina

Julie said...

Congratulations.

I can't even to imagine how emotional that was.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Nicki said...

Congrats! What a happy day! Isn't it surreal? She's not going anywhere, she is your baby forever!!!!!!!!!!

Christina said...

Congratulations!!! What a wonderful, special day. Our g/r was even less of a ceremony than that - just sitting in some office signing papers and then shaking the official's hand. But now it's legal and that's what matters. :)
So glad she is doing well with you already. Hope you have a safe and uneventful trip tomorrow.

Ms_Saigon said...

Yahoooooo, so happy for you all. GREAT to see Reagan in your ARMS and now & FOREVER YOURS!!!! Wow, how Great is our God!!!!

Congratulations, enjoy it all...you'll be home soon enough, but these are AMAZING MEMORIES for you all. God bless...

Love, Kim-Lan & family (home with Maile from NT just 6 wks. ago)

The Varns said...

Congratulations!!!

Susie said...

hey laura, is the nanny in your G & R pic the nanny you referred to in your post? I a sk because the nanny in the picture was Ella's nanny as well. She cried when saying good bye to ella as well. thank God for nannies who love our children. so neat to see you as a family. hope to see more pics of little reagan. glad she is doing well. you mentioned a 3rd family. who is that? thanks for sharing susier

Willis said...

It's so wonderful seeing you at the G&R with your baby! I remember being there 2 months ago at the same ceremony. It is so great to know that sweet little Reagan no longer has to wait on her family! Enjoy Ninh Thuan. It is the the most beautiful place you'll see in Vietnam. We loved it there!
Heather in SC (Rocco's mom)