Long day, folks.  I'm not gonna lie.  We're all pretty whiped out.  the morning started great but the afternoon was tough...

9:00am - Meet in hotel lobby after breakfast to load up and head right back to the Adoption Affairs Building (same place we all received our children yesterday) to finalize adoptions.  This went well.  We were all a little concerned about the kiddos remembering this place and thinking they were going to get handed off again but they were all fine.

10:00am - Straight from Adoption Affairs Building to Notary Office to have finalized adoptions notarized.  Everything went well here too except that the "natives got a little restless" while we were waiting for all the papers to be signed so I took Quinn out in the stairwell and she showed me that she is already pretty good at navigating stairs - woo hoo! 

Side note: after we had just come down the same flight of steps we had been up and down about 216 times, a Chinese woman appeared and started making Chinese baby talk to Quinn.  I played along and we said "Ni Hao" (hello) and "Che Che" (thank you) and I was about to turn and go back up the steps when the woman persisted and was motioning for us to come closer.  At this point, it would benefit you to know that, as with pretty much all Chinese adoptions by American parents, the typical Chinese person on the street who sees you with a Chinese baby will not understand.  Most of them stare, quite diligently.  Some take it a step further and point at you and start talking loudly in what would seem to be a very offensive tone.  We were cautioned many times over ahead of time to expect this and not to take offense, as it is just what Chinese people do when they don't understand something.  Well, that's all fine and good - but it doesn't help much when it actually happens to you.  Anyway, back to the stairwell...  So this woman wants us to come closer, and she's being apparently genuinely sweet, so I bring Quinn over closer to her.  She keeps making Chinese baby talk (at least I think she is; in retrospect, she may have been saying something like "...hey kid - come here.  Your American daddy is an idiot - watch, I'll show you...").  Then, sort of out of nowhere, she grabs Quinn's hand and pulls her in to where she can get her arm around her and starts waving to me and saying "bye bye" like her and Quinn are leaving.  Not only am I not the least bit amused, but had there been anyone else around, I'm sure I would've turned some heads at how quickly I scooped Quinn up and practically ran out of there.  Had I the least bit of a Mandarin vocabulary, kidnapper lady would've gotten an earful on my way...

Seriously???  Did that REALLY just happen???  I felt the need to let our agency know that they need to update their cautionary training to include "how to spot fake baby talkers"!  Hopefully she was just being playful and harmless but having been subjected to all the staring, pointing and talking, I guess I just assumed the worst.  The mental image of this strange woman running off with my already confused precious baby girl just kept playing over and over like a bad commercial in my head...  Oh well.  It's over now.  On to the rest of the day...

12:00pm - Back at hotel with just enough time to grab lunch before heading out again.

1:00pm - Quinn, Michaela and I load up into a van with Rita and a driver and head out for Zhoukhou (pronounced "Joe Ko").  This is the city where Quinn's orphanage is located.  We have to go there to apply for Quinn's Chinese passport (she cannot apply for a U.S. passport as she will not be a U.S. citizen until she is firmly planted on U.S. soil - certainly looking forward to THAT day!  Another side note: We have all been saying how, now that the adoptions are final, can't we just go home???  Of course, it wouldn't work because none of our kids would be able to stay long without passports/visas, but it's fun to talk about; we're all starting to show signs of missing home - especially home COOKING; you can only eat Chinese food so many days in a row, you know?)  Sorry for all the digressing...  So, we have to drive to Zhoukhou.  It's nearly 3 hours.  About like driving from Shreveport to Dallas.  Not only are we going there to apply for Quinn's passport, but - and we find this out from Rita once we're already en route - if we have time, we will get to stop by her orphanage!  She explains that, though we cannot enter the orphanage, we will be allowed to take pictures of the front gate - the place where she was abandoned.  When I asked Rita why we couldn't go in, she kind of hesitated and said that basically, the orphanage directors are fearful of losing their jobs because, if word ever got out that something wasn't being done right or didn't appear good or "perfect" as she described it, whether true or not, the government would certainly look into it and that orphanage could be shut down or the people who work in it could be fired at a minimum.  I told her I understood.

4:00ish - We arrive at the Zhoukhou "Public Security Bureau".  We meet Wang Xu, the orphanage official and young man in the hat you may remember seeing in the very first picture of Quinn right when we first walked into the Adoption Affiars building on gotcha day.  He is the one who actually brought Quinn from Zhoukhou yesterday (remember, she already made this drive once!) Rita informed us after leaving this office that Wang Xu spent nearly the entire ride from Zhoukhou to Zhengzhou (when he wasn't being thrown up on) entertaining Quinn and trying to get her to learn saying "mama" and "daddy".  Pretty sweet of this guy and certainly NOT the norm in these situations.  Anyway, we met Wang Xu and he helped us complete the application for Quinn's passport.  We signed one piece of paper, Quinn got her picture taken and we were done.  We took a quick picture with Wang Xu and were back in the van by 4:20 (FYI, Quinn was NOT interested in getting back in the van at this point!)

4:45pm or so - We arrive at the "Zhoukhou City Social Welfare Institute".  I'm secretly a little worried that Quinn will recognize the place and freak out - but she doesn't.  She's just eating one of those sponge cake biscuit thingies - happy as can be.  So we all get out and take a look.  It's another one of those surreal moments.  Kinda like when we first arrived in China but not in a good way like that was.  This is a very sobering and gut-wrenching surreal.  All I can think about the whole time we're standing there at that gate is that, somewhere, possibly even right where we are standing, about 2 years ago, a mother, maybe even with the father in tow, quietly made her way to this place, probably under cover of night, probably frightened, certainly very sad, and gently laid our beautiful, brand new yet very helpless, precious baby Quinn, somewhere conspicuous enough for her to be seen but hidden enough for them to steal away in the darkness without being seen.  I have wondered before and wonder still to this day whether they stayed nearby long enough to make sure someone came and got her.  Doesn't matter I guess.  She's safe and in our arms now and that never would've happened without the extremely unnatural act that God was watching take place on that October night in 2010.  It's so strange what a dichotomy this is...  On the one hand, I catch myself judging the parents of these abandoned children - how could they EVER DO THAT?!?!?  Then, on the other hand, it is because of one of these "selfish" acts that I am able to experience a love like no other for a child I never would've known had they not.  Besides, who am I to cast stones...

5:00pm - Back in the van headed back toward Zhengzhou.  We're both pretty emotionally drained after this and we still have a 3 hour drive ahead of us.  Needless to say, Quinn showed a bit of a wilde side toward the end of this drive.  But you know what?  I think she did GREAT considering 1) there are no carseats ANYWHERE in China (including our van), 2) this was only her second experience in a vehicle and she had to stay in it for 6 nearly consecutive hours, 3) number 2 would've been hard enough for a kid who had known nothing but a loving family her entire life - throw in having been in an orphanage then suddenly uprooted and given to perfect strangers 24 hours before and I think I would've been pretty much INSANE myself!

8:00pm - Back at hotel.  As soon as we got into the lobby, Quinn returned to her sweet, easy demeanor - looking up and around at everything, pointing, giving the "O" face, the whole nine...  We quickly had dinner and got her down.  Poor baby girl ended up having what I think may have been a night terror about an hour after she fell asleep.  She started crying uncontrollably and, when we tried to console her, she at first seemed to be OK but then started again, even harder this time.  I turned on the lights and her eyes were wide open but she couldn't focus on either of us.  Eventually we got her to settle down and go back to sleep.  Just WAY too much stress on her little mind and body - glad this day is over to be quite honest.  Necessary I know but like I said, pretty tough.

I'm off to bed now too.  We have a "free" day tomorrow and it couldn't be more welcomed.  Love you all and oh - by the way, I got to catch up on all of your posts to our guestbook (Michaela has been keeping up but I slacked a little yesterday).  Anyway - WOW, y'all!  Incredible how wonderful and truly AMAZING you all are.  We feel so completely lifted up each and every day by you.  Y'all are who keep us going.  This is an incredibly rewarding and God-filled journey, but it is a long and physically/mentally challenging one too and, without your support, it just wouldn't be as easy y'all.  We love you all SOOOO MUCH!!!!!

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Good Morning Sunshine!!!