In the meantime - let me tell you about one year ago today. We had a furious night re-packing, thanks to some person - who wanted to blow up a plane from BeiJing to LanZhou - we had to remove ALL liquids, gels, pastes, aerosols, and powders from our carryon and place them in or checked bag. Which meant that most of us had NOTHING ready for meeting the children. We flew the short hop and landed in LanZhou. EFP was already showing signs of illness and I was so tired.. we retrieved our bags and headed to the bus. You know, when I think of China I seem to see it from above - rather than eye-level, probably because of all the bus rides! Anyway - we were in the bus and XiXi (guide par excellence) tells us "The babies are waiting for you at the hotel!" I thought to myself - "Whew! Only the babies! Not my big boy!" Then XiXi came over the speaker and said - Yes, and One big boy too!" Uh Oh! At that moment I was panicked. And a little annoyed. Two years earlier - we begged to meet our babies a day early and our wish could not be granted. But on this day - there were other plans.
We roll up to the Hotel.. and so begins the adventure... trying to jam our family into a tiny little room - when I was sure we booked a suite (we had) and so the room situation had to be rectified. Meanwhile our little boy was waiting in a conference room with the other kids. We get the room straight (we end up in a super deluxe suite complete with euro shower, bidet and 2 plasma screen TVs) and head down to the conference room.
I have to tell you I was so nervous and worried. When I saw his little face... he was such a sweetie.. but so sad. He was so much smaller than we expected and he seemed totally bewildered. (I think I knew then that they had not prepared him really well.. but I had no idea!) Now I know - he was not prepared.
Something like this happened. "Here you go EBB, here's some peanuts, go with this person. Tada... today we are going to hand you over to a big bunch of big smelly scary white people who will say things you can't possibly understand... try to touch you, take your clothes... throw things at you and make you eat weird food... betcha can't wait!!"
So is it really surprising the child was terrified, grief-stricken, inconsolable, confused, howling like a banshee (in case you ever wondered it is not a pretty happy sound..) and well, not that into Mama???
He burst into tears about 20 minutes after we met him.. and didn't really stop (except for the trip to KFC) till the next day.. and even that was only temporary. His adoption picture is the saddest thing on earth. He was howling - tears streaming down his face.. so mad and sad at the same time.
I won't say - that I enjoy this piece of the journey.. I do not. I do not like thinking about the trauma for him.. how hard it had to have been.
What I will say - is that bad beginnings do not tell the end. Within days he was happier.. truly fell for his little sister and Daddy.. only Mama remained persona non grata... (and would be for a while) everyone else got smiles and silly grins.
But - fast forward.. or don't. Stop and think how you might have reacted.. and then you might be thinking.. how did this happen.. how does a child go from being so scared and grieving.. to how he is today.. well... the middle story is too long for this post. It has not been easy for him.. but it HAS been worth being with him on the ride.
My little boy... is at least 2 years younger than we thought (we are working on correcting this). Smarter and smarter all the time... truly bright. He is funny and has a charming way about him.. he is sweet and loving.. compassionate with a keen sense of justice.. he loves noodles more than anything. LanZhou is a wheat province.. not much rice. Every single day we were there we ate the most fabulous handmade noodles... every day. Breakfast for sure, and a lot of lunches and dinners also. Except when we were eating pizza with RED AND GREEN CHERRIES.. LOL
He misses those noodles. A lot. He loves his Mommy - for which I am grateful to the angels, stars and whoever else moved his heart in my direction. It pains me not at all to say - I love this little boy more than I thought it possible to love anyone... other than my darling girl. That they have each other and are so loving to each other is another gift I can't ever have imagined. I truly hope they stay this close to each other. My son makes friends where ever he goes. His smile is a winsome little grin that dares you to keep a straight face.. it rarely happens. He has had to overcome a mountain of challenges. Adoption is the least and most of it... his physical challenges, learning, language and family... all seem to be ok with him. He loves school and learning.. loves his family beyond anything and really really is a happy boy nearly all the time.
For what started as a rough trip - we have landed in a place that has a happy little family. My children are a constant source of amazement... as well as love and cheer. I can not be anything other than happy - when I have such treasures.