Today I woke up at 5am and there was no chance I was getting back to sleep. I spent some time getting caught up on Facebook and let James sleep until 6 and then we headed down to the lounge for breakfast- this hotel has the biggest breakfast spread I have ever seen!
We came back up the room around 7 and we got ourselves ready, tidied up the room and finished getting our bags packed. We ended up having a little time to kill before we had to be in the lobby to meet the group so we had fun goofing around with our selfie stick and chatting with a few friends.
Will's bag all ready to go!
We're ready to go!
My (un) traditional "pose by the door" oh your way to the hospital (government building) to meet your child shot :)
We met our group downstairs at 9:30- what an exciting time for everyone! We were. all so happy and in such an eager, anticipatory state it was just a room full of energy. We soon left to head to the civil affairs office to get our kiddos- it was a short bus ride, maybe 15-20 minutes. Our guide Yisha gave us some last minute tips and instructions and before we knew it, we had arrived!
Going in as Two, coming out as Three!
I expected Will and his caretakers to already be there when we arrived but when we walked in I did not seen them anywhere. I started watching other families get their kiddos and about 15 minutes after arriving we heard someone call out to us- is this your son? And sure enough, he was there with another boy- I Have no idea if they had been there the whole time and if so, how we missed them.
We walked over to them, and I tapped the caregiver on the shoulder and she turned around and got Will's attention on us. He was very happy to see us and immediately gave us a huge grin, and then began sharing the dried fruit he was eating with us- and the other 10 people in our vicinity. I had given the caregiver a bag full of gifts for the caretakers at Angel House, and Will found his way into that right away and tore into one of the boxes of jelly beans, then of course he needed to share those with everyone else also. One by one he/we began unpacking the bag of goodies/toys I had brought and playing with each item inside: bouncy ball, cars, toy planes, balloon (we also learned that he very well may be a champion volleyball player one day). We spent the next 30 minutes or so sitting on the floor in the middle of the room laughing, playing games, and having a blast. I got to speak to the two girls from Angel Home a little bit and they showed us some really special gifts that were sent with him. Cherries from his/our friend who is a volunteer there, and a special traditional style outfit she bought for him along with a ver special paining of one of his portraits which was extra special to me because it was of one of my favorite photos of him- the same or or very similar to the photo I've had framed on my desk at work for months.
Thanks for the cars, Becky!
Admittedly, I felt a little guilty because while he was running around laughing and having a blast most of the other children in the room were crying and screaming, terrified what they were experiencing- how I had always imagined our child would be on this day. I think a little bit of our situation has to do with his outgoing, happy demeanor, but I credit most of it to the amount of preparation Angel House had done for him- they had spent months talking to him and preparing him for this day. Showing him our photos, explaining to him what was about to happen, and reassuring him how much we loved him. I do believe it also helped tremendously that we had the chance to visit him at Angel House a few days prior to this. He recognized us as soon as we arrived and was able to associate us with the fun, loving people who he had already spent hours playing with just a few days earlier.
After a while we had to go up to have our photo taken, which went very quickly and smoothly, and then shortly after that they said one of us needed to go to the desk to fill out paperwork. Since Will was in James' lap I went up, and when I returned I discovered that the nannies had left during that time. I was very bummed I didn't get to say goodbye but I understand they needed to get back and they had already stayed quite a long time already. Will was crying very hard and was understandably extremely confused. He did recover much faster than I would have expected him to and before too long was back to playing volleyball with the balloon. And then all of the sudden he was just done... He crawled into James' lap and refused everything offered to him. At that point we picked up our belongings and moved from the center of the room to the wall near the hallway where it was much quieter and darker. I could tell he was exhausted ad overwhelmed. Not long after that he fell asleep in James' arms, and then a little while later we were able to load up on the bus to head back to the hotel.
Our first family photo1
I can't remember if he woke up before or during the bus ride, but I do remember him sleeping the morning ajority of the way here. Thankfully he did wake up when we were getting off the bus, which I was happy about because I didn't want him to wake up in the hotel room and panic not knowing where he was. As soon as we arrived to the room he was a burst of energy. He ran into the room, immediately found the photo album we were given from Angel House and brought it to the bed and showed us all his friends. I was worried this might trigger a meltdown, but I think it was very helpful for him. He closed up the book and then started jumping on the bed- this was was our first glimpse into the bundle of energy we had just brought into our lives. He has the most infectious lalaught I've ever heard and it filled my heart with joy to see him to so happy so quickly. Here's a video I shot of him walking into the room-
So my absolute favorite moment was when I gave him his stuffed monkey. Backstory: I bought two of these monkeys and mailed one to him in the care package we sent shortly after being matched. I had never seen it in any photos of him, so a while ago I inquired on whether or not he still had it, and was told that when asked what happened to it, his response was "oh that was a naughty monkey- he jumped out the window". Of course he's three so you have no idea what that might actually mean so we just sort of left it at that. Well when we got into the hotel room and I gave him the duplicate, he immediately, without any hesitation walked right over to the window and threw the monkey at the window. He has made it very to clear to us even still that he does not like that monkey! That's even funnier to me because twice the dogs had gotten ahold of it at home before we traveled and I was so upset and had washed it and dried it so carefully to be sure to preserve it perfectly for Will- well, I guess it's destined to be a dog toy because he hates it!
He told us all of the sudden he had to go pee so we rushed him to the toilet- being the first timers we are, we didn't do something right and he ended up with pee on his shorts, socks, and all over the floor. I know from many hours spent reading brace book groups that many of these kiddos are terrified of their first bath and really don't like you taking off their clothes that first time so I panicked a little in my heart knowing we'd have to do this so soon. He was apprehensive but willing except for his socks- so we took a bath with socks on. In my mind, I thought we were still doing awesome by getting him the tub at all so just go with it. He accepted the new outfit I presented without hesitatation and began running around the room laughing. We had a snack of jello and bread and then tried seeing if he might take a nap but he made it clear that was no going to happen. James had to leave for a while to go do some paperwork to prepare for our next day so I stayed in the room with Will. We explored every toy I had packed for him- cars, play dough, books, balls, etc. Then we sat in the window for a while watching the traffic below. He is a total chatterbox and he never stops talking. It's so sad for me to have no idea what he is saying but the few times I've had people watch his videos and translate he's basically just saying every single thing he sees.
James came back and then it was my turn to go. When I arrived back to the room I found them throwing pillows and running around- oh my, boys will be boys! We decided we needed a couple of things from WalMart so we loaded Will into the ergo carrier on James' back and made the trip out. Walmart here is nothing like it is at home. You enter on the ground floor, and then the actual store is split up into two levels on the 2nd ad 3rd floor. As soon as we left our hotel room he got very quiet and seemed to be a little nervous about what was going to happen next. We got up to the third floor and I was trying to engage with him when his face turned solemn and he said with extreme urgent envy "Niao Niao!" Which means pee-pee. James began to panic, assuming he was about to end up with urine running down his backside and legs. I frantically searched for a worker and the first one I found I pointed at him and said "toilet"" - blank stare- pointing at Will, "Niao Niao" and she understood, and escorted us to a trash can and took the lid off. Yep, nothing says welcome to parenthood like holding your child over a trash can in the clothing department of Walmart so he can pee into it. We couldn't stop laughing and we're just so thankful that he told us and that James stayed dry!
After that we decided we had enough adventure for the day so we returned to the room and had noodles for supper on the floor. We knew he could feed himself but it was amazing to watch how meticulous he is with the fork. He focuses so hard and will go for each and every little piece in the bowl and then drink the broth when he is done.
He's a very regimented child- he takes care of his dishes, wipes his face washes his hands, dries his hands and then is ready for the next task. This is clearly a sign of growing up in a group setting but this Mama is not sad about having a boy who insists on washing his hands before and after every meal and after going potty each time.
After washing his hands he began throwing his toys into the tub and turned the water on! Bath time again, ok! When he wants something he goes for it! We had so much fun watching him laugh and play in the tub. His joy is overwhelming and even though he is a handful to keep up with, it's just such a blessing to me to see the joy we have been seeing in photos for months manifest itself in real life. One of my biggest fears of this adoption would be that he would lose the joy we had fell in love with through pictures, and that does not seem to be the case, praise the Lord!
Loves the bathtub!
We got him all ready for bed and put his favorite show, Super Planes on the IPad and cuddled up in bed together. One of the many little details we are so thankful to know about him that we learned through the staff at Angel House. Now we are on day 3 together, and he knows every time he hears that music he climbs into bed with us and that means it's time for a nap or bedtime. Two episodes and he's out! That first night we did move him into his crib next to our bed because he was a sweaty mess and we have a big down comforter on our bed. He slept through the night- I think about 10 hours straight, and we actually had to wake him up the next morning for breakfast.
Thank you all for praying for this day and praying us through this day. It was magical and we really couldn't have asked for a better situation. We are so in love with our boy already and our hearts are so full. I'll try to continue getting caught up on the blog but in the meantime, enjoy the snippets on Facebook. My number one focus is on bonding with him and most of the time when when he's asleep this momma is too tired to do anything but join in!