I was so tired last night that I didn’t get a chance to post anything about Zoe’s Giving and Receiving ceremony.
We left for Phu Tho at about 9am for a G&R at noon. On the way there we were told that the G&R had been delayed until 1pm, so I was a little nervous that it wasn’t going to happen. They said that we could get our babies before the G&R though, so we were happy about that. The van stopped in front of the Department of Justice, but we didn’t really know what was going on. Suddenly a woman got out of the car behind us with a baby in her arms saying, “Ha? Ha?” When I finally realized it was Zoe, I ran over to her and she handed Zoe to me. Since our baby was at the smaller orphanage that was farther away, they had brought her to us. This photo was taken when Zoe’s primary nanny handed her to us on the sidewalk. You could tell that this woman cared about Zoe deeply. In her face I could see how she was sad to see Zoe go, but also her joy that Zoe was joining her new family.
Next we went to the main orphanage to get the babies of the other three families. I kept thinking that our G&R had to happen, because I was not giving her back again!
We were able to change her diaper and put her in a dress for the G&R, and Thuy immediately took back the clothes that Zoe had been wearing. I would have liked to have kept her shirt or her hat, but I know they need it at the orphanage more than we do. They also handed us a bottle of formula, but asked us to pour it out into our own bottle so they could have their bottle back.
We went to have lunch, but no one really ate much. We were too excited to get to the G&R.
When we arrived back at the Department of Justice, we went to a room on the third floor. We all sat around a large wooden conference table signing paperwork before the ceremony began.
The actual ceremony was fairly short. The Minister of Justice (with Thuy translating) asked each of us if we wanted to adopt our babies or if we had had any second thoughts (yeah right!). Then they called each family up individually to do the same thing. Next they asked if we wanted to say anything. I had prepped Christian for this (the husband is supposed to speak), and he did a great job speaking for us and for the other families. He thanked the Minister of Justice and the Vietnamese government for allowing us to adopt the babies, and the orphanage director and nannies for taking such good care of the babies. He promised that we would take care of the babies and that we would make sure she knew about her Vietnamese heritage. Finally, the Minister spoke again. He thanked us for adopting the babies, and asked that we take good care of them. He asked that we make sure that they get a good education, that we teach them to be good citizens, and that we make sure they know the importance of family and of respecting their elders. It was pretty short and sweet.
Noah was a little squirmy, but we gave him a bottle and he did pretty well. Zoe decided to poop (a very stinky one) right after we signed the papers but before the actual ceremony began. I’m glad it didn’t last that long, because I was very anxious to change her!
Afterward we got back in the vans and headed “home” to Hanoi!