U.S. ET Time:
09/25/20 - 10:05pm
China Time:
09/26/20 - 11:05am
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12/30/08 4:55PM - Here are some of the famous red couch pictures! see pictures

12/30/08 4:21PM - It is December 30th and our last night in Guangzhou. Its a strange feeling but we are actually a little sad about leaving. This has really been the best part of the trip. This is where we really got to know Joanna. The White Swan lived up to its name and the shops in the streets were lots of fun. We bought souvenirs and memorabilia for Joanna.

The weather was not the greatest during our stay here.... cool and muggy... no sun the entire time.. so that we will remember. Really bad hair weather.... (:

BUT.... we are definitely excited about leaving to come home. We are about to start packing. We will have an early morning again tomorrow. We have to grab some breakfast in time before the bus leaves. We have an appointment at the U.S. Consulate where we will pick up Joanna's Visa. Afterwards, we can stop back at the hotel to pick up our bags and board the bus again for a three hour ride to Hong Kong. It looks like we are leaving a little earlier too....so we won't get there so late which is better.

We will spend one night in Hong Kong and our flight leaves for Newark the next day. We should land in Newark at about 2:00 pm U.S. time!!!

It has been an awesome trip overall but we miss home. We definitely felt the extra days that were added onto our trip last minute...

We are done with living out of a hotel room. We want our space back! We are looking forward to being in our house again! We want U.S. Food! We want to see everyone! and most of all we can't wait for everyone to see Joanna!!!!

We will try to post some more pictures over the next 48 hours but we probably won't have a chance to write anymore..... so..... SEE YOU SOON!!!!!!! Here we come Newark, NJ!!!!!!!!!! U. S. !!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!

12/30/08 4:15PM - Just had a few moments to look back through out the site and realized that we really did not capture "gotcha day" that well. It seems we skipped over the most important moment of the trip! Here's why. IT WAS COMPLETELY INSANE THE FIRST 24 HOURS AFTER GETTING OFF THE PLANE IN NANNING!!!

But here's what happened.... We arrived in Nanning and got off the plane to find out that they had lost one of our bags. Our guide Xi Xi, tried to help find it, but had no luck. Xi Xi said that we could not wait. We had to leave immediately because we were going to get the babies right then and there! Everyone was freaking out. Xi Xi, who turned out to be our life line while here, told everyone to take a bottle and a toy and get on the bus. She said we were late and that the orphanage workers were all at the Civil Affairs building waiting for us. Xi Xi was rushing everyone onto the bus. It was so hard not to cry because we did not even have a bottle for Joanna. No one knew that it would happen this way, plus everything for Joanna was in the missing suitcase! Our travel companions were awesome and gave us what we needed. We all boarded the bus and drove about 15-20 minutes to the Civil Affairs building.

Once we arrived, they took us to a room where we waited just a few moments. Everyone stood there on pins and needles and one by one they started to take the babies into the room. Grace was taken into the room first. Grace is an older child and at four years old she understood in her own way what was happening. She was brought over to her parents literally kicking and screaming and it was so hard to watch.

Each baby came in separately carried by an orphanage worker. Most of them were crying. There names were called out in Chinese and each baby was handed over to her parents.

We heard Joanna's Chinese name before we recognized her. All the babies were bundled up so we could hardly see their faces. We heard "Ye Gui Qin" and Xi Xi nodded to me and I walked up to her. Joanna cried and cried. I took her in my arms and she was screaming her head off. I held her tight and sang to her. I rocked her but every time she looked up at me, she screamed some more.

We stood in this room with the babies all screaming and cameras rolling for maybe 15 minutes. Then, the Director spoke and Xi Xi translated. She told us to take the babies with us overnight and come back the next morning at 9am to make it official. They quickly ushered us out and back into the bus. All the while all the babies cried, including Joanna. Moments after the bus started to move, Joanna passed out on me. And that is one of the first pictures posted of her.

We arrived at the hotel about 1/2 hour later and checked in. We tried the best we could to comfort her. She hated us. We were very scared. She did drink a bottle but kept turning away from us and screaming. She actually slept good that night.... sort of cried herself to sleep. Jay and I were up all night. Joanna woke up at about 3-4am. In the dark room she looked right at me and cried but she held my fingers so tight. I could tell she was scared and so were we.
She eventually fell back asleep. When she woke up she seemed a little calmer.

That morning we left early to go back to the Civil Affairs building. Little by little, Joanna was warming up to us. Throughout the day she was more comfortable looking at us and cried less and less. What a difference a day makes because.... all of a sudden she needed us. She cried when we put her down. It all seems kind of blurry now but very quickly, almost overnight, this baby girl changed. Within another day or two, we started to get small smiles and now, about two weeks later....she is laughing out loud with us.

The moment of "gotcha" was all captured on camera and at some point it will be posted.... but the cord for the video camera was left back at home so we are not able to post it from here....

Anyway.... that's how it went. What a night. Jason and I laid awake almost all night scared out of our wits. Somehow, we pulled it together and functioned the next day. What a team. Team LaRosa-Levy....


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