Monday, November 23, 2009

Journey to Kai – Day 05 (Family Day)

Nancy had been getting a bit annoyed with me because I was writing the blog posts for this trip and not posting them to the blog China_20091123_0768_Day05 because I was wanted to put the pictures in the posts. She wanted to get the info out there and said that people don’t care that there aren’t any pictures.  My response was that people want the pictures, that the pictures are all part of the package that comes with a Ray Harkness trip report…haha.  Well, she just didn’t want too much distance between the day we got Kai and the day stuff started hitting the blog.

China_20091123_0769_Day05 As she put it, there are fans back home that want to hear about “gotcha day” (I prefer family day) and don’t want to wait.

Well, I stayed up to 1AM writing the previous day’s post and got all other posts prior to that released.

We decided that we were going to get up at 7:30AM so we could hit the breakfast buffet and meet the bus at 9:40AM to the Registration Office to meet the kids.

Well, I thought going to bed at 1AM would mean that I would’ve slept straight through until the alarm clock went off.  But, that wasn’t to be.  I woke up at 3AM, then 5AM, then 7AM.  So, I just stayed up.  It turns out that Nancy was having just as much of a restless night as I was. 

I couldn’t blame it on the heat of the room this time.  I had left the China_20091123_0771_Day05 window open until I went to bed at 1AM, so it was plenty cool in the room and stayed that way all night. 

I was suffering from a mixture of anxiousness, nervousness, excitement and fear.  It was almost like that feeling you get before going on a Disney vacation but much more intensified.

I jumped on the computer and checked the e-mail, twitter, and facebook and then tried to continue on with the posts that hadn’t been posted.

I didn’t have much time because we needed to go to breakfast.

China_20091123_0773_Day05 We went downstairs to the restaurant.  This breakfast buffet was much different than the one we had in the Grand Hotel Beijing.  This buffet was almost like dinner at breakfast.  Most of the food items we usually associate with dinner (fried rice, noodles, dumplings, etc). 

They did have some of the steamed buns I just absolutely love but haven’t had since leaving Singapore.  I told Nancy that we just must figure out how to make them at home.

I really didn’t eat much because there wasn’t really anything that appealed to me.  I had a little fried rice, a croissant, and a few steamed buns.  They were low on orange juice so I only got a couple classes before they were completely out.China_20091123_0775_Day05

After breakfast we had an hour to kill before the time to meet in the  lobby.  So, I came back and continued to work on the posts that were left to be released. There were two of them left. The final day in Beijing and our travel day to Zhengzhou.

In addition to the blogging, we attempted to record a message for Kai on our video camera. 

Nancy did an awesome job, but I couldn’t get mine done because I couldn’t stop crying after a couple sentences.  This was just too much for me.  Nancy would also be crying behind the camera and that would just make it harder for me to maintain my composure. 

China_20091123_0776_Day05 I almost had enough time to get the post out for our final day in Beijing but it was time to gather our paperwork, gifts for the officials and head to the lobby. 

In fact, we got a call from Yisha wanted to know where we were. So, I managed to cut it a bit close.  It takes a lot of work to keep everyone back home informed…haha

We rushed downstairs and met up with the group.  We had a lot of stuff today because Nancy wanted us to be prepared for anything.  I was starting to feel overwhelmed.  I was feeling claustrophobic on the bus and I knew it was just going to get worse once the new additions to everyone’s families came.  Plus, I had no idea what to expect.  We just knew we were driving to a building and in the China_20091123_0786_Day05 building would be our son.

After what felt like an eternity and after what appeared to be a couple heated exchanges between our CCAI guide and the bus driver, we made it to the registration office where our kids would be meeting is. We could see some older kids looking out the glass door when we walked in.

We were informed exactly which kids were already waiting inside and it didn’t take long before everyone was off the bus and piling inside the building.

When I crossed the threshold it was mass chaos.  Inside was China_20091123_0824_Day05 parents meeting kids and kids not knowing what to think. You had people associated with their care in China there also.  Many of them were crying and sad because they knew they wouldn’t see their precious charge again. 

Lots of pictures and video were being taken. I know I was firing away at every family wil a child trying to capture as many “ahhh” moments as I could for these families.

Kai wasn’t there yet so I thought I could keep my mind off of the wait by helping capture moments for other people.

I have not included any of those photos China_20091123_0832_Day05on this recap out of respect to the privacy of the other families who at this time haven’t told me one way or another if they care.

I don’t know how long it was before we heard the CCAI guide shouting out the name of our son’s orphanage (Louhe) and then his Chinese name (Hu Jian Lun).  That meant that he was coming through the doors at any minute. The first two kids that came through were obviously girls and then we saw a third kid who had a hood over his head and was facing away China_20091123_0840_Day05from us.  We knew it was Kai despite the fact he was sporting a girl’s jacket.

I ran over and reached out my arms to take him and he wanted nothing to do with that.  He pushed off and started to cry, I brought Nancy in and let her take him.  Kai was very willing to let Nancy put him into her arms.  Not a peep out of him.  We walked around with him and other people came over to see our son.  Eventually we decided to go sit down on the couch.China_20091123_0848_Day05

There was a couch in one of the back corners and we parked  ourselves there.  Kai was still not letting me come near him and would give me that look Coco gives people when they invade her personal space and she doesn’t know who you are. All Kai would’ve had to do was snarl at me and the look would’ve been complete.

China_20091123_0852_Day05Nancy thought it might work out well for me to try and feed him some Cheerios (the international baby food).

Nancy had purchased a travel sized pack of Cheerios that came in an hourglass shaped plastic container with two flip top lids. 

So, I would pour some out in my hand and he would let me feed it to him.  I found out when I took the first Cheerio and he saw it he opened up his mouth wide like a baby bird wanting some food.

After awhile he started reaching for them and I decided to see what he’d do if I let him.  He was able to grab a Cheerio out of my hand and feed himself.  We just kept doing this for  awhile.  It was a small breakthrough because we were able to see how good his fine motor skills were doing.China_20091123_0867_Day05

I did have to leave Nancy alone for a bit as I filled out and signed the guardianship paperwork.  Then I went back and relieved Nancy so she could sign the paperwork. 

Nancy informed me that while I was gone dealing with the paperwork, Kai was offering Nancy Cheerios to eat.

China_20091123_0870_Day05When Nancy left to go deal with signing the paperwork. I had Kai in my lap and found that as long as he could see Nancy, he was fine.  I asked someone to take a picture with my camera while he was on my lap so I pointed at the camera and was trying to get him to look in the  direction.

I was shocked when I saw Kai mimic me by pointing in the same China_20091123_0879_Day05 direction.  I thought it might be coincidence so I waited a bit and pointed again and he did the same thing.

Even when Nancy would point he would point.

The room was starting to quiet down, but there were still a couple kids who were not happy about how much their life was changing on them.  If only they knew what was waiting for them at their new home.  Well, I say that but even as an adult who can comprehend the pros and cons of change, I still don’t like it even when it’s for the best.

China_20091123_0891_Day05 After all the babies had been introduced to their families and all the guardianship forms had been filled out it was time to get our family picture taken that will go with the Adoption Certificate.  It took a few times to get our picture taken in an acceptable fashion because Nancy had given Kai a bottle and he absolutely refused to put it down.  But, they needed an unobstructed view of his face in the picture.  China_20091123_0899_Day05

Eventually we found a configuration that worked and got our picture  taken.  This is probably going to show up on the blog and facebook at some time(we don’t have it yet) but we’ll also not look at nice and formal as you might suspect.  I’d say that most people in the room were a bit on the frumpy side.  We were told very clearly that the government doesn’t care how you look so we pretty much went for comfort.  As most will see from the pictures I always seemed to have bed head.  No matter how much I tried to brush it away, it kept coming back and that was due to the fact that every time I removed my fleece pullover, it would put more static buildup in my hair.

China_20091123_0902_Day05After all the pictures were taken, it was time to go back to the hotel.  There were people who came to the registration office with us who actually were meeting their children at the hotel.

As we were waiting for the bus to pull around, I noticed a water  feature across the parking lot.  So, Nancy said I could go over there to take some pictures.  Well, some of the families saw it too and thought it would make a good photo location.  So, I attempted to take some pictures with my camera as China_20091123_0904_Day05well as theirs.  I was rather surprised how well some of them came out.

As I suspected, it was a lot more crowded on the bus on the way back home than it was going.

I actually sat across the aisle from Nancy.  It was so I could shoot video and photos of Nancy and Kai but also so I could maintain some comfort.  Nancy and I both have broad shoulders for our frames and it robs us of space in those narrow chairs on the bus.

China_20091123_0920_Day05It felt like it took forever to get back to the hotel.  We didn’t have anything to do until 4PM when I had to go to the conference rooms and sign some more registration paperwork that was going to be processed the next day.

So, we went up to the room. The first thing Nancy wanted to do was get Kai out of the clothes he was in. He had so many layers of clothes on that he looked like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.  It took some finagling to get him disrobed.  In fact, after the first layer got off Kai was doing his darndest to help Nancy get the rest off.  You could tell that he was used to the process of getting dressed and undressed.  He know what to do and when to do it.  Once he was stripped down to his diaper Nancy had taken off 5 layers of clothes. 

This is pretty common for Chinese babies.  In fact, if we don’t layer China_20091123_0930_Day05him up when we leave the hotel we will get chastised by Chinese mothers on the street.  They believe the kids should be kept extremely bundled up, even in the hotter months.  But it was our understanding that where Kai had been living he wasn’t used to wearing all these layer.  Plus, he was dripping in sweat.  It really seemed like he felt more comfortable once he was out of all those clothes.

Nancy put him in one of the Geranimals outfits we brought from  home and put him in a new diaper.

Next, we fired up Skype.  Sure enough Nancy’s sister Julie was on China_20091123_0932_Day05 and we called her.  She was so happy to see Kai and Nancy.  At this time it was something like 9PM PST.  They talked for a good while until Nancy’s other sister Michelle realized that we were online and started initiating a call.  Julie graciously ended her call so Nancy could talk with Michelle. 

After Michelle, it was time to talk to Nancy’s mom.  At this point China_20091123_0935_Day05Nancy was telling me that she had to eat.  Since I had no idea what to get her, I walked down to Jason and Robyn’s room to see what they were doing for food.  They were in the process of giving their new daughter a bath but suggested the room service food because they found it not only reasonably priced, but of reasonable quality.

I walked back to the room expecting to see Nancy still talking to her China_20091123_0941_Day05 mother.  But, that wasn’t the case, she was on the floor playing  with Kai.

While she was playing with Kai, I was trying to get some more posts up on the blog.

After awhile, Nancy asked me to stop doing that and try more bonding with Kai.  I tried to play with him and hold him and it just didn’t seem to work.  He did let me put him in my lap for a bit.

Nancy was having no trouble getting him to laugh and laugh and laugh.  We also discovered that he can pull himself up and walk with assistance.  That means he’ll be walking on his own soon and our house will never been the same.

Kai is still non-verbal so he is unable to give us any real clues to China_20091123_0947_Day05what he wants.  So, that will add some challenge but I’m sure it’ll come.  It has prompted us to discuss how vigorously we are going to adhere to our “No TV/movies Before 3” policy.  In his case, he needs to be exposed to as much English as possible and TV and movies are a good way to do that.

4 o’clock came quick and I went up to the 4th floor to take care of  the paperwork.  By the time I got up there at 3:59PM, no one was China_20091123_0951_Day05 there.  Fearing I was in the wrong place, I went back to our floor and checked to see if Jason had left yet.  Well, it  turns out that his wife was going to fill out the paperwork.  So, we went back up to the 4th floor and sure enough, this time the room was much more populated.

Yisha and her assistants proceeded to tell us how to fill out the paperwork. We needed the help since it was entirely composed of Chinese Characters and since I don’t read Mandarin there was no way to know what they were wanting us to provide on these forms.China_20091123_0953_Day05

The conference room was about 80 degrees and it was making it hard to concentrate.  But, I had to concentrate because if any information was wrong, I might have a delay at the US Consulate.

After filling out the paperwork and signing it, we had to seal our signature with our thumb print that had been pressed into a red ink pad.  The thumb print was to be applied directly over the signature.

After that, I had to go back to the room and get Nancy so that she could sign all the same forms that I just did.

Kai apparently had been wearing her out with all the playing. We thought we’d give our new ErgoBaby carrier a go and I put it on.  As soon as Kai was put into it though he started screaming bloody murder.  So, we didn’t keep him in it.  So, Nancy carried him up to the 4th floor.  He remained a perfect angel as long as Nancy was holding him.

The room was now much hotter than when I was in it and now a good bit more kids were there.  The older ones were running around and being their age.  The younger ones were mainly “seen but not heard”

I showed Nancy where to sign and then we just needed to wait for them to get to us with the red ink pad so she could stamp her signatures with her thumbprint.

By the time we were done with all this, it as 6:30PM China Time.  We came back to the room and decided to give Kai his first bath.  Our tub doesn’t really want to hold water, so Nancy was having to figure out a way to keep enough in there to give him a bath.

China_20091123_0956_Day05When Nancy got his diaper off it was soaking wet.  So, it may have been that he was so fussy in the ERGO Baby Carrier because he needed to be changed. Also, we know he is getting tired because he had no desire to take a nap.  We suspected that his sleep schedule got jacked up with the transport from Beijing. 

I also forgot to mention that all the orphanages were given a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to fill out in regards to the children.  Well, our child was coming from a Foster Facility in Beijing and didn’t arrive to his orphanage until late on Friday and they didn’t have time to get that list of questions sent to the Foster Facility so they could answer the questions.

So, while everyone else had info about feeding and sleep schedules, favorite foods and activities, etc, we had nothing.  So we were kind of winging it.

We were told that we might have these answers before we catch China_20091123_0962_Day05 our flight to Guangzhou

Kai really seemed to like taking a bath.  He did the typically baby thing and splashed and splashed and splashed.

We made the bath quick and got him out and dried off.  He didn’t seem to like the drying off part or the “mommy rubbing him down with lotion” part as much as he liked the splashing around in the tub.

We also got to put him in his first set of pajamas. It turns out that he is still wearing 6-9 month clothes even though he is 18 months old.  So, the clothes we brought are going to work swimmingly.

Nancy had decided she wanted to try a different approach with the bottle by cross-cutting the nipple.  That is an often used method for cleft palate kids. Kai originally seemed really excited when he saw this giant bottle of formula, but I guess the liquid came out too quickly with the new nipple and he was not having anything to do China_20091123_0969_Day05with that.

So, Nancy had me move it to his other bottle and he was happy as a clam.  It did become apparent that he was getting tired because his eyes were getting heavy.  Then he’d jolt awake and aggressively chew on his bottle (he has to chew on the nipple to get liquid out since he cannot suck due to his cleft palate).  Eventually he went limp because he passed out.

Nancy had me build a bunker out of pillows on the bed so she could put Kai on the bed.  She was planning on shaving him sleep in the bed with her.

I think I forgot to mention that we have 2 beds that are somewhere between a twin and full sized mattress and we both cannot sleep in the same bed.  So Kai and Nancy are going to be in one bed and I’ll be in the other.

Nancy stayed up a bit talking to me.  To be honest, I’m having some confidence issues and not sure I’m going to be able to do a good job at this parenthood thing.  Nancy seems to just know what to do (or at least try) and I don’t have a clue.  Even when she asks me to play with my son, I just don’t know what to do.  The concept of play seems like such a foreign one to me.  I love my son but I don’t have the slightest idea on how to interact with him or take care of his basic needs. 

Nancy was trying to reassure me that it’ll all be fine and once Kai China_20091123_0973_Day05 starts to bond better my confidence will go up.  Right now it’s hard because he doesn’t like me or want me around.

After Kai had been asleep a bit, it dawned on me he could roll off the bed even with Nancy in it.  The bed Kai was in was open on both sides while the other bed only has a small gap between it and the wall. A gap that could be plugged with a pillow.  So we decided to move him (and Nancy) to the other bed.

After moving him, Nancy decided she didn’t have any more energy left, so she went to bed.  I stayed up to continue to work on this post.

I got an opportunity to talk to some friends via Twitter and Facebook and got some pictures uploaded to Facebook of today’s events.  But, now it’s 9:17PM and I’m tired.  I think I’m going to take a shower and hit the rack.

Tomorrow is a busy day with official registration and notarizations….and another trip to Wal-Mart!

See ya tomorrow.


Presley family said...

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!!!! OH, THANK YOU for calling me and letting me part of this very special day!!!! I love y'all so much!!!!

Mini-V said...

Most first time parents don't get a FAQ sheet with a newborn. You're starting out just like they do, except that your baby is much bigger and stronger than a newborn. Kai has probably been spending more time around females. You'll both settle into lfe together in no time. Your concerns are normal and asking questions is good. Hang in there Daddy! (Johnathan Dichter is probably going through the same thing.)

Anonymous said...

So glad I checked the blog again this morning. He is adorable!! Don't worry, daddy, it will all work out fine:)
Love and hugs to all three of you!!!

Presley family said...

Everything you are feeling is normal for most first time dads... no really it is. Hang in there!!! He will warm up to you and fall in love with you like we all have. What a blessing to have you as his father!

trina said...

He is sooooooo cute!!! I love him! Yes, it's totally normal that he might prefer one parent over the other. All our China kids didn't want Joel at first...until after we got home. Now he is their hero!

Poppie said...

Don't be so discouraged! You have only been at this Daddy thing for a couple of days!

My mom told me that when I was born I didn't want anything to do with my dad. SO, one day at feeding time she treked down to the outhouse and stayed there for a good long time knowing that if I became fussy he would be forced to pick me up and take care of me.

Sure enough, when she had suffered the December temperatures as long as possible she went back to the house and found that he had changed my diaper and was rocking me by the fire while giving me a bottle. After that, we were basically inseperable!

Sally Lockett said...

Nancy ... This is so amazing! It's pure religion on display. Thank you guys so much for posting the days events in such detail. I don't remember your husband's name, but I wanted to tell him that during the time that I spent with Kai, he was in a room with about 6 women, and very rarely, if ever, a man. It's just a new thing for him. He is going to absolutely FALL in LOVE with his daddy in no time! Hang in there! Also, where do you guys live? Just wondering if there's anyway I could come and meet you and share your story and Kai's blessing with PFO donors who funded his surgery. May God bless you guys indeed! I bet He is all teary eyed too!