Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday night

April 11 2012 afternoon

After our naps, we gave the two littlest boys baths for the first time. Both Leo and Sam liked the bath, and they both knew how to soap themselves down etc. As I mentioned before, our children have all been well-trained in hygiene and neatness! At around 5pm, we ventured over to the local Pizza Hut for dinner. David is already tired of Chinese food, and Pizza is pizza. At least the food is closer to pizza than to Chinese food. Leo (Dang Tong) is, as I’ve mentioned, more like a 3 year old than an almost 5 year old (his birthday is April 25)). We had to remove the salt and pepper from the table, and watch him play with all the silverware while we ate. I don’t think Dang Tong (Leo) ate a bite of food; instead he pulled some biscuits out of his pocket. Sam (Fu, KangChao) ate ½ a slice of pizza, but by the end of the meal he began melt-down number 2. We had to scoop him up and run to the hotel, once again, with a sobbing child, screaming for his Baba. We are trying to teach John how to comfort Fu, KangChao, since he has attached exclusively to John for now. John is not quite 16 years old yet, and I’m sure he was never comforted as a child. As soon as Fu, KangChao begins crying, John begins to distance himself—which sends Sam (Fu, KangChao) right over the edge. John wants to say things like "Shut up. You’re embarrassing us." We are trying to show John that all Fu, KangChao needs is for him to rub his back and coo things like, "Everything will be ok." Fortunately, this melt-down was shorter than the other night, and then it’s as if it never happened. During this crisis though, Ben also started sobbing. Yes, it’s that heartbreaking to watch him crying for his father. Less than 10 minutes afterwards, the kids are all singing the theme song to the Pleasant Goat cartoon, and all is well. While I’m happy it’s resolved, for tonight, both John and David are building up a serious anger for the orphanage director who let Fu, KangChao believe they were his Mom and Dad. We’ve decided that we can’t eat dinner outside of the hotel for awhile. As Ben said, dinner is when he lost his dad. We better just eat dinner in the room.

More pictures

Some pictures

April 11 2012 Harbin

After spending most of the day in the airport, we arrived last night, around 7pm. All three of our sons were great in the airport (we waited six hours) and on the two hour flight. Ben and Sam slept most of the flight. We found that Sam is not at all shy, he knows what he wants, and he’s not afraid of strangers or airplanes. Sam greeted our guide confidently, chatted with her in perfect Mandarin, and seems to be in perfect health. Sam is 6 ½ years old, and, although he’s small in size, he can count to 40 (at least), and seems to be developmentally on target. Our guide escorted us to the hotel, and we went directly to bed. This morning as we headed to the breakfast buffet, Sam didn’t hesitate to hit the number 2 button on the elevator. Our buffet was on the second floor at the other hotel. The buffet is on the fourth floor here, but we were impressed nonetheless. At 9:15am, we met our guide to go meet Dang Tong at the Civil Affairs office. We wanted to meet him at the orphanage, but we were told that foreigners were not being allowed there anymore. The orphanage staff would bring him to us at Civil Affairs. Susan, the director of the adoptions at Civil Affairs, obviously loves the children and her job. She spent 45 minutes with us, presenting gifts to Ben, Sam and John and asking about our family. She had us show her on a map where we live, and she told us that her son attends college in Toronto. By the end of the interview, Susan told us that she will try to visit us the next time she’s in Toronto with her son. We signed an agreement that we will have 24 hours custody of Dang Tong, and then we will finalize the adoption tomorrow. This 24 hour “harmonious period” is so that adoptive families can assess the child and make certain that they are able to be good parents to the child. We skipped this step with Fu, KangChao because we expedited his adoption. Finally, the orphanage staff brought DangTong (Leo) to us. As is the Chinese custom, he was bundled up in so many layers that he could barely move. There were ten adults in the room at that point, all speaking over each other, telling Dang Tong about his brothers and his family. Of course, he looked petrified! Then Dang Tong went over to his backpack, and brought out candy that he happily distributed to everyone. While he was passing out the goodies, we had an opportunity to ask the orphanage staff questions about our son. The only question I had was if he got car sick on the ride over (he did not), and if he was potty-trained both day and night (yes). After ten minutes of chaos, we headed back to the hotel. I worked hard to establish eye contact with Dang Tong, and he finally spoke his first word in Mandarin. I didn’t know what he said, but he was finally not frozen in fear. The car ride was only 20 minutes, and DangTong sat on my lap the entire ride. I placed my cheek on his, and he leaned into me and smiled! In the hotel room, Dang Tong began to pass out everything in his backpack. Over and over he would bring us crackers, cookies, candy, sugar cubes, and all his treasures. We would each say Xie Xie (Thank you) and he would go get us something else. It was like playing tea party with a toddler. An hour later, Fu KangChao (Sam) and Ben were getting a bit wild, so we decided to walk with the boys to the park nearby. It is cold here, 30 degrees maybe, and windy. As we walked to the park, Dang Tong held my hand and clung to my side. Fu KangChao also held my hand, but only because John needed a break. As I’ve said before, Fu KangChao has bonded with John, and John is already getting tired of being a parent. Lol. John will be a great parent, when the time comes, just not ready to be “on” full time now. DangTong is almost as big as Fu, KangChao, even though he’s 17 months younger. This area of China is heavily influenced by Russia, and the people are taller. Other than size, the two boys are nothing alike in personality. Fu, KangChao has a strong, leader personality. Like two dogs, Fu, KangChao already tried to see if he was alpha to Ben. Ben, who is usually complacent and more than cooperative, did stand up to Fu, KangChao. Ben has made it clear that he is not going to be dominated by this little spit-fire brother. DangTong, on the other hand, is developmentally like a three year old, from what we’ve observed so far. I carried him back to the hotel after our walk, and he seems to adore his new momma. All of the boys (David included) have been down for a nap for the last 90 minutes. I’m sure I’ll gain more perspective after we have more time as a family. One big thing I’ve noticed, though, is that all of our adopted children have been CLEAN. They like to wipe their hands, pick up their toys, and wash their faces. Fu KangChao also brushes his teeth like a pro. Unfortunately, it’s apparent that DangTong is going to have the same major dental issues that Ben had. Oh well, we know a great dentist. I’ll write more later.