Today we woke up having not slept well. Up and down all night we woke up tired and knowing that we should eat breakfast but not at all hungry. We dutifully went down to eat and managed to eat a little bit. I ate a tea boiled egg (which was interesting) and Jess just kinda picked at a few things. Then we went back up to the room to get ready to meet our guide and head to the Civil Affairs office.
On the way there Jess and I took video and photos and tried not to be nervous, though we did a pretty terrible job on that last one. We were nervous and had no idea what to expect. We got to the Civil Affairs office and expected to walk in, sit in a lobby for a while, and then be introduced to our son. But… that’s not how it went at all.
We walked into the lobby of the building and over to the right about 40 feet away was a group of people and a little boy. Anna (our guide) started to walk over and asked the boys name and then turned to us and told us it was Wang Jain Lin, our son. We were caught a bit off guard to say the least. Jessica immediately got down on his level and tried to talk and interact with him, but he wasn’t having any of it. He stood turned away from us, not really knowing what to do and looking lost. He had obviously been crying and was still doing that stifled breathing thing that children do for a long time after a hard cry.
Jess, being the awesome mom that she is, started to get out some snacks to give to him to help him to warm up. She gave him some fake Cheerios that we swiped from the hotel breakfast that morning (don’t tell) and he stared to warm up a bit. Then she busted out the toys that we brought for him. He really liked the Happy Sheep figures and two trucks. He would setup the Happy Sheep and then knock them down and he and I would roll the truck back and forth.
Finally it was time to go up to the office and do some paperwork. This paperwork gave us the right to bring him back to the hotel with us for 24 hours, then after 24 hours we will return to the Civil Affairs office, confirm that we want to adopt him, and fill out the paperwork to make it permanent.
Up in the office we kept playing with the figures and the trucks and got some serious belly laughs out of him, it was absolutely amazing! Then Samuel seemed thirsty, so we gave him the bottle his foster family had sent with him. Let me pause there to say this, his foster family sent him with a sack of snacks and some toy balls and a bottle. That may not seem like much, but it is very unusual and a huge deal. Most kids from China come to their family with nothing but the clothes on their back, I can tell you that Samuel was very deeply loved and it shows from the care package that his foster family sent with him.
So, Samuel started drinking his bottle while Jess was holding him and he sacked out, hard. Jess held him while he was passed out and I filled out the paperwork. Then we went downstairs to have our picture taken with Samuel (part of the process, we had to work hard to wake him up for the photo), and then we headed back to the hotel.
On the ride home Samuel was very alert and obviously very interested in all of the cars, bikes and people. You can tell he is a smart kid and ver perceptive.
We got back to the hotel and played a little bit, he was tired, and that’s when the hard part started. He was missing his foster mommy and daddy and cried for them a lot. It was really hard to hear, a little boy that we already love as our son has lost the only mommy and daddy that he knows and cried and cried and called for them. We cried too. We finally calmed him down but then he started to get upset again, so we decided getting out of the room would be a good idea.
So, with Samuel still somewhat sniffling we quickly got ready and headed out of the hotel to the most obvious location that anyone would go to in our situation, Walmart. Walmart was only about a ten minute walk and we had a lot of fun along the way. Jess had Samuel strapped to her with the ergo child carrier, and the people of Taiyuan looked at us like we were Brad and Angelina walking through downtown Hollywood. I even took a video of how the people gawked at us unashamed, it was pretty funny, but Jess finally made me stop.
We got to Walmart and started walking around, looking for some snacks and some apple juice for Samuel. Now, let me pause the story here briefly to comment on how the Chinese potty train their kids. Basically, the kids have a word that they say to their parent when they need to go pee, and then the parent will put them on the side of the road on in a yard or something to do their business. Its an interesting take on potty training. Anyway, back to Walmart. We were walking through Walmart and Samuel kept trying to tell Jess something. Of course we don’t understand Mandarin, but you can see where I’m going with this… About two minutes after he was trying to tell Jess something he let her know the translation via a warm and wet feeling. Yep, he peed all over her. So what do you do when your new Chinese son pees all over you in Walmart and you don’t have a change of clothes? If you are a super mom like my wife you don’t skip a beat, and you keep on shopping.
We shopped a little more, found the snacks that we were looking for and then headed back to the hotel. By now Samuel was really warming up to us, Jess in particular, and things were going much more smoothly. We got back to the hotel and Samuel took what was likely his first bath ever. We hadn’t planned to bath him, but by this time he had peed on Jess twice, so we didn’t have much choice. He loved the bath and spent a lot of time in there playing.
For the rest of the afternoon we just played. We throw some balls, looked at books (he loves books), and just found ways to have fun together as a family. This boy loves to laugh and has a great smile, it was so nice to hear it too.
For dinner we ordered room service, a noodle bowl. Samuel ate the noodles with chopsticks much better than I can. Yes, that’s right, my two and a half year old son can eat slippery noodle with chopsticks. This boys fine motor skills are quite amazing for his age. We were both totally impressed.
After dinner we could tell he was getting tired, but we tried to keep him playing to keep him awake long enough to meet his brother and sisters on Facetime. At 7pm (our time) I finally had to text my mom and ask her to wake the kids up so that they could talk to Samuel before to crashed (it was 7am at home). Literally two minutes before we got on Facetime it the kids Samuel fell asleep in Jessica’s arms. I guess we just played him out today.
Now Jess and I are winding down to try to go to bed early ourselves because we don’t know what to expect tonight. We pray that Samuel will sleep well and on into the morning, but we realize that the likelihood of that is almost zero. We are expecting more rounds of grieving soon, and that’s ok, we are ready for it. I just hope it doesn’t come at 2am.
But whatever tonight brings, we have our son. Tomorrow we will go back to the Civil Affairs office to make it official and then we will wait for his passport so that we can fly to Guangzhou to begin the next leg of our journey.
Today has been a truly amazing day, and we are so thankful for it. Until tomorrow.