Tuesday, June 23, 2015

and now there are 4

we landed in beijing late around mid day on friday the 12th and spent the next day and a half doing what you do in beijing: touring the forbidden city, tianamen square (which is apparently a big deal aside from it being where the young man stopped the tank), and the great wall. it our last weekend together sans our children and was spent with us exhausted, hot (but at least not rainy!), and ready to get this show on the road!

the incline/toboggan down)

walking the Great Wall (you would be disgustingly surprised how many people have vandalized it and written their names on the stones/bricks :( ) 

sunday we flew into hefei (in anhui province) and TRIED to sleep before meeting our children on monday.

you have no idea how you are going to feel, how you will react to each other: will you cry (tears of happiness), will they cry (tears of fear), will you hug them, will they let you hug them? will they pull away from you, will they gladly accept the affection they've spent their lives without...
so many questions

we were in hefei with another family from our agency (they are adopting two young girls), and we all met downstairs in our hotel lobby to ride to the civil affairs office (this is where you meet your children). they had adopted several times before and were a great wealth of experience and insight into what to practically prepare for.

the civil affairs office/building is nondescript and very unceremonious for what you consider one of the biggest events of your family's life.  sterile tile floors and white walls, offices that perform civil duties such as marriage liscences, fee payments, etc. and then the room for adoptions. you are seated at a long table with other families and sort out piles of paperwork. then--with no announcement, ceremony, or even interruption, you look up (i did out of nervousness and happenstance) and saw in the doorway, the profile of my sweet and silly girl, and beside her--our goofy and larger than life boy. that was how we met--no cloud parting moment, no soft whipser introduction...they were brought to the office, just like us: in a van and walked up to the room. except they had backpacks full of candy and snacks, that was a total win for them.

first 30 seconds of meeting, loads of awkward. nothing prepares anyone involved for this. 

i was frantically trying to pull up pictures on the iPad..pictures are a universal language

seeing their doggies and cats, grandparents, and new home

she brought the first panda we sent her in a care package  :) 

trying on daddy's hat and sunglasses. he found them very silly! 

i showed them pictures of the family on our iPad: nana, aunt sherri and the cousins (her children), momo (ryan's mom), and poppie (ryan's dad), and of course the fur siblings. ryan left the room a short time later to pay the civil affairs fees, orphanage donation, and notary fees (it's best to do that to avoid the appearance that you are "buying" them as a commodity.). the orphanage donation pays nannies salaries, medical bills for the children, upkeep of buildings and supplies.

and just like that, they were ours. they were our children. in the flesh, with us.

walking out of the building, our xinhua (lucy) immediately reached out for baba's hand (baba is chinese for daddy) and i held jiacheng's (luke). that evening she called me mama. this seems exciting and sweet and wonderful, and it is, it shows she was somewhat prepared. despite her seeming prepared, we continue to let her have some control in her comfort level--we want to limit false sense of comfort.

i bathed her that night--washed her back, her shoulders, her hair, and i gently showed her how to wash her other parts.  afterward i helped her out of the shower to dry off and dry her hair. she smiled the whole time and had learned "thank you" at this point. such a sweet and "silly" thing, a child--your child, thanking you for helping them bathe. oh the precious one.

there was a snafu with our rooms booked, so we ended up with two adjoining rooms at this hotel. xinhua (lucy), jiacheng (luke), and i stayed in one room and the hubs stayed in the other. that was the second night in 4 days i went without sleep (the first night i went without sleep was our last night in the states (of course!). they laughed and jabbered, they jumped and rolled on the bed, they enjoyed their freedom.

the next day we had to go back to the civil affairs office to finalize the adoption. because xinhua is over 10, she had to sign documents stating she wanted to be adopted. luke is only 8 so they used a paint pad to color his hand red and have him put a hand-stamp down. and that was it: how it becomes "official".

we are now a family of 4. it still doesn't feel real.

i still don't feel like the mother of 2 children. (except for i do--like in the hefei airport when two older women were being rude to my sweet girl (i didn't understand a word they were saying except for mama and baba to her and i saw her frustration growing...). i walked over to them, gave them the evil eye and guided her back to us. a family traveling with us brought their oldest adopted daughter who could translate for us and told xinhua momma didn't want her talking to strangers because sometimes strangers are rude and will hurt her feelings. and then momma would have to end up in a chinese jail (except we didn't really relay that last part...)).

xinhua began asking about when we leave for america so we made this handy-dandy countdown sheet :)

upcoming posts:
all about xinhua (lucy)
all about jiacheng (luke)
the final days in guangzhou and heading home

we have prayed for over a year for these days, and we have had worship music playing in their rooms non-stop since we began the process to bring them home. we believe where His praise is, so His Spirit will too be, and we want nothing more and nothing other than for His presence to be where they are. we can commit them to Him, we can commit our house to Him, but above all, we must remain committed to Him in all we do: in front them, behind closed doors, and everywhere we go. His service begins with us, and the journey is just now beginning. challenges await, trails will come, frustrations will manifest, and there will be times everyone questions if they are strong enough. we aren't. nobody is. but we can persevere and come out stronger in all we are and do. eyes upward and hearts open and moldable. 

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