Thursday, December 30, 2010

Joshua's Adoption Day (Wednesday, September 8)

On Sunday (September 5) we received Micaelyn, Monday we finalized the adoption, Tuesday was a down day, and Wednesday morning we left Guiyang to get Joshua.  Because of his 14th birthday the officials made a rare exception to the rule requiring 24 hours between placement and finalization so that we actually finalized his adoption on the same day we received him.

Unfortunately, Joshua's Adoption Day turned out to be a very difficult day (the difficulties had NOTHING to do with him - he was great).  We had left home a week and a half earlier with Caleb being very sick.  Naturally, me being the one to hold him, care for him, and sleep with him, I ended up getting sick too.  The night before we got Joshua was a miserable night with me being very sick, Caleb still being somewhat sick, Micaelyn crying a great deal of the night, and the boys getting woke up by her crying.  Thus I ended up getting absolutely NO sleep to add to the extreme cold I had, not to mention the pink-eye I had (and I had to keep wearing my contacts since I had no glasses).

We had to leave for the airport too early to get breakfast at the hotel (which was really frustrating since it had such a good breakfast buffet which we had already paid for).  It was chaos trying to get all the luggage and kids out of the hotel that early, and we were running late for the flight.  At the airport there was the usual chaos of getting checked in and getting through security.  It was made all the worse by the fact Caleb's toy bag (which we had saved as a carry-on), had his souvenir from climbing the Great Wall in Beijing, a sling-shot.  The security people considered it a weapon and took it, which was heartbreaking to Caleb.  He had begged for us to get him one when we first saw them upon arrival at the Great Wall, and we had promised him if he climbed the whole way with us we'd get him one.  It was an extremely difficult climb even for us adults, but as a sick 6 year old it took extreme effort for him to make it (and he did break down into tears many times along the way).  As promised we had rewarded him with the sling-shot for his effort, so to have it taken away was really sad.

Things didn't get any better once we finally got onto the plane (barely in time).  We were hot, crowded, and hungry.  Micaelyn was NOT happy.  She started crying and screaming to "go home."  Of course, we became the object of everyone's fascination and were stared at endlessly by half the plane.  The people behind us started trying to talk to Micaelyn, and immediately she saw them as her chance to get what she wanted.  She decided she wanted nothing to do with us and screamed that much more.  The flight attendant offered to take her to the back of the plane (thankfully we were in the next-to-last row).  I knew it would not be good to let her go, but with half the plane staring and obviously talking about us I really couldn't refuse.  Naturally, Micaelyn saw this young lady (who she started calling "big sister") as her savior.  She absolutely refused to have anything to do with us after that, and when the flight attendant had to give her back for the landing she showed everyone just how big a tantrum she could throw.

Thus by the time we got to Joshua I was exhausted from lack of sleep, miserable from illness (which was greatly exacerbated by the plane ride and the fact I NEVER got my ears to clear from the pressure changes), and worn-out from dealing with Micaelyn's screaming, meeting Caleb and Malachi's needs, traveling, etc.

When we arrived at the building where we were to meet Joshua once again, just as with Micaelyn, we met him outside of the building.  I recognized him as soon as the car stopped even though he was just inside the doors with his back to us.  He had on the same clothes he had worn in the few pictures we had of him.  It was a very awkward moment when we walked in and stepped onto the same elevator with him.  The government officials and our guides were obviously not expecting us to meet him that way, and he was obviously very nervous and quiet.  Once we got to the top he was taken away and they apologized for the awkwardness of how we had met, but of course that made it very anti-climatic once he was brought to us again.

We waited around for quite awhile in a large near-empty room.  Because it was a Wednesday it was very quiet, not like it usually is for adoptions. Usually there are many families getting their children all at once, but because of Joshua's 14th birthday we had to complete his adoption THEN, not wait until the start of the next week (most parents receive their children at the beginning of the week and complete the adoption the next day - getting Joshua on Wednesday and completing his adoption the same day was very unusual and was only done because the adoption had to be completed and registered before his 14th birthday).  The whole time Micaelyn was crying and begging to "go home" to her foster family.  Caleb and Malachi wanted to leave, and I'm sure Joshua did too.  Finally they were ready for us, we signed all the paperwork to complete Joshua's adoption, and we were able to go back to the hotel.

We could tell right away that Joshua was a very quiet kid.  He wouldn't make eye contact, wouldn't speak much even to the Chinese people.  We could tell he was very uncomfortable with physical affection so we didn't try to hug him, and we learned right away he really hated having his picture made.  Thus, because I didn't want to upset him on his first day with us, I didn't try to take his picture no matter how much I wanted to.  Instead I gave some cameras to him and Caleb in hopes of getting a few pictures that way.  He didn't let Caleb take his picture either, but he did enjoy taking pictures.  Here are a few he took. 
It was sweet to hear Joshua trying to pose Caleb and Micaelyn for the picture.  The "peace" sign (or "V for Victory") is common in Chinese photos, so it's no surprise he was having them do this.
You can really see her sadness.
Caleb took this picture of Micaelyn eating fried rice at Pizza Hut.  We really loved the Pizza Hut there - their pizza was excellent and they had more things on their menu than most restaurants in America, everything from soups, rice dishes, steaks, lamb, chicken, seafood, an unbelievable variety.

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