Yesterday (Monday China time) Zhao Yu joined our family!!!! It was an incredibly long, happy, emotional and overwhelming day. We thought we were just going to meet him and do a small amount of paperwork, then finalize the adoption today. So we brought very little with is as far as snacks and entertainment and it turned out to be an 8.5 hour day!
Our meeting him could not have gone better. He was waiting for us in a government office and was all smiles when we walked in. It's amazing what can be said even when we don't speak the same language. The orphanage prepared him well for us, he immediately called us Momma and Babba (Daddy) and GeGe (big brother). He showed off some toys he had and couldn't take his eyes off us. Looking back over our 3 experiences meeting our adoptive kiddos, we've been incredibly lucky. Allie came right to is with no tears, Maggie came right to me and promptly fell asleep and now a smiling Joey! Many, many kids scream and refuse their new parents at first meeting. Hard times are coming, though, and we're very aware that Joey has a lot of grieving to do, but it made for an easier first day with him for sure.
I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all the places we went yesterday. Literally 5 minutes after meeting him at the civil affairs office, we were whisked away to a different place a few blocks away to have his passport picture taken. Walking downtown here is no easy feat, there are people everywhere and construction and traffic like you wouldn't believe. Joey can walk better and faster than we anticipated on even surfaces but he's very wobbly on uneven pavement and can't do stairs well at all. So Jeremy carried him a LOT as we adventured around town.
After the picture, we went to the bank to exchange money. Then we went back to the picture place to pick up the pictures, then journeyed back to the civil affairs office to complete a lot of paperwork, be interviewed about our intentions and finalize the adoption. The orphanage director gave us a thick memory book of him with pictures and drawings he's made over the years. He was a part of OneSky, an American run program within the orphanage, we're so thankful for the records and pictures they collected for us! There's a lot written in chinese so we'll have to look into getting that translated.
Then we went to the notary office for more paperwork. Then to another bank to deposit the orphanage fee, which was an extremely long, hot walk with deadends, bsuy streets and alleys and stairs and crumbling sidewalks and construction..by this time it was well past lunch and we were losing steam quickly. Poor Jeremy.had to carry Joey most of that time. Then we had to backtrack that crazy route back to our van.
Then our guide treated us to a local lunch, I think the restaurant was called Big Plate Chicken. We were a little nervous about the food, it's easy for Americans to get sick from certain foods and the water here, but it was very good. Joey was famished and he gobbled it all up. We got our first glimpse into how he feeds himself, he can't use chopsticks but has his way of using a spoon and his hands and mouth to feed himself. Ben won't have much to do with the local food here, but we are choosing our battles right now. :) I'm glad we got to share a traditional Chinese meal with Joey and our guide and driver. We showed them pictures of our other kids and house...they called our 3 bedroom ranch a " villa" and asked how much money Jeremy makes and called us rich. It was a good reminder of how blessed we are by the world's standards. Our guide is literally the only English speaking person we've met here in his province so we are clinging to her; she is sweet and kind and has been such a great help translating for us with Joey!
After lunch, we went to apply for his passport, it was a bit of a drive only to be told we had to go somewhere else. So another long drive ensued and all of the boys fell asleep. We got to the new passport building and it was such a rigmarole getting in, going through security, etc. Finally we were done for the day and made our way back to the hotel. We forced ourselves to stay awake until 10 and then we all crashed.
Joey slept a solid 11 hours and woke up happy. We have 2 beds in this room, slightly bigger than twins, so Jeremy was going to sleep with Joey and Ben With me, but Joey made a nest on the floor between the bed and the wall and slept soundly. He just ate an enormous breakfast of fried rice and noodles and breads and egg and congee and beans....he just kept eating and eating. He's better independent , he even peeled his own egg! He's a very determined young man, that will serve him well.
He told our guide he thought we were going to the US today, how I wish! We are here in his province until friday, waiting for his passport to be processed. Please pray there are no snags with that so we can head to the last city on Friday!
Overall he has been amazing. It's great, but we also know from experience that a typical 8 year old would not and should not go willingly with strangers. He likes us but also ran out of the room to Chase down.the house keeper. He runs on and off elevators without us and wanders away from us on the street. He doesn't really understand that we're forever. He also doesn't understand all he's losing by leaving his birth country. He'll have to grieve and figure this all out, so it's not going to remain this easy. But we're so thankful he's ours and that were starting our journey as a forever family! Today is a free day and we're going to check out a nearby park. We're very hopeful to visit the orphanage tomorrow.
(I think the pictures are in the reverse order of our day.)