I’m sorry, my plan was to write down allll the words and document the trip in full detail. But then we got home and this little thing called… new child… happened.
We just can’t get enough of her. And honestly, the only time I’ve had to write was when she’s sleeping and when she’s sleeping… I have 3 boys who still need me VERY much. Haha!
But there is still a huge part of me that never ever wants to forget the memories and moments we shared in Iloilo City so I will just keep documenting when I get the chance.
Here goes Day 2.
We didn’t keep Janella overnight on day 1. When I shared my initial recap of day 1 I mentioned that we spent the day at her orphanage, but we did end up going back to our hotel that evening and Janella stayed at Dorcas House.
I think it was the best scenario for all of us. It gave Jeff and I a chance to finally rest (after 3+ days of travel and no sleep) and it gave her a chance to meet us, but not be thrown into going with us right away.
This act alone, made me realize that these caregivers have her 100% best interest at heart. And for that, we were grateful.
On day 2 the orphanage administrator, Michaela, brought Janella to our hotel to meet us. We stayed at Seda Atria in Iloilo City. It was a decent place… definitely the nicest place on the island. LOL!
Her island, in general, is VERY poverty stricken.
We didn’t have any plans for the day other than to bond with our girl.
We spent a good amount of time in the hotel lobby just getting to know each other.
It took her a couple hours to let me get near here, but guess what cracked the code? French fries.
I knew right away that her and Parker would be fast friends with the french fry obsession.
I was so thankful that Michaela encouraged her to “go to mommy”. Once she passed her off to me, she never went back. Even when Janella would reach for her… Michaela would turn away. It was so important for Janella to see that Michaela trusted me.
We had a videographer and photographer with us the first 2 days. They were absolutely amazing and truly treated our meeting with Janella as if they were meeting their own daughter for the first time.
In fact, they were both Filipino and spoke the language so they connected with Michaela and the caregivers instantly. They decided to take us to the shore that day so we could get some pictures.
They don’t do car seats there…. sooooooo, she got to sit on my lap the whole time.
Being the fact that people are crazy drivers in the Philippines… I was a little nervous. Haha! But, I didn’t mind having her on my lap and she even fell asleep.
Janella was pretty quiet and timid the entire 2nd day. I could see the confusion and fear in her face. It broke my heart for her.
She only cried a handful of times, but she was so nervous.
I tried my best to comfort her, but there’s not much comfort in having some stranger hold you and tell you everything is going to be ok.
One thing was certain, I became her safety person. She wanted nothing to do with Jeff at first. And she didn’t let me put her down that ENTIRE day.
It’s a good thing she’s light as a feather because oh my word… I think I held her for 8 straight hours without a break.
Our photographer had a twinkle twinkle app on his phone and she loved that. As long as it was playing, she was content. So we just let her carry it around the whole time.
Michaela took us to the local grocery store so we could get some formula and snacks that Janella was used to.
It was neat to see the local atmosphere, but it’s just so very different from what we have her in the US.
I love this next picture so much because that is the face she gave us for nearly the first 3 days straight.
Around 4:00 PM, Michaela took us back to the hotel and we stayed in the lobby for a bit. It was almost time for her to leave her with us and I was getting very nervous. Mostly that Janella was going to be very scared.
Michaela had me take her up to the room while she was sitting in the lobby and then she snuck out. I’m not gonna lie… she was afraid. And she clung to me even closer.
One of the first things we did was give her a bath. Well, not a bath because our hotel only had a shower. But we wanted to get her clean, especially because it is HOT there and we were all very sweaty from being outside. Plus, the first cleaning is like a cleansing of the orphanage.
We didn’t realize that she had never had a bath before, let alone felt warm water. She was not happy about it. LOL!
At her orphanage they didn’t have a tub or shower. They used a bucket and a cup and COLD water.
So, I feel like we traumatized her during her warm shower. Luckily, it was a handheld shower so it came off the wall and we tried to be as cautious as we could.
But still… it wasn’t her favorite moment.
But one thing was certain… she was CLEAN!!! YAY!
For most of the first night, she sat right between us and just looked at the toys. Her favorite was definitely the little book.
As soon as she realized Jeff was too close she would move over. I knew it would just take time for her to warm up to him. She has never had a man in her life.
Overall, her first night was amazing. She went to sleep around 8 PM and woke up the next morning about 5 AM. I gave her a bottle and she went back to sleep until about 6 AM.
Day 3 was a HUGE day… lots of amazing things happened. I’ll update on that next and include pictures of her orphanage. Stay tuned.
To read more about our journey you can check out our ADOPTION PAGE and also read about the rest of our trip…