Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Official Adoption Day! – Day 3, November 17

After a brief 3am interlude in which I lay awake for an hour contemplating sleep, I almost got a full night’s sleep! Our little people slept until about 7:30 which was a huge blessing. The little people in the other room had a middle of the night giggle and mobigo session, but then slept until almost 8:00. David woke up happy and ready to play, and he and Lily got right to it. Once the other two were up we got them all ready and headed down to breakfast. Today we were smart and chose a large table with enough place settings for everyone. I took David and Caroline to get food first, and quickly learned that taking David to get food is not a good plan. Every time I put something on his plate he got upset that he couldn’t put it directly in his mouth. I decided to take him back to the table with the little bit of food I had already gotten and let him get started. He seems to really love fruit, and didn’t care much for anything that was bread. I think it’s hard for him to eat. We also learned that he’s not a fan of spicy food! We gave him a “hamburger” (please use this term very loosely, it’s two small circles of bread with some type of shredded meat and spices inside) that was really good yesterday, but today it was much spicier! All of a sudden he started whimpering and throwing his food on the ground. Then he pushed his plate away and tried to collapse on the floor. I caught him and put his food back on the plate, but he was pretty much done after that. He sat on my lap, and a few times grabbed my hand and pulled me on a walk throughout the restaurant.

There was definitely much less staring at breakfast today. Or maybe I was just too busy to notice it. There was one man who came over to talk to us, and when he first approached I was pretty sure we were going to be scolded for something. But instead he told us that he admired our courage and love to take in a child. He said that people here hope that abandoned children find good families for them, and it was so nice to see that happen. He actually came back later and asked to take a picture of us with our kids so he could show his friends and tell them about us.

About 15 glasses of orange juice and just as many little dessert cakes later, we grabbed what we needed for our appointment and met Susie in the lobby. We returned to the Civil Affairs Office where we were yesterday to finalize David’s adoption after the 24 hour harmonious period. His caretakers were there again, and he smiled and waved and was happy to see them but didn’t cry for them or go immediately to them. He seemed happy to hang out with us. Every province seems to do things a bit differently, and in Sichuan Province the orphanage caretakers have to return and sign paperwork saying that they are handing custody rights of the child over to us. Last time the orphanage caretakers did not return the next day, and didn’t sign anything that I can recall. Last time we also went to another part of the building and were asked questions in a tiny room by a notary. This time that didn’t happen either. When we arrived we took a picture for the official adoption decree and then returned to the room we were in yesterday. The registrar came in and she and Susie took care of everything. All we had to do was sign a few papers. When they were finished the notary came in, and again he and Susie did all the talking and we signed some more papers. We handed over a few papers that we had brought and some passport photos, gave them our gifts, and we were done! We also took an official family picture with the orphanage caretakers before they left. We were done in an hour!

Susie asked us if we wanted to return to the hotel or go to a nearby temple. Just thinking of returning to the room for entire rest of the day with nothing to do was enough to make us all run and hide, so of course we said take us to the temple! Our driver maneuvered us through all the crazy back roads, narrowly missing all kinds of people, and parked right in the middle of an older section of town. Our hotel, which was only about a 15 minute walk away, is surrounded by skyscrapers and modern buildings that just make you feel like you’re in any big city. But this section of town definitely felt like China. The Buddhist temple was huge and the architecture was beautiful. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside, unfortunately. We walked through section after section, the smell of incense permeating the air. Each part of the temple was an open courtyard, then an enclosed sanctuary, followed by another courtyard and another sanctuary. I think there were about four different sanctuaries in total. Each courtyard had a large iron bowl with incense and fires burning off to the side. Susie told us that you burn incense in three, or multiples of three, and light two candles. People would be standing in the courtyard facing the door of a sanctuary holding their incense out in front of them with their eyes closed. The people in the sanctuaries were usually kneeling on ornately embroidered pillows in all different colors facing some type of Buddha on an altar. There were several monks in the temple, and one was walking around in one of the courtyards chanting and sprinkling some type of holy water around. The kids did a really good job of staying quiet and walking around with us. Lily was scared of many of the statues and the darkness of the sanctuaries. I’m pretty sure Matthew wasn’t a big fan of the incense based on his somewhat indiscreet nose holding. Hopefully no one noticed him.

Right outside the temple were several streets of shops and vendors. We followed Susie all through them and took in all the sounds and smells. I have really been impressed with all of the kids on this trip. We do quite a bit of walking and they haven’t complained at all! I think they are distracted with who gets to hold David’s hand ;o) It was such a neat experience feeling like we were in the heart of China. I did stop and buy a calligraphy brush for David for one of his yearly gifts. Susie said that it wasn’t the best area to shop because things were a bit expensive, but she did recommend getting him that. We also stopped at a local bakery and got a delicious pastry that we could smell from around the corner. That pretty much ended up being our lunch, along with a few cereal bars and fruit snacks. We seriously survive on the breakfasts here!

Back at the hotel my parents went to exercise and Brian and I had all the kids. At this point I really started to struggle with the long road we have ahead of us. While David is sweet and happy and honestly so much easier than Lily was in China, I’m really not able to communicate with him at all and it’s really hard. Google Translate can only take you so far, and it’s still only one-sided communication because he’s really not able to speak at all. He uses all kinds of voice inflections and gestures, but it’s pretty much a crapshoot trying to figure out what he wants. The only thing I know for sure is drink because he pretends like he’s drinking and points to his water bottle. He’s started to learn to grab our hands and take us to what he wants. The only problem is when what he wants is something he can’t have, like scissors or knives or markers on the white hotel comforter! He totally had his first time out today when Brian told him three different times he had to color at the table and brought him over there. The third time he got mad and threw his marker and started the head hitting tantrum again, so Brian told him no and took him to time out. He’s definitely testing the waters trying to see what he can get away with, so we are trying to be loving but firm in our expectations with him. He does seem to get it, because after his fit about my phone last night, today he gave us the phone any time we asked for it. And he didn’t try to color on the bed the rest of the day either. The kids all started getting stir crazy and cranky so we tried to get them to nap. That didn’t work at all. We finally succumbed to the pressure and put a movie on for them. David wasn’t too interested at first. Not surprising since he can’t understand it! He was also still struggling a bit and the honeymoon period was starting to wear off.

My parents came over to help while Brian went to the workout room for a bit. But he quickly returned because there was a class going on in there. I’ve been having a really hard time with the smog and have developed quite a nice cough, which combined with sleep deprivation pretty much just makes me feel miserable. So I took the opportunity to go over to my parents’ room and take a nap. Naps are seriously the best thing ever. An hour later they dragged me out of bed. I’ve never been good at waking up, just ask my college roommates. When I returned to our room Lily had just finished a major meltdown which resulted in her falling asleep, and Caroline was on the verge of losing her mind. Brian decided we needed to get out of there ASAP! Too bad Caroline fell asleep while I was calming her down from her meltdown about not wanting to wear the shoes she wanted to wear. Yes, I know that makes absolutely no sense. She was obviously exhausted. We decided to divide and conquer, and Brian and my dad took the boys for an adventure walk. I drifted in and out of sleep for a bit longer until they came back. At this point it was dinner time, but we still could not wake up the girls! I wasn’t very hungry, so I was nominated to stay in the room with them. I thought I might snap out of it if I started moving, so I put a workout DVD in the laptop and tortured myself with some Jillian Michaels. In slow motion. Yes, I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow the DVD was playing slightly slow. At first I honestly thought that maybe she was trying to make a point by talking kind of slow, but when the jumping jacks were twice as slow as normal I knew something was up. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so I just did everything longer. I did feel better after, and now probably won’t be able to sleep at a normal time. But oh well.

Everyone returned from dinner, and I learned that David had another little meltdown at the hotel restaurant. Turns out food issues are common in all adopted kids. I already knew that, but now seeing it twice makes it all the more real. Apparently he dropped some rice off his spoon while trying to get it in his mouth and that was just too much for him. Brian took him out to calm him down, and he eventually did. He was obviously tired so we started getting him ready for bed. Tonight was Caroline’s turn to sleep with David, but since she was already asleep we just let her stay put. We carried a sleeping Lily down the hall and Matthew brushed his teeth and headed down there too. Bedtime is definitely a hard time for David. I think that’s when everything starts to get real and the distractions of the day disappear. He fought me to put on his pajamas, and kept trying to hide from me. I got them on and calmed him down by showing him pictures of himself on my phone. He seriously loves watching his videos and seeing his pictures. After a few minutes Google Translate told it was time to go to sleep, and then the crying began. I put him in bed, he climbed out. I put him in bed, he climbed out. I put him in bed, he hid on the floor crying. I let him be for a few minutes to work it out, then Brian had the idea to scratch his back because he loves that. I scooped him up and tried to get him to lay on me. He fought it at first, but I kept rubbing his back and soothing him and eventually he lay his head on my shoulder. He was still crying, but he started to relax. I hummed a few lullabies for him. He reached for his bed like he was ready to sleep, but turns out he just wanted to escape again. I kind of blocked him in with my legs and kept humming and rubbing his back. He kept asking for something by holding out his hand, but I have no idea what. We gave him his stuffed dog, some of the clothes he had come in for comfort, and some water, but he still kept holding out his hand. Finally I would just grab his hand and rub it every time he held it out. Eventually he decided it was time to get under the covers, still crying on and off. He buried himself all the way underneath and then fell asleep. It’s clear that bedtime is going to be a struggle for a while. But hey, at least he’s sleeping in his own bed and not on top of me!

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