Taiwan (Part Three)

Ok, so it was a long trip!  Honestly, it felt longer than it really was.  Justin and I have talked a lot about the fact that we wish we could go back to Taiwan without the anxiety around picking up our baby, not knowing anything about international travel, and determination to sight-see, no matter the weather.  Hindsight is always 20/20, huh? 

When we arrived at the church, we went upstairs to the small room where it seems all of the major events take place--couseling of birthmoms, handing over of babies to their families, and so many tears.  We were running on steam, adrenaline, and pure excitement.  I don't even remember the walk up the steps...I didn't know if Amber Joy would be there at the top, already in the room waiting for us or how this would all happen.  It's crazy that eight months (really two years of our entire adoption journey) was about to culminate in a tiny little church in Taiwan on New Year's Eve.  We waited in the room for what seemed like forever, and our missionary friend told us they would be bringing Amber Joy down in just a few minutes.  We took some pictures of us pre-baby and we had a teddy bear that Justin's mom had bought for Amber Joy for Christmas. 

Then, she was there.  In our arms, in our lives forever. 


The photo above is the exact moment in time that we will never, ever forget.  All of the waiting, tears, frustration, and pain were over.  We had our baby girl.  She stared at us, didn't cry, and just looked us over very carefully.  She let Justin hold her too, which was great because she wasn't used to being around men.  We began immediately to give her little kisses and tell her how much we love her.  We had been waiting for her for eight months, but this was really the first time she was presented with the idea of us.  We would have to be patient and wait for those first precious smiles.  We hung out in the room for about half an hour while we took photos and began to really discover each other as a new family of three.  It is an experience I could never possibly put into words.  If I didn't know better, I would say that my heart was leaping out of my chest.  She was so beautiful, so petite and tiny, and so soft and snuggly.  She was only 1.5 lbs at birth and was over 14 lbs now, but she was so very light to hold.  Her lips, her ears, fingers, eyes, nose, and mouth are just gorgeous and we are completely convinced that God has never made a more beautiful baby girl.

Then, it was time to go to the hotel.  Our missionary friends drove us to the Sanpo hotel, right in the middle of Taitung (on New Year's Eve, you remember).  The staff at the desk spoke only Chinese, so our friends checked us in.  We had reserved the honeymoon suite for more space.  It had two beds!  One queen-size mattress on the floor, and another queen bed.  It had hardwood floors, a tea kettle, a TV, and a bathroom that only had a shower with no door or curtain.  The room was nice and our friends let us borrow a baby bathtub and a bassinet.  I was anxious about sleep.  I'm still anxious about sleep.  I am not a good sleeper, never have been, and probably never will be.  My mother tells me that even as a baby, the smallest noise would wake me.  Nowadays, I have a good night's sleep for three or four nights in a row (meaning I only wake up once or twice) and then I'll have a night when every single hour finds me looking at the clock wondering and sure that I just heard Amber Joy crying. 

That first night in Taitung was LOUD.  The garbage trucks come around at night and play what sounds like an old-fashioned ice cream truck's music over their loud speaker.  We found out later that this is so you will know they are close and bring your trash outside.  The New Year's crowd on the street partied all night long and they had fireworks at the nearby stadium.  Our missionary friends had asked if we wanted to go with them to the stadium, but we thought it would be best to just spend some time with Amber Joy in our hotel and get settled.  We found out quickly that the babies like their bottles HOT!  We put the kettle in the room to good use!  We would boil the water in the kettle, fill it to 4 oz, and put 2 oz of bottled room temperature water to cool it down enough.  She was still on formula, so every 3-4 hours, she took a bottle.  Amber Joy played in the room with us and seemed to enjoy the one-on-one attention.  It is really hard to know, and we wondered, what was going through her mind.  She had been in the same place with the same people for all of these months, and suddenly, she was in a hotel room with people she had never seen and everything was unfamiliar.  I could not imagine what it was like for her.

She took 3 oz at 9 p.m. and we changed our first wet diaper.  She finally went to sleep around 10:30, but woke up at 11.  She took 5 oz at midnight and then slept until 6 a.m.  At 6:15, we gave her about 4 oz and she went back to sleep on the bed with Justin.  It was precious.  My jet lag set in that first night around 1 a.m.  I woke up around 1 a.m. and it felt like I had slept for 12 hours straight.  I couldn't believe I could have gone to bed as tired as I was, and wake up feeling that awake after only a few hours.  Justin's jet lag would hit hard in the afternoons around 3 p.m.  We quickly figured out that he would absolutely crash at that time, really with no hope of my waking him. 

Justin ventured out of the room that first night and walked to Pizza Hut to get us some dinner.  I ate exactly one piece!  It was really hard to concentrate on anything but this little person who was now totally dependent on us.  We couldn't stop staring at her.  She played on the bed(s) and it seems that we finally were going to get some smiles.  We skyped with some family so that they could see our sweet girl in our arms.  I couldn't believe she actually went to sleep when she did because of all of the noise outside!  It was definitely a night to remember! 

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