slide show

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 2 of forever us

On meals...
Breakfast was kinda like dinner. Crazy. He's genuinely amazed at all the things he's never seen and/or had before. We went through the line at the hotel's buffet, and he inspects each type of food and says yes or no to tell me if he wants some on his plate. Which results in a strange cacophony of foods on his plate. This morning it was a cheese danish, bacon, white rice, stir fried veggies topped with some chopped-up pickled something or other, 2 drinking yogurts and a sugar doughnut. At the table he added the veggies to the rice and put the bacon on top of it all. Because doesn't bacon make everything better? Some things are universal. Unlike dinner the previous  night, he ate everything on his plate and went back for seconds of the white rice with stir fried veggies topped with some chopped-up pickled something or other and more bacon. At one point he pointed to food in decanters that were decorating the walls or the restaurant and asked if he could eat that too.
On making it official...
We spent the morning making returning to the Civil Affairs office. So as of 11:00am, all the interviews are done, the paperwork all signed and notarized. It's a done deal! RuLin is an official and legal part of the Crazy (now) 10's! 
On being a card shark...
Speaking of card games, (not really) we taught him how to play war. There are far less ways to cheat when you play war and that makes Mimi happy. We played war no less than 30 times today.
Oh losing one's mind...
Note to self-do not take an just-recently-not orphan to a grocery store and give him free rein about what to put in the cart. Not that we did that. We didn't. Or at least that wasn't the plan. But apparently Ru is a master at putting stuff in the cart faster than you can explain why we can't have it putting it back on the shelf. The fact that our guide started us in the candy section should have been my clue that the whole trip wasn't going to go smoothly.
On nose blowing...
Evidently having someone demonstrate how to blow one's nose is hysterical.
On chips...
In the room heading out the door to lunch and Ru brings me a bag of chips, saying something that lets me know he's asking if he can eat the chips now. The running dialog with him goes something like... No were not going to have chips right now since we're going to lunch. No, not having chips now. Lunch now. No chips. Nope. Not the chips. Put the chips down. Can you please give me the chips? No. Not now. How bout lunch instead? No chips please. Okay I guess we're having chips! as he opens the bag and proceeds to eat them. He knows he's supposes to ask. And he knows right from wrong. But he doesn't necessarily want to do right as compared to wrong. At this stage of the game I'm trying to remember to say yes more than I say no. To say no with a yes. To say no as little as possible. It's not easy especially when he asks.
On lunch...
We had lunch at a noodle shop just a couple blocks down the street. Ru picked out what he wanted by pointing to a picture on the menu and enthusiastically saying yes yes yes and pointing to himself. When his food came he shoveled at least 4 heaping spoonfuls of sambal (a chili oil paste) onto his plate. And not surprisingly he liked it that way. Surprisingly he did say that his can of Coke was too cold though. Go figure.
On Legos...
We might be investing massive amounts of money into Legos when we get home. It's about the only time he's quiet and will play by himself that we've found so far. We have so many of them at home already but he will spend a good hour reading through the instructions, finding just the right piece and assembling the toy.
On not being happy all the time...
We went to a park in the afternoon and found a children's area. In hind sight, the children's area with rides was overload for him. Or rather it was over load for Papa and I as we tried to navigate Ru's expectations. He'd run from ride to ride and want to do them all, despite the fact that many weren't working and ticket prices were high even for the ones that were. I saw Ru get upset for the first time when he couldn't do a craft activity since it was closed. Like I mentioned before, we're trying not to say no too much on this part of the journey, and he didn't like it much. He went off to sulk by himself, but was soon coaxed back into the family with an ice cream cone.
On school...
I asked about the school he attended today. Our guide asked him some questions and determined that it's the regular ol' neighborhood public school in his community. Ru's curriculum is the same as our guide's son who is also in 1st grade. We're ecstatic that he's had some regular education rather than the special life skills schools that many orphans and special needs children go to instead if they attend school at all.
On hand holding...
Anytime we go somewhere it's a lesson in hand holding. I can tell he is very used to running ahead where ever he wants, which is pretty par for most Chinese children. And it's also not gonna fly for this mama in this very busy city with crazy traffic. So the handholding lessons will continue. He's not horribly opposed to it, but he'd much rather not.
On attachment...
On a few occasions now, when Papa (Baba meaning father in Chinese) Boo (ga ga in Chinese meaning big brother) or Mimi (mei mei in Chinese meaning little sister) isn't with us, he'll ask where they and look for them. He most often does this asking for Papa, often stopping in his tracks and going to the last place he saw him. So only 24 hours in, a little bit of attachment is happening and that makes my heart quite happy.
On helping mama not lose her ever-loving mind...
The day ended with his 2nd bath ever. We were told that he wakes at 6 am and goes to bed with 9pm a 2 hour nap each day. 9pm? Really? Since we've been in China I'm usually in bed earlier than that much less the younger children. So things needed to change, and I think it's that nap! Today he was up at 6:30 ish, and we walked and walked all over the park instead of a nap. He and Mimi were in bed by 7:30.
Papa was asleep by 7:31.
Tomorrow we're aiming for getting up at 7am and in bed by 7pm.
Oh please God help it happen.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Long story short, we think we've adopted the happiest boy on the planet.

The following is a discombobulated rambling of thoughts about our day not necessarily in chronological order.

He was late in coming to the Civil affairs office that we meeting at. We had lots of time to see the other several other families that were getting their children and be witness these amazing family transformations. Understandably the children cry and are so upset as they transition to their forever families. Some whimper. Some scream. Some get catatonic. Some keep their new mama and baba literally a couple arm's length away.

But Ru was late in arriving from the busy traffic and so we saw him step out of the elevator and right through the doors with a smile on his face. He knew right who we were and walked right up to us. Papa and I got on the ground, onto his level and I offered him a hug. And he came right up and took it! He then walked right over to Papa and did the same, the smile never leaving his face. At first impression seems genuinely excited to be with us, a reaction I was not expecting. But it also seems like this giddy cheerfulness could be a coping mechanism. My gut says it's likely both. Time will tell.

He was evidently given a gift by the orphanage, a huge box of knock-off Legos, and we let him dump the whole box out on the floor since we were the last family there. This boy knows how to follow directions and carefully goes through each page of the Lego directions.

He was asked if he liked his new family and said yes!

Another thing we noticed immediately is that this boy is definitely on. He go go go go go go go goes. He does have a good attention span, but he likes to play pretty much continually from one activity to the next. Legos, balls, cars, sticker books, cards, more Legos, cars, ball, cars again, how 'bout playing cards and on and on and on... Mimi came up to Papa and asked for a break from it which was absolutely granted thanks to Boo who has already whisked her off a few times from some down time.

When we got back to the hotel the first thing he said as he stepped in the door to the hotel room was WOW! He tore through the room checking it all out and stopped short when he saw the bathtub in the bathroom. WOW! he said again as he started jumping up and down. He absolutely knew what a bathtub was but judging by his reaction I don't think he's ever been in one. We hadn't even been in the hotel room 3 minutes, but Papa asked Do you want to take a bath? and indicated that he'd need to take his clothes off to get in. Ru didn't need to be asked twice and was naked in about 5 seconds flat. He jumped in the bath as quickly as possible and splashed and was giddy. He stood up and sat down and laid down in the water and flipped over on his tummy and repeated the whole cycle about 50 more times. I washed his chest and back and offered his a soap wash cloth for the rest of his body. Before I could blink he had grabbed the shower gel and squirted it all over his hair to wash his hair too.

He mimics everything. Everything. He mostly has no idea what he's saying but it's cute as the dickens... and a little annoying to his siblings. So far the English words I think he understands and uses accurately are thank you, yes, no, mama and daddy, and some alphabet letters.

Dinner was crazy amazing and just plain crazy. At the adoption office he said his favorite food was chicken when we got him. And at dinner he consumed about 20 chicken nuggets. And a banana. And a small cupcake. And pana cotta. And watermelon. Food he insisted he put on his plate but wouldn't eat included brie, dry parmesan cheese, canned corn and a glass or orange juice.

Once back at the hotel room he got crazy excited when he saw the playing cards. We thought he wanted to play gin since he was organizing the cards in his hand that way! But soon discovered that he can play a mean game of Go Fish and he's quite the card shark! He's pretty stinkin' competitive and has no hesitation about cheating to win.

He loves soda and candy but not cookies so much. For now he's pretty much getting all them he want's. That won't last forever, but for now it's okay. For right now we're letting him eat pretty much anything in the hotel room, like all the candy, soda, cookies and chips, figuring once it's gone we won't have to say no to it!

Speaking of soda, how to pop the top off a soda can in a hot second. Speaking of pop tops, did you know China still has soda cans with pop tops? Who knew?!

He is on and going a million miles a second. Not sure if that's his normal pace or if it's also from adrenaline and the excitement of the day and all the new things around him.

He does know a tiny bit of English. He says Daddy. And he says thank you perfectly rand right at the right time too and unprompted. I also caught him saying under his breath saying "Nice to meet you" and "Have a nice day." He's been practicing.

He doesn't mind sharing at all and eagerly offers his snacks to others.

Knows how to clean up after himself. He tidied up his Legos.

He wrote his ABC's at dinner last night. He got up to about K and then needed help to finish. He was listening to Mimi write a note and became a little embarrassed that he couldn't finish the alphabet by himself, but he was okay getting help from me on how to write the remaining letters.

He was happy as a clam to go to bed tonight!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Keepin' it real on the night before

Okay, I'm not gonna lie.
Mostly for the mamas that come after me.

I almost started crying on the train ride to Guangzhou. Not the I'm so happy and excited to almost have my son! cry. But rather it was the Oh no, what have I gotten us into? cry. There were some younger children on the train, and I listened to them speak to their mamas during the 2 1/2 hour trip. And it suddenly dawn on me. You know stuff that you already know but you don't really appreciate, and then the reality of it hits you all at once. That happened. Ru won't understand a word of what we are saying to him  and we won't understand anything he is saying to us. And despite all that stuff I was spewing less than a week ago, it's gonna be a big flippin' deal! We really won't know each other at all. And yet he's going to be my son in an instant. Tomorrow! And how in the world am I gonna make that all work out without traumatizing him. Or me. Or both!

And that's when the mini meltdown almost crying started to happen.

I know the anxiety and nervousness I'm feeling is normal. This is a major life-altering event, and it's expected to feel petrified scared a wee bit anxious. It might be kind of odd to not have these feelings every now and then. It's just that we have 3 adoptions under our belt already, and I just haven't experienced feelings like this before... till today. And then it also dawned on me, that these feelings are probably very similar to the ones Ru is also likely to be having right now. And I thank God that He gives me the gift of these emotions so that I can appreciate the fear and anxiety that our soon-to-be son will also have. Fear manifests itself in all sorts of ways, including almost crying on trains. I'm thinking that all this waiting with time to think about it all, may be the hardest part for me. Very soon there will be work to be done. The hard work starts and I can do that.
The daypacks are loaded. The plan is that tomorrow we meet our guide at 10:00am and head to the bank to exchange the orphanage donation. Then we'll have lunch, and at 1:00pm we meet Ru at the Civil Affairs office, and his whole world will change in an instant. He will enter the building an orphan and exit a treasured son. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

HongKong Day 2 and lot of pics

The island at dusk
We walked and walked... We rode the hop-on hop-off, double-decker, open top, tourist bus, and Boo thought he might die of embarrassment. We went up the funicular to the top of Hong Kong, and if I didn't have a bit of vertigo I do now! Papa, who is so good at this sort of thing, found a little hole-in-the-wall noodle shop, Mak's Noodles, and we had a little amazing lunch packed with a ridiculous amount of people.
Because a kebab, curry and pizza restaurant made sense? 
Seriously the architecture in this city is amazing!
On the funicular going up. I think this is what it feels like to be a minority. 
View from the top. Just to give some perspective, those high-rise buildings below are 50-60+ stories high! 

Mimi checking out the color money
Gotta love China's alleyways! 
We went back to the hotel, rested our feet some, and went out and did it again through the evening. Again, Papa our tour director, found a "night market," and it was bustling. This city comes even more alive at night! 
At the night market
Tomorrow we take the train into Guangzhou, (Which is actually today since I'm writing about yesterday) and settle into our new hotel. On Monday we get Ru.

Today there is a little boy who is an orphan. Tomorrow he will be an orphan no more.

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