Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gotcha Day!

First of all, let me just say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CALEB!!!! We love you and we miss you and we want you to know that you are a big brother now!

This morning started out kind of like the birth days of our other children. Phil was really excited and wanted to call everyone and I was kind of thinking I might throw up.

We met Rebecca in the lobby of our hotel weighted down with gifts, donations, and a backpack full of paperwork and baby items. The walk to the Civil Affairs Building took us on a beautiful path next to a river with all kinds of beautiful trees blossoming. It seemed to take FOREVER, but it did help me to calm down. Inside the building and up some steps and we walked right into the room where they were all waiting for us. I saw Joshua right away sitting on the table next to one of the nannies. They handed him to Phil right away and he looked a little worried about this. As soon as the nanny backed away, he got really upset - crying, screaming, arching his back, kicking – just really, really mad. We took that to be a good sign of an emotionally healthy toddler.

I thought the nannies did a good job of occasionally trying to help him calm down and then backing away to let us be the parents. They really seemed to be affectionate with him and kept taking pictures of us. The orphanage director kept insisting on telling us that he is really smart. “He is the smartest baby,” she would say.

It was also obvious that he had a cold and even though the other babies were content as could be with their new parents, Joshua absolutely would not calm down, until he finally exhausted himself and fell asleep in Phil's arms.

We were glad to see the photo album we sent, as well as the disposable cameras and at least one thing from each care package we sent, confirming that he got both of them.

They also gave us pictures of when he was in the hospital for his lip repair surgery. We had really been worried about that because we knew that he was in there for a whole month, but we were relieved to see not only his favorite nanny at the hospital with him, but also his two playmates who were also adopted in our group today. Apparently, they all had their surgeries at the same time and seemed to be sharing a crib in all the pictures they had.

We sat for a while with Joshua sleeping in our arms, while Rebecca and the other officials were busy with our paperwork. It was nice that for once, someone else was worrying about all the paperwork and not us. At one point, some random man walks in the room who really didn't look like he belonged there and they all got into a very heated discussion. Rebecca didn't seem too concerned, so we weren't either, but it was quite entertaining. Later, at different points during the day, one of us would ask her what that was all about, but she would always just sort of giggle and change the subject.

We asked the orphanage director a few questions about Joshua and she insisted on telling us again how smart he is. “Very quiet,” she said, “but always thinking.” Then she smiled at me and said, “He looks like his mama.”

With his big beautiful eyes and long eyelashes, I'll take that as a compliment.

Rebecca seemed very friendly with the orphanage director and later Phil asked her if she knew the orphanage director well. “Oh, yes,” she replied. “And she is a Christian so she is my sister.”

We signed some guardianship papers because China gives a 24 hour trial period to make sure we want to adopt him and then we go back tomorrow to make it really official. Then we have to wait here five business days for his passport before we can go to Guangzhou to complete paperwork for the U.S.

There aren't many foreigners in Hangzhou, so a group of foreigners carrying Chinese babies invites a lot of open staring. Joshua woke up on the way home and we thought he might get hysterical again to see just us and no nannies, but he just took everything in quietly. And that has pretty much been his disposition for the entire rest of the day.

When the director told us that he had a quiet personality, that may have been an understatement. In fact, if hadn't been screaming so much this morning, I would question whether or not his vocal chords work. He is also feeling sick and even running a little fever so I'm sure that's part of it. No smiles yet, but he doesn't seem to have any trouble making eye contact with us or even snuggling a little.

He watches us with big, solemn eyes, and we suspect he is holding his cards close to his chest. We offered him Cheerios and a sippy cup but he won't take anything himself, just waits for us to put them in his mouth. We thought maybe he couldn't feed himself until someone held up a little fried shrimp fry to show me something that babies here like and he reached right over and grabbed it and ate it. We know he can walk because he did it this morning when he was so upset, but alone with us he hasn't shown any inclination to do it since.

He has had a lot to take in today, including two brand new people in his face and a trip to the grocery store (it sounds so routine to go to the grocery store on such a special day, but we needed a lot of essentials). It occurred to us while we were there that he had probably never been to the grocery store before and it was probably very overwhelming.

It is currently 6:30 pm and he has crashed hard, probably for the night. As I was giving him a bottle, I sensed what a gift this child is to us. The Psalmist says that “all of the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” I can see that the hand of God has been on Joshua's life since the day of his birth and it is a privilege that God has written us into his story.


Sharon said...

Marty is in Mississippi doing OPs reviews so he called this morning to tell me that you have Joshua. What a beautiful child! His Gotcha Day sounds much like our Bailey's. God bless you and keep you during this time. It won't be long until you see Joshua's sweet smile and as our girls say "it will make Mama's heart happy".
Congratulations again and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CALEB!


Poppa said...

We are so proud of you guys. He is so beautiful. Grammy was sharing with me how when Joshua was trying to get away from Phil and crying, that is how we are with God sometimes, when he wants to do what is best for us, and we start fighting, when in reality, that is the best place to be. Just like Joshua doesn't know it now, but he is in the best care in the world.

epin said...

Congrats! What a beautiful family.

Epin (fellow Wenzhou parent)

JJ said...

Ang - I'm so excited for you guys. I've been keeping up with your progress and I have to admit that I'm sitting here, reading about this momentous time, crying. Good for you and your whole family!