Three Princes and a Princess

Our Journey to Gabriella step at a time.....

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meeting Gabriella Lin Pagano

First let me tell you that I got 6 hours of straight sleep last night! WOOHOO, that was the most sleep I have gotten in over a week so even though I was up at 4 AM I still feel better than I did!

Yesterday was surreal, I know I keep using that word but I can't find any other words to describe the feeling.  I was told they would call my room around 11 and tell me where to meet my daughter.  Our guide, Maggie called at 10:55 and told us that the director was bringing Ellie to us and he would be here in 25 minutes.  EEEEEEEEEEEK!!! So around 11:35 our time I met Ellie.  The director of the Fuzhou orphanage and a nanny brought Ellie to meet us and Maggie was also there.  Ellie came to me clutching the little purple and white doll and photo album of our family that I had sent to her back in September.  They all did their best to translate for me and the moments were great but a bit awkward meeting your child in a lobby of a hotel! The woman on the right in this picture is Maggie, she is wonderful!

After a few minutes we went back up to my room and Maggie and Heather worked on paperwork while Ellie cried and cried and cried.  Let me tell you, her grief was palpable and it broke this mama's heart.  She was so hot from crying so I started peeling off her layers, she came to me in a winter jacket and snowpants, 2 long sleeve shirts, a sweater and 2 pairs of leggings on!

Here she is trying to open the door so she could leave..................sob sob!

Somewhere in the midst of her cry-fest she did throw up, poor baby.  She finally stopped crying after three days 45-minutes and what finally did it was the purse I bought her.  I showed Ellie how she could carry all her treasures, 2 small books, bracelets, her cell phone and chapstick in this purse so from that moment on she carried the purse, the photo book and the doll around.  I couldn't get her to eat anything but she did take a bottle from me. 

In the midst of cleaning up the throw-up and getting my papers back in order, Maggie burst back in to the room and said it was time to go.  In my haste I forgot my stroller, the ergo, more clothes for Ellie.....oops! We rushed off with another AAC family that is here to the civil affairs office.  There were 4-5 other families there and it felt like CHAOS! We went from room to room with no rhyme or reason and there was no heat in the building (maybe turned off for Chinese New Year?).  One of Ellie's nannies was there and she came over 3 times to pull her leggings down and button her coat.  In China, the children dress in many layers and I would have dressed her warmer had I had a bit more time to prepare, oh well, remember I admitted to making lots of mistakes this trip! Here we are with the director of her orphanage that oversaw her foster care.

I am so thankful that we have another AAC family here with us, the Kim family from Chicago.  It is nice to share this experience with them.  They adopted a beautiful 2-year old, Emma from Nanchang.  I also recognized another RQ child at the civil affairs office and walked up to Julie (with Serena) and introduced myself! We didn't have much time to talk with all the craziness but it was very nice to talk with them, Serena speaks English so well (she is 12-years old and beautiful). 

After the civil affairs office, the Kim family, Heather, Ellie, Maggie and I were driven in a van to the notary office for Ellie's province where we were whisked in and I signed a lot of paperwork and then again the man disappeared and Maggie rushed me out (gift #2 not given............shoot!).  We were back in the van to drive to Emma's province notary office and keep in mind no one had eaten lunch and the babies hadn't napped! I kept feeding Ellie Gerber puffs and Maggie gave her some sort of bread treat and she was such a trooper! Our last stop in our very harrowing van ride was the police station where the girls had to get their pictures taken for their passports.  That went off without a hitch but apparently there is a new fee imposed now for expediting so we paid the extra money and were finally done with errands. 

Once we got home I knew Ellie needed a little nap even though it was around 4:30 by then.  I laid in bed with her and she fell asleep with all her treasures.

We had Maggie order pizza for us and I think we ended up paying $45 USD for this pizza but it was SO.WORTH.IT!

I had already stocked up on food for Miss Ellie at a local market so she ate a very good dinner of noodles and a clementine.  Could my little noodle girl get any cuter?!

We played a bit after dinner and she really is such a funny girl.  She would pick up the hotel phone and turn and look at us out of the corner of her eye and laugh, she knew she was being naughty!  She gave me several kisses when I asked her to yesterday and it melts my heart.  This little girl's world was turned upside down and she is so amazingly resilient.  I know we aren't out of her grieving process but I feel like things are going well.  Here she is after her bath and before we skyped with my family back home.  The boys LOVED seeing Ellie and every time they would talk to her she would smile and run away from the computer only to come back over and over.  She waved bye-bye to her brothers and daddy so it was a great night. 

After the excitement of her day, I gave her a bottle around 8 and then laid with her until she fell asleep.  I am thrilled she is taking a bottle from me even though it isn't the norm by US standards.  I love the bonding time with her when she feels secure and happy and we can just look at each other. 

My sister, Heather has been indispensable! I have been all over the place emotionally and she has been there for me and has been amazing, I am so thankful.  At all of our appointments yesterday I was holding Ellie and all her gear and different people would ask for various paperwork or passports or they would hand me things and she would just do what was needed to help, thanks H, love you!

Overall things are going amazing! Ellie is shorter than I thought she would be and she is very healthy and solid to carry.  Her skin is darker than I imagined too and she is far more beautiful in person than I have dreamed about.  She has been using the potty well but I still have her in pull-ups just in case. I will be honest and say that the orthopedic issues in her right hand and foot are more significant than we had thought.  I don't care in the least except I pray the recovery and healing of any additional surgeries for her be easy on her, she has already been through too much.  I will post more at another time about her special needs , I rarely talk about it because it doesn't matter to me but I am sure people are curious and I don't intend to be cryptic.

It is not even 6 here yet and Ellie is still sleeping.  Today we are sharing a van with the Kim family and going to do some sightseeing to a famous Pagoda and also People's Park, I am really looking forward to it.  Thank you for all the support from home and to everyone who reads this.  I have to say, I only started this blog for myself so I would remember this amazing journey but I am grateful others like it too. 

I feel so blessed to finally be with the daughter of my heart, I am so, so thankful and love her beyond measure. 


  1. She is so so beautiful!! I agree, her skin looks darker than her other photos. I am so glad that things are going well. I am glad your TA came in time for H to travel w/you! Sounds like she is a huge help. Keep the pictures coming! I love hearing all about your experience and seeing sweet Ellie!

  2. Wow--she is just sooo adorable!!! I'm so glad you are posting--this is such interesting stuff! I hope she continues to connect with you, sounds like you are doing a fabulous job. Sisters are the best, huh?

  3. really happy for you have a very cute girl on your hands aim glad you your finally with her all the best to you in your journeys to come


  4. Carrie, you are a very good blogger! Great details and pictures, We are all enthralled with your storytelling, please keep it coming! Congratulations!!!

  5. Carrie, I am in awe of you and this entire blog. She is adorable, and I can't wait to meet her. Sam is doing well during the day, so don't worry about him.:) He was a little tired today, and he did say he missed you this am. I asked him if he wanted a hug, and I was so excited he said yes. He was good the rest of the day, just tired. He is counting the days til you get home and to meet his sister. :) Great idea keeping this blog, so you will never forget any small detail. Congratulations again. This is amazing.

  6. Ellie is beautiful! Love following your journey!

  7. Carrie,
    I'm praying for you and your family. I'm so proud of you and all you are doing. Wow!! AMAZING! Making life changes- Making a difference in this little precious baby's life. I'm so excited for you and your family. What a journey. I look forward to reading your blog and seeing pictures. I hope to one day meet Ellie-she is so sweet and perfect in everyway.

    So Lord, I lift up Carrie, Heather and baby Ellie as they travel. I ask that you would send an army of angels to protect them in every way. I pray for peace and comfort through this journey. I ask that you would carry them through this transition. I pray for abundant blessings, upon blessings. That they would feel your presence through this whole situation. That you would bring great joy and happiness to this family. I pray that every detail would fall into place. Lord I ask that you would go before them each step of the way. Thank you Lord for what you are doing. In Jesus name, AMen

  8. Love reading your blog! I am Jackzhen's mama from RQ and I have been following your story! Hopefully we will be in those same shoes by April!!! In this post I was so excited to see that you can SKYPE!!!! What province are you in that allows that? I thought I had heard you couldn't in certain parts of China! Thanks for sharing your blog with everyone! my email if it is easier is - take your time :)

  9. Loved this post... She is adorable. Good thing I can't afford a third child.....

    The bit about her crying and posts broke my heart too. I mean I kept thinking what you wrote the last few days.. she was with the family for a LONG time. I know my youngest was with multiple people in his short l5 months before the last move to the transition home. I just keep thinking about her foster parents. Ohhhh mmyyyyy I could not give her up.. just being honest.

    I am curious about her orthopedic issues because I assumed she had a repaired cleft palate.. Yeah... nothing like stereotyping with some of the adoptions I have heard about there.

  10. Crumbs, I'm crying just reading about everything!!! Many {{HUGS}} to you all!!!!!