The only thing on our official schedule today was a debriefing about our return to the States (how to get through the various customs and immigration checks). Craig did that by himself while the rest of us hung out in the room. For a while, we had three competing movies going–way noisy.
At lunchtime we got a special visit from Joshua Zhong (the co-founder of our adoption agency). I believe he was already in-country for meetings, and he stopped by to check in with J. J really likes Joshua, and we’ve got a couple of great pictures with real smiles (check out the one at the right).
This evening we got out of the room for supper and then for some swimming. All in all, not a bad day.
At least that’s what it sounds like J was saying this morning as he tried to get some friends to help him with something. After checking in with our CCAI rep here, we think it was shoring up his lines of communication, so he’s sure to still be able to get in touch with the people he knows when he returns with us to America. (At least I hope it was a friend he was talking to at the point he gave out the password. He was also talking to at least one stranger at the time.)
In some ways it’s discouraging that he doesn’t feel like we can or will be able to help him keep lines of communication open, but in other ways it’s very encouraging that he seems to be planning on coming home with us. It was also encouraging that he was willing to play basketball with us for a while (maybe half an hour) this evening.
B and K also benefited from getting out of the hotel room, if only for a few minutes. They’re holding up pretty well, though B is having a rough time adjusting to our new family dynamics. Even K has had a few bad moments.
At the end of the day, there’s one thing I keep thinking about–J’s password. It may be that “love” is indeed the password to his heart.
This morning, J and I, along with his teachers and a bunch of other adoptive families, went to the hospital that does all the check-ups for everybody who is trying to get an immigration visit to the US. Near as I can tell, J has been getting worked up about this since he heard about it. He got more and more sullen throughout the morning, and when it came time to do vaccinations, he actively resisted going into the room. His teachers believe the entire fuss was about a fear of vaccinations. This seems incredible to me–except I’m pretty sure Craig had to physically restrain Ben to get him to sit still for his last shot.
Eventually, J got them done, though, and he’s been more cooperative ever since. He still doesn’t want to leave the room or spend much time with us while he’s there, but he’s expressed some interest in food (he likes chicken sandwiches, cookies and pizza. We’ll see if we can’t manage to get some Chinese food into the mix tomorrow.) Anyway, we’re still moving forward, albeit slowly.
Since it’s late, I’ll keep this to the short story: With help from some wonderful ladies from Junyong’s orphanage, we made it to Guangzhou, and are back on a schedule where we should be able to finalize the adoption on Thursday.
We are supposed to be in Guangzhou at this time, but we’re still in Dalian because J ran away from us at the airport. This time I ran with him, and stayed with him until Craig and some friends were able to find us and take us back to a hotel room Craig had located for us. It took about five hours, mostly of walking around and around the parking lot. During this time, J frequently told people I wasn’t his mother and that he doesn’t want to go back to America with me. Once we got back, we learned that some of the reason for this (or perhaps all of it) was due to the fact that he felt embarrassed to have a foreigner for a mother, which is understandable. I do rather stand out, being a fat white woman with mediocre Chinese.
A couple of teachers from J’s school have come down here, and had a talk with him this evening. We’re not sure where things stand at the moment. We would like for this adoption to go forward, but J seems conflicted about it–both wanting and not wanting it. We’re trying to figure out if there’s any way we can make things work that is safe for him. We’ll meet with the teachers again early tomorrow to try to work things out.
Last time we were in China, there were no bullet trains. I’m glad I got to be on one this trip–they’re clean and spacious, with plenty of luggage room, and they whisper along the tracks at astonishing speeds. It used to take four or five hours to get to Dalian from Shenyang. Today we did the trip in two.
It has been great to see a few friends as well (though our shortened time-frame means we weren’t able to revisit all the places we wanted to, and a steady drizzle made getting around town a slow, soggy affair)
J seems to be having a hard time leaving his hometown, (and who could blame him), but he seems to be hanging in there.
We’re now on our third hotel of the trip. We’re staying on the 26th floor, and the elevator ride up, when we can get the glass-backed one, is phenomenal. We can try to get a picture from it tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, we head out for Guangzhou in the morning, so I’d better make my way to bed.
This morning, one of J’s teachers brought him back to us, and helped us all do some adjusting to each other. J says he really does want to be adopted, and we believe that at least part of him does. The other part is grieving for all the things he’s going to miss–and is missing already. We know we can’t replace those things, but hope that he’ll eventually find that being part of a family is a good thing too.
During the big long meeting, B and K entertained themselves by turning into a pillow sandwich, and we also had some fun tossing around a beach ball (even J joined in for a bit.) In general, things have been going a bit better today than they were before yesterday, and we hope that we’ll be able to have more fun moments that might make J’s transition easier.
We were supposed to travel to Dalian today, but our new young man ran off. We’re still not sure what it was all about (the proximate cause may have been a disagreement he and I had about luggage–which seems rather silly in retrospect), but we spent a few frantic minutes this morning looking for him, and then most of the day in the hotel room waiting for either the police to find him or him to show up someplace. The latter finally happened around seven pm. He made it back to the orphanage. We’re so relieved. We’ll get to talk to him tomorrow.
The orphanage says he’s sorry & still wants to be adopted, so there’s at least some chance we can work this out. We certainly hope so. If you think of it, please remember to keep us in your thoughts.
Anyway, no fun pictures today–except this little bit of a cultural phenomenon that we found in the Walmart here when we stopped in for an after-supper diet coke and ice cream run. (The English writing is a bit small, but if you zoom in, you may be able to see that the top row of chips are grilled squid flavor, while the lower two are barbecue chicken flavor.) This kind of thing is why I so prize potato-flavored potato chips.
Today we finished up the paperwork at the registration office and then took a longish bus ride out into the suburb where J’s orphanage is. It is a beautiful new facility.
J was hoping to meet up with a number of his friends, but it turned out most were still in school, and we were too early to see them. This was a big disappointment. He made up for not seeing them by texting them continuously as soon as he had access to his tablet.
It was interesting to see the place where he grew up and to meet some of his teachers and friends. We also ate lunch in his cafeteria, so saw a bit of what ordinary food has been like for him.