When we arrived at the hotel, our adoption agency rep was waiting for us in the lobby. The other families who’d taken the train were just ahead of us, and the families who were flying had not yet arrived. We learned a bit about our upcoming schedule, were given our name badges and an updated information sheet on our child, and got checked in.
Our first view of our hotel room:
I think the bottom dropped out of my stomach when I saw the crib! I couldn’t believe it was REALLY our turn. We were here to get our little guy! We left our stuff in the room and went down to the Italian restaurant for lunch with some of our group. The food tasted ok but took forever to get.
When we returned to our room, I suddenly felt like I had a million things to do. At this point, Kevin’s journal says I went hormonal. I like to call it nesting. I wanted everything unpacked and set up for our big week ahead. Fortunately for Kevin, he had an excuse to leave the room. Our rep asked for 1 person in each family to go with the group to the bank to exchange money. So, he left and I went into full nesting mode. All that nesting energy I’d held back up to this point unleashed in a flurry!
The significance of those name badges on the desk simply cannot be overstated. I can’t tell you how many videos and pictures of other adoptive families I’d viewed--my eyes always drawn to the official name badges. I know it may seem silly. For a year I’d been dreaming of those badges...
After I had the room all set up and pictures taken, I sat down to study our soon-to-be-son’s information sheet. It gave a rough outline of his daily schedule, foods he was eating and brand of formula he was given. A little while later, the guys returned from the bank with instructions on meeting back up for a trip to Walmart. I think Kevin was relieved when he entered the room and discovered I’d gotten all that nesting energy out of me.
We met up in the lobby to proceed as a group to Walmart. It was a bit of a walk but not bad empty-handed. We quickly learn how to cross streets and weave our way through the unfathomable crowds and traffic (look out for the scooters on the sidewalks!). At one point, a police officer stuck his arm out in front of Kevin and I and stopped about half our group from crossing a street. We watched, wide-eyed, as the rest of our group continued on without us. Luckily, the reps soon discovered what had happened and all was well.
Once we made it to the area in front of Walmart, the lead rep had us gather around her and she began giving us instructions... lots of instructions. We would enter the building through a small door and proceed up to the next floor, where Walmart was located. Any fresh fruits and veggies needed to be taken to the weighing station to be tagged. Diapers were up on the 3rd floor. Come back down to the second floor to pay. How would we remember everything?! In the meantime, a crowd of locals had gathered to watch us. This was really our first experience with the very obvious staring and pointing. I wanted to take pictures but felt too weird about it.
These conveyor belts took us up to the 3rd floor. The shopping cart wheels stuck in place. Pretty cool! Kevin thought I was weird for taking pics of it. I did better than that--I took video!
We had to provide our own bags and, fortunately, I had read that somewhere. (Was it our agency info or one of the adoption FB groups I’m in?) We had 2 bags but that wasn’t enough. Luckily, there was a free bag attached to a bag of chips we were buying, so we unwrapped it and used the bag. It was a long walk back to the hotel with arms full of toddler snacks (lots and lots of ‘em), formula, bottled water, diapers, wipes, etc.
The trip to Walmart was quite overwhelming and fun! I hadn’t expected it to be so overwhelming. I think part of the reason it was so overwhelming was due to the large size of our travel group. Our 4 reps were doing all they could to help us each find what we needed for our kiddos. They were just stretched thin! We had no clue what snacks to buy or where to find the formula (or what the packaging looked like for the brand we needed). In the end, we got everything we needed and felt as prepared as we could be at that point.
We had dinner in the hotel restaurant (not the Italian one), looked over our schedule for the next day, and went to bed. We would surely need our strength for Gotcha Day!