Saturday, July 13, 2013

China Day Six - It's A Boy!

"I prayed for this child and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." - I Samuel 1:27

When we began  the process of adopting from China, Lifeline had us read books and watch videos about attachment and bonding, as well as parenting children within medical needs. Everything talks about the day you meet your child and the unrealistic expectations that many families have going into it. After all by the time you reach this day you have been paper chasing after your child for usually a year or more and are so excited to finally meet him or her. But the reality is that the child has not been waiting for you necessarily or even being prepared for your arrival. They have no idea how much their life is about to change - for the good in the long run, but difficult in the short term. All along we had been preparing for the worst possible reaction by Davis and praying that things would go as well as they could under the difficult circumstances.

When I woke up on our Forever Family Day, Daryl was already awake. In fact, he had been awake for several hours. And he shared with me the following story of what he felt led to pray for in the middle of the night....
It was 3:45 A.M. and I sat straight up in bed. I tried to go back to sleep but could not. I played games on my phone, read for a bit, but nothing worked. Then I thought, maybe God wants to talk to me. So I got on my knees at the side of the bed and I listened. Nothing. So I began praying, praying for that day and a few realistic ideas. You see that is usually the mode of my prayer life. I tend to stay in the realm of realism, nothing to bold, but things that should be possible. I prayed that there would not be too much crying, that we would be able to console him sooner rather than later. Then I stopped, I do not why, but I stopped. I changed course and I began to pray boldly for perfection. I told God I have been faithful through this process, I have answered the call you gave us to adopt, and you have done mighty things through this process to make this all work. You have called, we have answered, and thus far you have shown up in mountain-moving ways. I am not going to undersell you in this moment. So I prayed for perfection and I told God that I knew that through him it can be realized. I began to pray for no crying, that Davis would take to us easily and that there would be immense amounts of joy that day. I asked that this transition would be the best adoption transition this world has ever known and with God directing it, it would happen.

How great is our God?! He had given this insomniac the blessing of a full night's sleep and then gave Daryl this incredible prayer time. We were more comfortable and confident about meeting our son, but we still had several hours to fill until our 2:30pm appointment at the Civil Affairs Office. 

We started the morning off at the amazing buffet breakfast at the Garden, and wandered the grounds of the hotel with its two man-made waterfalls and several large koi ponds. Later we hit the streets and wandered around, spending most of our time in the Guangzhou Friendship Store across from our hotel. 
It sounds like a mom and pop store but nothing could be further from the truth. It is located on the bottom 7 floors of two towers - the Guangzhou World Trade Center - and is a very high end mall. Nothing we could afford, but it was a nice air conditioned place to walk around and kill some time. The boys were hungry so we grabbed lunch from Burger King and headed back to the hotel to change our clothes (into our Chinese name shirts) and make sure Davis' backpack of goodies was ready to go. 

Before we left the hotel, Grandmommy and Granddaddy came to our room and we circled up to pray with Daryl leading. Then we went downstairs to meet our guide Helen and the other two Lifeline families (the Cooks and Fowlers) who would be receiving children from the Guangdong province that day. We loaded up in a van and headed to the Guangzhou Civil Affairs office. It took about 30 minutes to reach a very nondescript office building where we would meet our son. Up on the 8th floor we were ushered into one big bright room where all the families adopting from the Guangdong province meet their children.

In addition to our agency's families, there were about five other families meeting their children. While we sat waiting for Davis, we watched two families meet in the center of the room for the first time. So I was already a bit teary when our guide Helen grabbed us and brought us into the middle of the room. There, already walking toward us was our little boy, holding onto the hand of one of the social workers from his orphanage.

Davis went to Daryl first, who held him and talked to him. He didn't cry but rather just stared at us. We were escorted back to one of the benches where we got a chance to sit together as a family. Granddaddy was taking pictures and Grandmommy was taking video. Parker broke out the Angry Birds backpack with some toys and in no time Davis and his brothers were playing with a ball on the floor.

Daryl had signed the temporary guardianship paper while we were waiting for Davis and while the boys were playing he was also able to talk with the social worker who brought Davis from the orphanage. She answered some of the other questions we had about Davis' routine and food preferences. 

We were also given a bag from the orphanage, which contained two more answers to prayer. One was the items from the care package that we sent to Davis earlier this year - a photo album of our family and house and also the cars we had sent for him to play with. We did not know if Davis had received the package or not in his foster home - many families have sent gifts ahead only to have them returned unopened with their child. But Davis' had been opened and used. It seems his foster family had received the package and also gone over the picture album with him. Because when Daryl flipped the album open to show Davis, he immediately named us as Mama and Baba (Daddy). The other answer to prayer was a folder from an organization called Half the Sky, a non-profit started by an adoptive mom years ago that works in various orphanages throughout China training caretakers and operating preschools. We knew Guangzhou was a Half the Sky orphanage but we figured since Davis was so young, he would not have had much connection with them. We were so wrong. Inside the folder were regular updates done by Half the Sky on our little boy (all written in Mandarin of course, so we need to have them translated). But with every update, they had taken pictures. We now have pictures of our boy prior to his cleft lip surgery (done at 9 months old) and pictures of him growing up taken at regular intervals over the first two years. I was always kind of sad, that our adopted child would never have baby pictures. But Davis does indeed have pictures. 

Finally it was time to leave. We took some pictures as a family first with the social worker from the orphanage and then went back down the elevator and out to the van carrying our new son. Just like that our van had gained three new passengers - our handsome Davis and two beautiful little girls being adopted by the other families. 

Our first stop was one of necessity. We went to Carrefour, a large grocery store so that the other families could get formula and diapers and so that we could get snacks and juice for our little guy. 

Then it was back to the hotel for a while to play together. Helen went to all three families' rooms to work on more paperwork with them and we were the last of the three. There was a lot of tickling and laughing going on between the boys.

After Helen left we were all starving so it was back to the Mexican place from the night before for dinner. Davis did well with us, playing toys at the table until the food arrived and eating quite nicely. When we got back to the room, the boys all played together again for a bit and then it was time to start the business of baths before bed. We had brought bubble bath and toys, but we need not have worried. Our little man absolutely loved the water and had great fun playing and getting washed. When it was time for bed I stayed behind in the bedroom with Davis while the rest went out into the living room. He and I laid together on the big bed in the almost dark and within a few minutes he was fast asleep. We moved him to the crib before we went to sleep and he stayed there and slept soundly until 5:30am the next morning. Officially a family of five and all of our prayers were answered in such a magnificent way. And 

"By choice, we have become a family, first in our hearts and finally in breath and being." - Richard Fischer

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