(Guest blogger: Lorraine. This is the Williams' story. So, while I may offer some anecdotes and sidebars, I will let Julie detail her perspective of the events and all the emotions involved later.)
The day started with a lunch time meeting to get all the paperwork in order! There were with five other families and one translator/worker helping them through this whole process. People talk about adoption as being 'paper pregnant', and that is certainly the case. I caught the end of the meeting, where Meeko (a phonetic spelling, I have no idea the proper way to spell it), the translator, started going family by family and telling each about certain habits of their new child. What they eat for breakfast, are they potty-trained, that kind of thing. When they got to Shiloh (Zhengyi), it was a sheet of paper with a simple schedule of times of when she does stuff. No details at all, just: breakfast 8 a.m., classes 9-11, that kind of thing. All of those 'detail' questions would have to be asked of whatever nanny brought her to the office where they would get her.
Then we made it up the small elevator to the 'civilian affairs office'. This is where they bring all the children being adopted and this is where you have your 'Gotcha' moment. You can arrange to go to the orphanage if you want but that would be on a different day.
When we entered this room, indeed many families were right there having their 'Gotcha' moments right before our eyes. It was overwhelming, and loud. It definitely increased the nerve level as you watched all these kids of all ages joining families. There were families from Spain, and some from other parts of Europe, and some Asian families adopting as well, but mainly Americans.
Travis had already talked about the idea of this not being a private family moment, but this was a little crazy.
Next it was time for another paperwork check.
Out of the five families with Travis and Julie, Shiloh was coming from the closest orphanage. When their group arrived, four kids were already there, and Shiloh was not one of them. We watched as each of their new friends started having their 'Gotcha' moments. It was quite incredible. Also we each grabbed families' cameras and helped take lots of photos. They really appreciated this, that way each parent could really be in the moment, and it got captured too. They didn't have their own paparazzi (as I called myself) like the Williams. One dad was there getting his daughter alone, his wife was home with their other kids (five I think!), so he was very thankful for the photo help.
But still we waited. It seemed like forever (I am sure it did for Trav and Jules), the room was hot. And we waited.