Good afternoon to all,
If you would have asked us to imagine the scene of how we would want our first introduction to Dylan to unfold, we never, in our most optimistic moment, could have come up with anything close to what happened this morning.
We left the hotel at around 9AM. In the car were Veronica, Kyle, Lisa, me and all the butterflies that would fit. On the way over, Veronica briefed us again on what might happen when we met Fuxu. Having come from a solid foster situation, he would likely be experiencing a lot of confusion and may not approach of even want us to be near him. This was no real surprise to us, as we had prepared by reading (Lisa much more than me - then she coached me) books on toddler adoption and the trauma of the shift from foster family to forever family. We were prepared for what might happen and had even tried to explain to Special K what he might see and hear.
We arrived first at the civil affairs building and we were led to a small nondescript conference room upsatirs. The lady janitor removed the lock and heavy chain, not caring that the racket was frighteningly loud to Kyle. From the size of the shackles on the door, you would have thought that the room safeguarded last surviving copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book. Instead we found ourselves in a simple room with a conference table, about a dozen chairs, and a carpet that had seen many and better days. It was not difficult to imagine the City Planning Meetings, or the Department of Agriculture Conferences or the meetings of the local Party Assistant Deputy Directors that probably happened here every other Tuesday night at 8:00. (The room's table seemed like it was the perfect size for a Poker table for the third shift bureaucrats - so I would not rule that out either.)
After 10 minutes or so (it might as well have been 10 hours), we heard the elevator door open, but the elevator was out of our sightline, as it was slightly down the hall. The seven to ten seconds that followed brought on the most incredible sense of anticipation I can recall. (You may remember that Kyle was already in the room when we came in for his Gotcha Day...)
The first person around the corner was the most petite, most handsome, most perfect little boy. He saw us and really didn't hesitate very much. He didn't come running into our arms, but he didn't sprint screaming in the other direction either. He was cautiously interested - I believe that this was because of Kyle. They seemd to make a tenuous sort of connection. Ms. Pan the orphanage Director was Fuxu's escort and she patiently explained over & over to him that we we now Mama, Baba & Guga (big brother). We all interacted in various ways over the next few minutes while Veronica and Ms. Pan took care of the ever-present paperwork. Kyle was an incredibly positive influence and we could not be prouder of the way he was trying to comfort and play with Dylan Fuxu. It was remarkable to watch.
Lisa held Dylan Fuxu on her lap, I held him in my arms for a few moments, he and Kyle played with matchboxes on the carpet - Dylan seemed comfortable with us, while Ms Pan was in the room. She left for a few moments to check on the family photo we needed to take and we saw in Dylan's face the exact same look of panic and confusion that we saw in Kyle's face two and a half years ago when HIS escort left the room and got on the elevator to leave.
There were some tears but only for a few short moments, as Dylan, Lisa, Kyle and I looked at the family pictures that we had sent over to acclimate him to what we looked like. Kyle would show Dylan the photo, and Dylan would ever so softly say "Mama", "Baba", "Guga" as we pointed to each of us in the photos. We moved to an adjacent room to take the required family photograph for the Civil Affairs Department's paperwork. We didn't see it, but the photographer and Ms. Pan seemed pleased with the result. We'll see this photo tomorrow in Dalian City when we travel to see the orphanage and get Dylan's passport.
We went back to the Conference Room and Lisa scored again by offering Dylan a small red box of Sun-Maid Raisins and a cold drink from the hand-me down sippy cup that she thought to bring. Brilliant. He carefully picked the raisins one-by-one from the small box and deposited them in his tiny mouth. Kyle & Dylan quietly played with their matchboxes, pushing them back & forth to each other across the worn carpet.
His panic clearly subsiding, Dylan told Ms. Veronica that he needed to go to the bathroom. I took him in and he patiently waited as I fumbled around trying to get him situated over the only squat toilet that was available on our floor. He did his business as matter-of-factly as you can imagine and I fumbled just as clumsily to get his pants back on and up. He looked at me, said no words but with his eyes, saying "Don't worry, I know you are probably not used to using these squat jobs..."
A few more minutes, a few more signatures, a last few photos and we were on our way -just like that it was over. Gotcha.
As we left, and got off the elevator on the first floor, Kyle scrambled to make sure he held his new didi's (little brother's) hand as we walked out to the car. I hope the video I hastily shot captures the magic of this 30 steps.
As we drove away in the car, Dylan sat on Lisa's lap looked out the window and laughed and smiled and giggled, playing with Kyle who was in the seat in front of him...
Which bring us to the FIRST photo that I am posting - No caption necessary.
Here are a few more from this morning:
Here are the boys getting ready to take a nap after getting back to the room...
FYI - I just had to run back upstairs to the room for a moment (needed a new battery for the camera). That nap thing didn't happen as planned. As I quietly put the keycard into the lock, I heard the unmistakably wonderful sounds of two little boys, born 5 months and hundreds of miles apart, playing as if they were meant to be "guga" and "didi" to each other.
We know it won't always be like this, but thankfully, today is.
Gotta run now, but much more to come, now that I have got the camera cable and can upload photos.
We hope you have as good a day as we're having.
Some of the things we'll be covering next time...
- Our trip to the park yesterday
- the 'heated" pool
- Starbucks (they are, in fact, everywhere)
- Weather forecast for Guangzhou (toasty & moist)
I will leave you with the proof that Lisa was "assaulted" by a 90 year old woman in the park (we do not have access to Photoshop here, so you'll have to take me at my word on this):