I wanted to write down how his Gotcha Day went before I forget with all the new memories we are making.
We were all very, very anxious and nervous. We met with our guide, Miko, around 10:30 to prepare documents and discuss the day. She left and told us to meet her at 2:00 to take a van - with another family - to the Civil Affairs building.
The van came - we all piled up - hearts pounding. They told us it would take 30 minutes and then we were there in about 15. We wandered through a crowded alley to a nice, but very HOT building. In the large room there were families EVERYWHERE. It was crowded and there were American families,orphanage directors, translators.....it was a bit overwhelming at that point.
All of a sudden, Jenny, who is the director of his foster program, walked out to meet me. I had no idea she was American, not Chinese. She gave me some gifts - a quilt that a group in the US makes for the babies leaving True Foster Home/Foster Services, a really cool thing that looks like a pen that is made with the lock of his first haircut. It includes his birthdate and some other information in a beautiful case (see picture below). She gave me the backpack and all the clothes/items we had sent him. She also gave me a picture of the entire foster family. The best part was a scrapbook that is FILLED with photos of him from infancy (when he was first brought here from the orphanage) to now. It shows him playing, his favorite things to do,how he grew, interaction with the foster parents, preparing to leave to meet us. Wow - it is a keepsake for sure. It also includes a letter from the foster parents. I just have to share part of it...
Zhong Mao is the favorite child in our foster family. He is smart, cute, active, thoughtful, strong-willed and handsome. He will leave our home for a faraway place. Our whole family wishes him a safe trip, good health and a heart that honors his parents. We hope that he will use his wisdom and intelligence to do busienss, to increase wealth and to bring happiness to his family and society. We hope he will be able to see his future from you.
Wow.................what an unbelievable gift they have given to us by caring for him so well. We actually get to meet them (without Jaxson present) on Friday!
Anyway, back to the story......she gave me these gifts....I am shaking. Hayley is playing with Alexis who is a bit scared. Jason is filming for the other family. Our guide came and told me, "he is VERY strong willed and stubborn. But he is very smart. He will be upset." All of a sudden, he came walking out with his medical caregiver. We walked over to him and he started screaming and trying to run away. That boy is strong! Nothing went like I thought. I thought we'd be in a quiet room and we'd gradually offer him food/toys. Nope! They said, "pick him up and hug him." He resisted so bad. I couldn't hold him because he was kicking and pushing so hard. The room was blazing hot. Jason walked him for 30 minutes over and over as he just screamed and gagged. It was heartbreaking. Different Chinese women kept telling me it was ok, it was good, he was grieving, etc. I still felt horrible. I looked around and every other baby was just sitting there and he was so loud they asked Jason to walk down the hallway! I was pulled in a room to ask the foster directors questions. My mind was so blank by then. I just stumbled through a few things and cried a bit, asking if he would calm down. He clung to a pringle can and a little skateboard. They asked me to take a picture with the orphanage director, so I did - a bit disoriented. Then they said, "we must go." We piled up all of our stuff and got into an even hotter elevator. By the time the elevator landed, he quit crying. Within 5 miles, he was imitating Alexis and started smiling/laughing and repeating some words. It was the most unbelievable transformation. I have no idea how it happened or how to explain it. I will try to show some video to help you understand.
We got back to the hotel and he became very wild and playful. He is quite active and he had to stop him from throwing toys in the toilet, jumping off the bed, etc. He is very happy, though. He is SO smart....wow! We went to McDonald's and he loved his chicken nuggets and fries. I held Alexis, and at one point he tried to push her off and sit with me! He really is bonding with Jason more right now, but that is ok. He was extremely close to his foster dad.
Bedtime was rough. He was so stubborn and then so sad. He kept crying and saying the same things repeatedly. He finally gave in (or passed out). :-)
He is potty trained (yes!), but likes to go A LOT. He is fascinated by flushing the potty and laughs every time.
We are so thrilled with him and cannot wait to continue to bond in the days ahead. It is 6:00 in the morning here, so everyone should be waking up soon! We have to go to the police station today to apply for his passport (which will take several days to process - which is why we will be here another week). I will try to attach some video below.
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this experience. I get so excited every time I check the computer at the overwhelming response. It encourages us, inspires us and gives us energy to keep going. Please keep writing! You are like our cheerleaders! We also appreciate Diane and the youth at church - the cards are awesome and we love reading them!
Laura Beth (video upload isn't working - I'll have Jason help me when he wakes up!)