This is Abby posting for Laura, as her internet connection isn't cooperating at the present time. She will continue this blog and post pictures as soon as possible. Enjoy!
By now, most of you know we have Caleb. He is doing great, adjusting well to us, and being very patient.
I thought I'd tell you a little about how yesterday went down. I won't post many photos because the connection is slow.
We rose to a 5:15AM alarm clock and quickly got ready for the day. We had to be at breakfast when they opened at 6:30AM in order to be ready to leave for the orphanage by 6:45.
Breakfast was a vast array of Chinese and American fare. You really can't imagine what a Chinese 5-star breakfast buffet is like until you see it. On the Chinese side: friendrice, congee, vegetables, pickled eggs, fried meats, fried eggs, sausages, the list goes on and one. On the Western side: cereal, milk, muffins, fruit, etc. Lots of variety and plenty of opportunity to overeat bright and early. This is where Tom gets his fill for the day. He's much less adventuresome at the Chinese restaurants for lunch and dinner.
The ride to the orphanage was about an hour long. Lots of early morning Beijing traffic: cars, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and many vehicles that defy description piled with oddly packed wares.
We arrived at the orphanage and quickly went inside to a meeting room. There we began signing and placing red thumb prints on a lot of documents. One of the documents was an agreement to care for the child for the next 48 hours, a waiting period, if you will. If at the end of the 48 hours we "liked this boy", we would then complete the adoption, we were told.
In the midst of signing and stamping, I heard the shuffle of feet into the room. I just assumed it was another orphanage worker, as there were many of them entering and exiting. When I turned to look, there he was. No announcement or fanfare. He stood holding his Aiyi's hand looking as though he had not been up for long. They had dressed him for his big day in a turtleneck sweater and a bright red coat. Under his sweater was a long sleeved shirt, and under his sweatpants where long underwear. It was probably 65 degrees outside.
He was told that we were "Mama and Baba". He looked confused. They brought him to us and we greeted him in Chinese: "Ni hao, XiRui!" He gave us the obligatory hug when prompted to by his nanny, just as I had predicted he would. Later, our guide told us that he didn't know what was happening. In my experience, it is possible he just didn't understand. How do you explain adoption to a five year old?
We quickly found a bright red toy car in the backpack and gave it to him. He fingered it excitedly, turned it over in his hands a few times, grinned widely at us, and then slid it across the floor with gusto! Big room, slick floor, little boy, Matchbox car. You get the drift. He hasn't put it down, except to eat, potty, and bathe. He has it right now in his hand as he sleeps.
The paper signing finished, we were done. It was very quick. We took a family photo or two inside and outside the orphanage, as that is probably the last time he will ever see it. We left as quietly as we entered, little boy in tow. No tears, no grief, just excitement that we were getting into a big van! He told the guide he wanted to go to the zoo in the big van!
We were then off to the Civil Affairs office to register the adoption. Caleb (XiRui as we call him now) was glued to the window, taking in all the busyness of the bustling city around us. The guide engaged him in conversation and he chattered away with her, answering her questions. He told her he had several foster siblings, exactly how many we aren't clear about. Her told her older and younger brothers and older and younger sisters, which the guide says is highly unlikely. We shall soon know that detail when we get back with the orphanage workers in a couple days. We aren't sure how long he has been back at the orphanage, but it was obvious that he didn't consider it "home" or really miss leaving it at all.
To be continued.....