China Adoption Trip | Gotcha Day

arriving in Hefei for our gotcha day

Our train pulled into Hefei and we were struck with miles after miles of apartment buildings.  Not just 5 story buildings, skyscrapers.  Miles of them.  Quincy’s town was larger than we could have imagined and the smog haze prevented us from seeing the sun.  It’s known as the “smog city” and located in the Anhui Province of the People’s Republic of China.

We arrived Sunday afternoon, June 9th.  We stepped off the train with our 3 kids, 5 pieces of luggage, a stroller (and what felt like a partridge and pear tree) and somehow navigated the hundreds of people and down the escalator unscathed. We found our guide and hopped into the van to head to our hotel.  We were finally in Quincy’s province and tomorrow, June 10th, was Gotcha day!

hotel crib for adopted child

When we walked into our hotel room there was a tiny crib in the corner.  It was hard to believe.  This was it, tomorrow we would get our son.

signing adoption paperwork

The kids stretched out in their adjoining room while we chatted with our guide about what the next day would look like. He went through all the scenarios of what Quincy might do when handed to us and what we should focus on in the first 24 hours.  Then, we signed all the preliminary adoption paperwork.  If we weren’t nervous before, our hearts were racing a mile a minute at this point.

Our guide headed out, we unpacked and grabbed a quick bite to eat (meaning the kids were not a fan of the noodles so they literally ate a bite) in the hotel noodle restaurant before calling it a night.  We somehow slept, not great, but we did sleep.  We were SO nervous.  It’s hard to explain but we were walking into unknown territory.  We felt the prayers of those back home and we knew God had led us to this point so it was “go time”.

Thankfully, our gotcha day time was in the morning so we didn’t have to sit around all day and wait.  We got up and went to the top floor for breakfast.  Every hotel they booked for us had a western breakfast buffet so we tried to eat despite all the nervous butterflies and also met the other adoptive family that would be joining us.  It was such a comfort to be with another American family.  We could share in the nerves and excitement together.  Having them there felt like a piece of “home” was with us.

adoption gotcha day selfie

Around 8:30 AM, we packed up the diaper bag full of snacks, little toys and the gifts we had brought for Quincy.  A soft navy blue blanket from Nana, a plush football from Solon, a little play phone from Vera and a small stuffed rabbit from Lucy.  We hopped in the van and off we went through the streets of Hefei to the government affairs building.

The building itself didn’t look like a government affairs building, it was just in a row of other buildings along the street.  We hopped off the bus and followed the guide through the non-descript front door.  The only indication we were in a government building was two guards at the entrance who nodded at us as we walked in.  We rode up to the floor that handled marriage and adoption certificates and they filed us into this room with a large boardroom like table and chairs.

There our guide instructed us to get out all the paperwork we had brought with us from the United States while our kids played on iPads and we waited for Quincy to arrive.  Shortly before 9 am, our guide got a call from Quincy’s orphanage letting him know they would be delayed because Quincy wasn’t feeling well.  I didn’t think much of it other than the fact we would have to wait a little longer.

Meanwhile, we got to witness two other families to welcome their children.  Both of those children were older and one little boy was adopted by a Spanish family.  It broke my heart as tears trickled down his face, he was so scared as he cried out for his nanny.  Adoption is born from brokenness.  Meanwhile, we tried to remain calm and prepped Solon with our DSLR camera and Vera with my iPhone to snap photos and videos when Quincy arrived.

I’ll never forget the moment he arrived, the door opened and there he was.  His nanny walked in and he just looked so somber and sober.  I reached out for him and he came to me.  He was warm and collapsed against my body.  We introduced him to the kids and to Scott while our guide handled the paperwork.  He just stared at us with his deep brown eyes.

At one point, I looked up while holding him to see a pile of medication on the table.  I thought to myself, “someone must be quite sick, that’s a lot of medicine.”  Well about 10 minutes later, I realized all that medicine was for Quincy.  He wasn’t just under the weather, he had a high fever and a respiratory infection.

adoption day adoptive mom

Our guide started to go over all the Chinese medicines and how to dose them.  Some we would have to mix with water, others we would have to grind up and place under his tongue.  Scott furiously took notes as my mommy heart started to feel really anxious.  I missed our American healthcare system, I was scared.  Our guide translated other pertinent information to Scott like Quincy’s schedule and that he took 5 bottles a day and had two snacks.  He didn’t “eat” much food.

gotcha day

We finished up the paperwork and had our official adoption photo taken.  Unfortunately, since I was so anxious about Quincy’s health, my one regret is we didn’t get any family photos beside a quick selfie on his gotcha day.  We packed up all of our things after the paperwork was completed and loaded into the van to head back to the hotel for the rest of the day.

Since the orphanage didn’t send any formula or bottles with him, we asked our guide to help Scott locate that.  Our guide, Scott and the other adoptive father left us at the hotel and walked about 15 minutes to the nearest mall to grab essential supplies and food at the grocery store.

The kids and I took Quincy upstairs and snuggled him.  He didn’t have much interest in too much since he didn’t feel well but the kids did get a couple of coos out of him with the stacking cups we had brought along.  After Scott got back and our guide gave us instructions on how to make the bottle (2 scoopfuls of rice cereal along with the formula).  We tried to get him to drink with not much luck.

We spent the rest of the day nursing his high fever and praying fervently that he would be okay.  By the end of the day, we were all mentally and physically exhausted.  Since Quincy was sick, we didn’t want to leave the hotel for dinner, so we reached out to the front desk to help us order a pizza.  Thankfully, the did and delivered 2 pizzas to our room ;).  We sat on the floor of the hotel room, utterly exhausted from the day, for a carpet picnic.  Pizza never tasted so good.

gotcha day matching pajamas

We dressed everyone in the matching pajamas my sister got the kids shortly after and got Quincy tucked into bed, he hadn’t really napped combined with feeling ill, he was exhausted.  We were tired too.  What a day.  A day we will never forget.  The day Quincy James became our son.  Our gotcha day.  It didn’t go quite as we expected but we had a lifetime ahead of us!  Our family was complete and our long-prayed-for son was in our arms.  It was surreal!

If you are just getting caught up on our adoption story, you can catch up on some of the waiting process in these posts –

China Adoption Trip Part 1

Adoption Announcement

Adoption Process Part 1

Adoption Process Part 2

Adoption Process Part 3

Adoption FAQ

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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