Yesterday. Our day was pretty low key with breakfast, later: naps for Zihao and Izrael and then we met in the lobby at 3pm for our trip to the police with our group. We all rode the bus again and the best part of the trek was talking to other families in the waiting area. One in particular. This family just shines. You ever meet someone and walk away thinking "wow there was something different about them!" ...? That was this couple. You could see Jesus in them. And when they spoke...? In their soft, southern accent, they confirmed it. They just adopted a precious little girl with serious disabilities. The mom looked at me and said "I don't even see them. I see someone I love so much". Her hair is sparse and short like a newborn's. Her eyes don't focus. She's 23 lbs. She's 4. She is so loved.
Later last night we went to dinner with 2 families. One is a dad here by himself with his new little girl. One is a family from Portland area. He works at the Multnommah College. After talking for a bit, we mentioned we know someone that goes there (happens to be our pastor's daughter) and he asked if it was them by name:) Pretty funny. Here we are in China out for dinner with a couple and well...yah...small world.
This morning we woke late. It's great with 4 little kids except...it was a bad morning to sleep in. We woke after 8. We had to meet at 9. We had to feed Taizi his bottles, dress everyone and eat breakfast. Well it didn't happen. Zihao refused to go potty. That was a first. And a problem since he slept 11 hours and we were getting in the van for an hour ride (thought it was 2.5? It was 1).We got downstairs with all our stuff...I remember the gifts for his foster family...ran back up stairs...Dean got a to go bag for fruit for breakfast for the road...Taizi was meanwhile pouring his bottle all over his pants...and Zihao still needed to go potty but wouldn't. I told Rebecca and she bent down and went on and on in Chinese in a stern voice and his eyes went to the floor and suddenly he was nodding. haha. She went to take him potty and he completely put the breaks on his feet and wouldn't move until he caught Azlan's eye and he reached out for Azlan's hand! This was an awesome sign of healthy attachment. So Azlan went with them to the potty and she said he peed a flood. Fantastic. That would have been fun in the van! ;)
We got in the van, beautiful, full cold AC and were ready to go. We love the drives (both in Nanjing, the train and now here). It's when you get to see real China. The countryside. SO beautiful. The trees are lush and beautiful and it feels like you are totally in a rainforest! Someone said today that we haven't seen the sun since we've been in Guangzhou and I hadn't thought of it but it's true. We stopped and picked up Rose, someone who works for TCH (who organizes the foster care). We arrived at Zihao's foster home). We opened the doors, the kids got out and I couldn't see them! I ran around the corner to see Azlan jumping and Zihao in his foster mom's arms. Of course we were nervous. We knew this was the right decision to be here, for proper healing and closure yet... we didn't know how it was going to happen. Our guide, for some reason...spoke very little english. This was a problem. It was just awkward. It's not like this is a family that was counting down for him to be adopted...they knew he had to be adopted...he had been on the waiting list for years...but they did love him. We felt out of place. There was little eye contact with us. No hello. No handshake. And a guide...that spoke very little english. Not sure how that happened but it was a bit frustrating. She was so sweet just had never been a guide before and apparently they needed extras today so she was ours. Going to an orphanage this may have worked but to someone's house...? So we went in and were served fruit. Zihao ate a ton. The kids were all just sitting, playing and eating. Eventually we all went for a walk down the dirt road. Their view was beautiful...it actually reminded us a lot of Mexico. The houses. The dirt roads. The hills. Both Dean and I said several times it reminded us of the times we spent in Mexico with the Thiessens years ago.
As we were walking back this man starts walking towards us. Our guide tells us it's Zihao's foster dad. It was very interesting. He was very excited to see Zihao but .. Zihao did not run and jump or even stop to hug him. He just kept going holding Azlan's hand.
When we got back to the house the guide said "can you stay for lunch?" we had been prepared for this so we said sure. Not 5 minutes later, his foster mom walked by with a massive chicken squacking (sorry if chickens don't squack...this one was!!!) by it's neck! I grabbed my camera to snap a quick picture. Oh...my. :) Rebecca (one of the guides) was telling us this morning that this happened to another family and everyone was laughing...she told me to be prepared ;)The guide asked if we wanted to go to a park while she cooked. We laughed and hoped there were a few more steps to that chicken before cooking but said yes;)
We got in the van to go to the park. It was very pretty there. Hot but pretty. We saw these go cart looking cars and asked about them. They were 80 cents for 5 minutes to drive. Yah give us one! We put the three kids on one and they could drive all around the big concrete area and it was soooo cute!! We walked around for a bit and then came back and rented 2 more. We put Azlan and Izrael in one and Zihao in the other. Thinking him being all boy would love it...he could not grasp the idea of stepping on a peddle thing to make it move and steering. So I jumped in with him...with my knees rubbing my chin (not quite but you know;) and they were all laughing so hard. Then we bought bubbles in the store. Oh...Taizi loves bubbles. Just a few minutes later the guide said "we must go. Lunch is ready" I have no idea how long it had been post chicken-squacking-by-dragged-by-its-neck-in-the-living-room but it was maybe 1 hour to 1.5? I looked at Dean and he's dying laughing. Yes. Yes let's go for chicken!!
Lots of neighbors came by and they would all talk with so much expression. Thats where it was hard not having a translator. Savor (from Nanjing) would have been awesome today. She was so funny always filling us in on what was being said. We were sensing with all the neighbors and foster parents that there was this displeasure with us having 9 children. We asked our guide if thats what they were saying and she said "yes...but I assured them you love him". She said everyone was saying we look very very young and too young to have so many children.
At one point we were playing with the kids with these bricks, building a little house. Taizi was not very happy and Dean was holding him. Zihao's foster mom came over with gusto and took him out of Dean's arms and brought him to where we were playing and put him down. Seemingly upset that we were not letting him play. She quickly discovered things were not ok as he couldn't stand. She tried and tried and he really started to cry. Dean came over and took him back (without the gusto ;) and he cuddled right into Dean's shoulder ;) It was a funny moment, clearly she didn't know of his special needs and thought he just wanted to play with everyone else ;)
We went back to the house they had the table all set. We had soup to start which was just chicken broth. Zihao loved it and Azlan was served a big bowl. He looked at me terrified. I told him they can't understand him but he needed to always have happy expressions on his face. Oh he was so funny. It was just chicken broth...no big deal but they love to watch you eat and enjoy your food and he's forcing these fake smiles. A for effort!! :) Then it was veggies, said chicken...and rice. The chicken had been apparently boiled so it was well cooked and chopped. Just chopped. So bones were chopped everything. I took enough to be polite, Dean was going at it with chop sticks and all. Izrael LOVED the soup and was copying how everyone else at the table was eating it!
There was very little conversation with us b/c well...our guide had very little english :( So we felt a little just on the outside and awkward but overall it was good. At the end of the meal we took a few photos...they kissed and hugged Zihao and said good bye and we walked to the van. He hopped in the van on my lap...beaming. I had him blow kisses which he did...and wave away. Not a bit of sadness or emotion. It was actually amazing and I was thanking God.
We drove home...Zihao fell asleep in the car.
When we got home we called another adoptive family and asked them to meet us in the playroom. Once there we were surprised to see several other families there too. The whole time Taizi was soaked sweating :(
We went out to dinner with a family from Georgia that we love! They are so fun to be with and they are here adopting a baby girl. They have 4 bio kids and this is number 5 ... first adopted. Their story was amazing and I got goosebumps several times just hearing how God moved in their adoption journey. We had a lot of fun out together and just really had a great time.
We came home, bathed all the babies and this was the first time since the first day of us having Taizi that he relaxed in the bath and had fun. Oh...he's so so adorable. Zihao is mister personality plus which is funny trying to tell him he's too loud etc when we don't speak the same language :) So we resorted to me screaming like him and then saying "no no Mama shhhh" and again...finally he seemed to connect the dots. ;) He's doing great and seriously is attached to the hip to Azlan. He reaches for his hand ALL the time and wherever we go he initiates holding Azlan's hand. Azlan has been amazing with him. If Zihao is sleeping...Azlan holds Taizi. He really has been wonderful on this trip!
Talking tonight, both Dean and I feel today was again this closure for Zihao. He loved his foster family but he seemingly already mourned. He was right back in her arms but never hesitated to come home with his new Mama. I think there was a lot of closure for him...as he now knows...he's going home...with his forever family.
In the lobby yesterday morning :)
Playing with Izrael. I never said this but he's only about 1/2 to 1 inch taller than her! She actually wears bigger shoes and bigger clothing size.
Azlan playing with Taizi in our bed this morning
Some of the beautiful country side taken out our van window this morning
Here he is! Disappeared once he knew where we were and jumped into her arms :)
I think we were in the living room. Being served fruit!
His foster mom!
Taizi :) Staring at his hands but only briefly
Azlan was served tea. And was told to drink it with a smile ;)
There's the chicken!!!!
Some more fortunate chickens get to see another day...!
Meeting his foster dad on our walk
We found a pile of bricks...and Mama helped them make a 'house' ;)
Awww. Loving his Daddy!
At the park. Azlan was very amused by this boat. Tied up...and sinking ;)
Our little go cart rides
Azlan and Izrael
He clapped for me!! :)
At the park
Izrael LOVEd the soup!
Foster mom and dad on the left
Holding on to both lives walking back to the van
Jumped in the van with us and smiled as he waved