We woke up at 4:15, but I was already awake and had been for at least a couple hours. Can you say excited? By 5:30 we were on our way for our two hour drive. Today we had a different driver/facilitator - and he was wonderful.
He did not drive like he was from America. He was dodging potholes, pedestrians, and anything else he could. Needless to say, being in the backseat of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, I was not feeling so good (I mean, I really wasn't feeling good). Near the middle of the drive our facilitator asked if I had brought cookies for Aly and I said no, I didn't have room to pack them and I didn't remember to buy them here. He was so kind, he stopped along the way and picked some up (is he great or what!).
When we got to Aly's city we made a business stop, then we headed over to the baby home where we got to meet with the director. She was able to tell us about Aly, and that she is in a groupa with other typical children (mainstreamed already!). They told us how sweet she is, and how much they all love her and are excited for her to get a great family where she can bloom into all that she can be.
The moment finally came when a worker brought her in. I handed Aly the teddy bear I had brought for her and she gave it a soft, gentle hug, and then she cradled it like a baby. She is such a sweetheart! I wanted to take a photo then and there, but we were still mid-meeting and it did not seem appropriate.
Next, the worker put her up on Brian's lap to see how she would do with strangers and especially men since they really don't see many there. She sat quietly and I gave her a cookie... and she said a shortened version of thank you! She has the sweetest little voice. Our meeting wrapped up, and we then got a tour of her sleep room and playroom. Aly went straight to the kitchen play area (oh good, she will love her Christmas present!). The dolls were already in the chairs, but she set the table and we had a little tea party!
I asked if I could give a cookie to the other children and they said yes, so they all sat down in their cute little chairs and had a cookie and the workers went to get their cups for them. After cookie time, a worker dumped a container of toys (cars, trucks, etc.) and guess what the first one she picked up and played with? A helicopter! She was flying that baby around like she had her license (Kira, you've got competition!).
It snowed all day and they were big, huge, snowflakes. I know most of you have real weather, but for this southern California girl, it was fantastic! The Brownings left just in time.
Afterward we went grocery shopping, not fun when you are still feeling nauseous from the car ride (Aly is good medicine, I didn't feel sick at all while at the orphanage!).
After shopping, we went back to the baby house to get the couple whose apartment we will be staying at. (They often rent out their apartments to families who are adopting to earn extra money.) They showed us around the apartment, where things are, how things work, etc. Let me tell you, it feels like The Ritz compared to the other apartment we had just left. Unfortunately, it is not within walking distance, but it is warm and has fast internet. What more could we ask for. Our facilitator was trying to convince us to take the bus to the orphanage, but we will see. It would be a short (and cheap) ride by taxi, so all we have to do is call our facilitator 30 minutes before we would like to leave and he will call the taxi company.
Enjoy the photos!