Monday, September 22, 2008

Holding our son

We didn't sleep much last night and this morning I was a nervous wreck.  Ralph and Makena were my calm.  We left the hotel at 9am for a short drive to an office located in an old hotel.  We went up to the 6th floor where another family had just met their daughter and were signing paperwork.  As we watched them, their daughter, about 12 years old with what looked like some burn scarring on her head and part of her face, began sobbing and wiping away her tears.  The new father said to their escort that he wasn't sure whether his daughter was scared or happy.  The escort said that she likely had so many different emotions and that this is a very unforgettable day for her.  I lost it.  It was at that very moment that I realized the importance of children in orphanages, especially older children, to feel wanted, to feel part of a real family, to feel that someone loves them.  We thanked God for bringing that family and that young, sweet girl together.
And we thank God for bringing us Joshua, Jia Bai as we are calling him for a few days until he gets used to us and his surroundings.  When the orphanage director walked in, we were just sitting in chairs at the back of the small room, unprepared with cameras or video.  We knew the second they came in that it was Joshua, so we scrambled to get our camera out and record the moment. She brought him over and I tried to take him.  He was very unsure, though not crying.  The director put him down to stand and Makena immediately hugged and kissed him.  She is the best big sister.  She has been so, so sweet with him.  The director brought the photo album that we had sent and had prayed that he had received, so we were so happy.  That means he had a chance to see us, even if only in photos, before today.
It took some time for him to hold on to us as we were holding him.  At first, his arms just hung to the side.  Feeling that little hand grasp onto you is the greatest moment.  Watching daddy (or baba in chinese) with his little boy is pretty spectacular, too.  Daddy has already been able to make Joshua smile and giggle a little.  We brought several toys for him, but his favorite quickly became the little plastic bowl of cheerios.  He LOVES them!  
We went from the 6th floor to the 4th floor to check and recheck the accuracy of the paperwork the office had prepared then went to the 3rd floor to take a family photo.  This photo was just us and Joshua, so Makena stood back with the girl taking the photo and she took a photo with one of our cameras as well.  She is quite the little photographer!  Makena made a little friend in that crowded office - a little boy who looked about 2 1/2 who was absolutely fascinated with her.  It seems there are no language barriers with little ones, they got along well without even saying a word.
Then it was back to the 6th floor to take a photo with the orphanage director and to ask questions about Joshua.  After that, we came back to the hotel and have been hanging out here ever since.  John, our escort, came up and had us sign more papers.  Once he left, we ordered room service and Joshua loved the beef and noodles that he and daddy shared.  Makena was exhausted at that point, so we put both of them down for a nap and they fell asleep quickly and easily.  I took a little nap with them while Ralph ventured out for Wal-Mart to pick up some water, juice and a few other essentials.  Tomorrow, 8am, it is back to the same hotel/office we were at today to sign more paperwork.  After that we have free days until we leave for Guangzhou on Friday.  We did find out that we get to visit the orphanage on Wednesday - it is about an hour away and it is rare that families get to visit, so we are so excited.  I'm afraid, though, that I am going to want to bring all of the kids home.
Shenyang City is quite a trip - the real China, I have been saying.  We'll have to post some video of the traffic here.  We still cannot get over how crazy it is and we laugh everytime we are out in it.  Pedestrians do not have the right of way, so cars are going wherever and whenever they want with people walking and on bicycles and mopeds just moving around them.  Cars drive on the sidewalk when they see fit, the traffic circle is more like a free for all - complete chaos to us, perfectly normal for them.  Yet, you see no accidents, no road rage, no finger pointing or yelling. Their honking (which is rampant) is a "hey, I'm right here" rather than a "Get out of my way!"  
Well, we are off to find the kids play room that they have here at the hotel.  Then off to dinner and back for Joshua's first bath.  Love and miss you all!