Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Journey to Kai – Day 06 (Registration Day)

It was another late night. I was working on the previous day’s post until around midnight.  Nancy had fallen asleep with Kai around 8PM and she woke up around midnight.

I read her the post I threw up recapping our family day with Kai and China_20091124_0978_Day06 then crawled into bed.  She was awake now so she decided she wanted to write her version of the day’s events.  I was tired so I went to bed.  Nancy asked me to lay in bed with Kai until she was ready to go back to bed.  That was pretty much the first time he let me get really close to him and that was because he was asleep.

I don’t remember going to my own bed and just woke up there  sometime in the middle of the night when Kai woke up.  He bolted up screaming and when we turned on the light he pointed to an empty water bottle on the night stand.  We knew what he wanted to Nancy asked me to pull a bottle out of the fridge and we gave it to him.  He immediately went back to sleep.

The plan was to get up at 6:45AM because we needed to meet the bus promptly at 9AM to go to the Registration Office to do more stuff to finalize the adoption.

We woke up several times during the night.  Nancy tells me that calling Kai a restless sleeper was an understatement.  This kid was all over the bed.

Because of his restlessness we woke up several times just because he was whining in his sleep.

We woke up at 6AM and decided it was best to just get up and I did my usual scouring of the e-mail, twitter and facebook.

Neither of us showered the previous night so we both had to shower this morning.  I went first and then went back to working on the computer. Nancy went after I did and Kai was still asleep.

The amazing thing is that even after all the showering and getting ready, Kai remained asleep.  We finally decided to wake him up around 7:30AM.  He was not happy about that at all.  He proceeded to scream and yell.  Other than when I tried to hold him, that is the first time we’ve seen this kind of behavior out of him when in China_20091124_0985_Day06Nancy’s arms.

Nancy got him dressed and we went to the restaurant for our complimentary breakfast.

Not much was different in the food choices today, but we were sat at a table with a bunch of other families from our travel group.  People came by to talk to us to see how he was doing.  Also, the waitresses were fawning all over him.

The kid cannot even talk yet and he has the girls going gaga over him.

Nancy found it increasingly difficult to try and eat with Kai on her lap with his bottle.  So, she asked me to finish my food so I could attempt to feed Kai so she could focus on her plate.

We had ordered Kai some scrambled eggs because we weren’t sure what he could eat and they were soft which should work well with his cleft palate.

I finished my food and went across to the other side of the table so I could sit next to Kai.  He remained on Nancy’s lap and I spoon fed him very tiny portions of scrambled eggs.  He also liked the steamed buns.

China_20091124_0987_Day06He would let me feed him, but we would not let me hold him in my lap. I continued to feed him while Nancy tried to eat.

By the time we were done, he had pretty much eaten 2/3 of the eggs on the plate.

Nancy had asked me to go get her some Raisin Bran and bring back some of the honey nut Cheerios if they had them.  We had brought a tiny bowl with a snap-on lid to put them in if they had them.

Lucky for us, that had those so we could start stockpiling a stash.   For you see, if Cheerios are in this province, we haven’t found them yet.

One of the highlights of today was that Josh and Lilly were here from Colorado.  They are the founders of CCAI and were here on business so they thought they’d break away and be here today for our special day at the Registration Office.  Today is the day we legally take custody of Kai.

After breakfast we went back to the room to gather up the stuff to have with us to leave.  This is our first trip away from the room since we got Kai yesterday.  So, we had to pack up his backpack full of the things Nancy thought he’d need.

Nancy was going to try and use the ERGObaby Carrier with him today in the front position (it supports front, back and side).  Since China_20091124_0992_Day06he’s still latching onto a bottle, we thought it best to have him on the front so we’d know if he dropped the bottle.

I helped Nancy get Kai into his ERGObaby carrier and he didn’t want to be there at first, but once we got all his arms and legs where they should be and repositioned his bottle, he quieted down and enjoyed the ride.

I grabbed the backpack we were using as a diaper bag, my shoulder bag with my camera stuff in it, plus my camera and the two gifts for the notary and registration offical and we headed out the door to the lobby.

Most of the families were already in the lobby and it wasn’t long after we were piling onto the bus.

I must say that I was feeling especially claustrophobic today.  It’s  weird you could put me in a trunk and shut the lid and I’d be find, but put me in a crowded room and I freak out.  A place that this China_20091124_0994_Day06usually happens is the Stretching Room in Disney’s Haunted Mansion or the crowds leaving the Disney theme parks.

With Nancy and Kai in the window seat and I holding all the bags, my camera and the gifts, I couldn’t move to save my life.  It’s times like this my anxiety level starts to spike and I get easily agitated.

Fortunately, the ride to the Registration Office wasn’t long.  This was, in fact, the same building we went to yesterday to get Kai.

When we went into the lobby, the kids were told they were allowed to play.  So, many of the younger ones piled into the little play pen in the back of the room while older kids ran around.

I walked around and took pictures.  For the longest time Nancy was sitting on the couch with Kai still in the carrier and working his bottle.  We’ve noticed that Kai is a real people watcher.  He loves to just sit there and check China_20091124_1002_Day06out the scenery.  That will come in handy later for him because his mama and baba love to do that too.

I would keep coming back and take pictures of my son and interact with him being careful not to upset him.  After awhile Nancy noticed he was showing interest in the play area so took him in there to play.  He quickly grabbed some plastic bowling pins and started using them as clubs.  I perceived it as a bit aggressive, but other parents said that was China_20091124_1005_Day06typical boy behavior to turn everything into either a weapon or a drumstick.

He didn’t really like any of the toys that let them get on and ride them, but he seemed to like sitting on the floor playing with some balls and those darn bowling pins.  Instead of crawling, many times he’s just scoot on his but using his heels to propel himself.  He was actually pretty good at that and could get around fast.  It was about as funny to watch as a dog scooting his booty across the carpet (which some people don’t find as funny as I do).

Kai played in there for a good while but eventually it became too  China_20091124_1015_Day06 crowded and too chaotic and the bigger kids weren’t really being as cognizant of the smaller kids so Nancy moved him back to the couch.

Soon we were told to gather our kids and move to the other room where we’d be meeting with the head government official for the Henan Province.

We were grabbing our backback with Kai’s stuff when were told to China_20091124_1027_Day06 leave everything behind and just take our kids.

Sure enough as soon as we got to the other room we realized Kai needed a diaper change, but we couldn’t go back and get it.  The Henan Provincial leaders were wanting to get a group photo of all the families and their adopted children. 

Then we got a short history of CCAI’s Henan Project.  CCAI and CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) got together to create a special arrangement where CCAI would help get the Henan province more ready for adoptions than they already were.  From what we were told that one province was much more poor than others and had the lowest adoption rate out of any of China’s provinces.  CCAI hoped to turn that around.

Since the signing of the agreement, our group (CCAI Group 1520) China_20091124_1034_Day06 was the largest group of families coming through at the same time.  It also marks the first time a leader from CCAI was in the same place as top brass from Henan since the agreement was signed.

So, they made a big deal out of us being there.  We each had our child’s name called and they had us come up and shake the leader’s hand and got a picture taken with him as they handed us our Adoption Certificate in China_20091124_1038_Day06 a fancy leather-bound case similar to the one a high school diploma would come in

After every family had their name called, we went back and gathered our belongings and headed back to the bus.  Our gifts for the official had been collected by one of our CCAI guides and handed over to someone earlier in the trip.

For those who aren’t familiar with Chinese customs, it is considered very rude to come to an event or gathering without a gift.  Just China_20091124_1041_Day06 some small token of your appreciation but one that doesn’t have a lot of thought or emotional attachment to it.  These gifts don’t even have to be gender specific.  For example, you could bring a gift of a tie to a female recipient. That is because re-gifting is not a party foul in China like it is in the United States.  So, if the gift is one that isn’t of use to the recipient, they’ll pass it onto someone who might be able to use it.

These aren’t payments or bribes, this is a cultural norm here.  Those China_20091124_1044_Day06 are sometimes hard for people to understand where this practice isn’t common.

Our next stop was going to be the notary’s office.  Apparently it was close to the hotel.  The other thing we were told was that there wasn’t an elevator in this building and that the office was on the 6th floor.  I was already mentally prepared for this type of occurrence because we were warned that not all buildings had elevators.  That was one of the reasons we brought the ERGObaby carrier.

I helped Nancy get Kai back in the carrier and started the march up the stairs.  It was real easy in comparison to the Great Wall of China.

This office complex was really smoky.  As we passed by offices, you China_20091124_1048_Day06 saw room after room with people smoking cigarettes in them.  In fact, there were so many smokers, I bet if you did not smoke you’d be a minority.

When we got to the room we needed to be in, we were greeted witha giant conference table and we were told to find a place to sit.  Then we were all given 5 pieces of paper that had our names on them and that was pretty much the extent of English.  Everything else was in Chinese characters. 

China_20091124_1051_Day06 Fortunately, our CCAI guide was able to tell us what each page was saying and where we were to fill out stuff and what to put on the page.

I told Nancy that we really had to be trusting because without the sudden gift of tongues and be able to instantly read and China_20091124_1055_Day06 comprehend Mandarin, we had to trust that the person translating was doing so accurately.  For as far as we knew, we could be signing over the deed to our house.

After we went through each and every page in detail, CCAI assistants came around and collected our notary fee and translation fee.  When converted roughly into US$ we were paying about what you’d pay your mortgage closing company when buying/selling home.  In other words, a heck of a lot more than if you went to the bank and asked for a notarization.

After this process was complete we were told to just leave our gift China_20091124_1060_Day06 for the notary on the desk and leave.  We proceeded to walk down the 6 flights of stairs and onto the bus that was waiting for us on the street.

We were told that the notarizations wouldn’t be complete until Thursday.  That information finally explained why we were staying in Zhengzhou so long considering that after this morning’s events we were officially Kai’s parents in the eyes of China law (US Law says we are legally responsible for him, but we aren’t allowed to bring him back to the USA until he has a visa).

China_20091124_1071_Day06 On the way back to the hotel a discussion occurred about when the group wanted to take the group shopping trip to get necessities. The majority wanted 3PM but Nancy wanted 3:30PM so we could get Kai down for a nap.

It was also decided that we wouldn’t go to Wal-Mart because we found out that they had only been open since earlier in the year and it was of our CCAI guide’s opinion that the selection wasn’t that great.

Since it was only 12:30PM when we got back to the hotel, we decided along with Robyn and Jason (quickly becoming our go to people to hang out with) that we’d try and find the Chinese restaurant in the Holiday Inn Express.

We really only needed to go out of the hotel and hang a left and it China_20091124_1076_Day06 was the next hotel over.  This restaurant was serving real Chinese food at affordable prices. The downside was they only had 1 highchair for the entire restaurant.

Nancy and I got beef noodles, steamed pork dumplings, and fried rice for 98 yuan and that roughly converted to US$14.50.  The beef noodles were a bit spicy for our liking but I ate a good majority of them.

China_20091124_1078_Day06 At this meal, Kai’s reluctance to have anything to do with me was starting to wear thin on us.  I tried to hold him and feed him but he just started wailing and it got louder and louder.  So much so it was disturbing others in the restaurant.  So, I had to give him back to her and she couldn’t really eat because of being one handed at this point and Kai constantly trying to dislodge her food from her plate.

Plus, he was a very squirmy boy.  Then near the end, he started throwing a major fit because he was over 2 hours late for his normal nap time.  I told Nancy that I wouldn’t be upset if she returned to the room to put him down for a nap.  I gave her the room key and sent her on her way.

When we finally got our checks settled the rest of us headed back to the hotel.

China_20091124_1083_Day06When I got up to the room, Kai was still awake and very fussy.  It took a bit longer after I got back to see him finally slip off into napland.  While he was sleeping we talked about what was needed from the store and I tried to get as much info as I could since I was going to be doing this solo and purchasing items I’ve never even looked for before in a foreign country.

Ultimately, it was decided that I should get some items based off of what others were getting (for example,baby formula).

China_20091124_1093_Day06 3 o’clock came early and I headed down to the lobby where the rest of the crew was waiting.  When the bus came we all piled onboard and headed to Carrefour.  It was a very Wal-Mart like store but we were told selection was better.

The bus couldn't get into the China_20091124_1098_Day06 parking lot so we were let off and walked to the store.

Our two CCAI guides were with us to try and aid people in making decisions.  I tagged along with Robyn and Jason since they were adopting their second child and had a boy at home so they probably had good opinions on what Kai needed.  Robyn was very helpful and tried to make sure I wasn’t steered wrong.  In many cases I just bought what she was getting China_20091124_1101_Day06 for their daughter since we both had cleft palate kids.

The group had decided that the original plan of 2 hours of shopping was too long (we disagreed but were overruled) so we were given 1.5 hours.  Considering you had to go back and forth between the 2nd and 3rd floors to find everything and pretty much all aisles were in Mandarin it was really a challenge to find everything.  What was fun though was seeing all those brands China_20091124_1103_Day06 that we are familiar with (Coke,Pepsi, Oreos, etc) where their logos are replaced with Chinese characters.

Also, it was cool to see what flavors Chinese like their potato chips in.  How many of you are ready to crack into a tin of Pringles Prawn flavored chips, or seaweed flavored.

Another thing that was cool was that the grocery carts had 4 wheel steering.  You could perform some complex turns with those cards.

China_20091124_1111_Day06 An even further cool thing was that you moved from floor to floor on inclined moving sidewalks.  It allowed you to bring your cart to each floor but the floor of the moving sidewalk was designed as such that the wheels of your cart locked into it so you wouldn’t loose control due to gravity.

I was able to eventually find everything on the list that Nancy sent me with and a few additional items for Kai (some different kinds of crackers) and made my way to the checkout counter.  One of the China_20091124_1116_Day06 first things I found unique was that they charge you for the bags you pack your groceries into and they make you sack your own groceries.  If I had known that I would’ve brought our backpack.

All our grocers were 214 Yuan (roughly US$38) and that included a 30 count pack of Pampers, baby formula, rice cereal, some snacks, a pacifier and a Sippy cup.

China_20091124_1118_Day06 After making our purchases it was time to find our way back to the bus. That involved going down three stories and then find the door taking us back to the outside.  Eventually our CCAI guide caught up with us and helped lead us out of the building.

Once back on the bus, we found out that several families couldn’t find the children’s clothing they were looking for so they needed to go to Wal-Mart.  The bus China_20091124_1122_Day06 driver had offered to drop off all the families at Wal-Mart, then drop off all the families done with their shopping back at the hotel, then go back to Wal-Mart to bring those people home.

We got off at the hotel because we were done.  Robyn, Jason, their daughter, and I made our way back up to our floor. Jason and I were talking about how awesome it would be to get Pizza Hut delivered to our room. He was going to see if he could find a corporate website that would allow us to do that and we’d go in on some pizza together.

China_20091124_1128_Day06 I went back to my room and Nancy and Kai were up watching TV.  He had been up for a bit and seemed to be in better spirits.  I unpacked the groceries onto the spare bed and we decided to try and see what he thought of one of the snacks I brought back.  We really had no idea what they were because everything was in Chinese on the packaging but Kai loved them.  They looked like cookies in the shape of small sticks and he just munched away on them.

Nancy tried to give him some apple juice in his new Sippy cup but apparently you needed to be able to suck to get liquid out of that and kids with cleft palates can often not suck.  So, Nancy performed a bit of surgery on the cup and rendered it no longer “unspillable”. He really liked that cub of apple juice as he  tipped that sucker up like he hadn’t drank in days.

Nancy looked at the rice cereal box I got and we discovered there were no English instructions on the box.  So, we really have no idea how to cook it. We are going to have to see if one of our CCAI Guides can translate for us.

We all laid on the bed watching TV when a knock on the door came.  It was Jason. He couldn’t figure out how to get the ability to order a pizza from Pizza Hut online so they were going to go the Mama Mia downstairs and get one to go.  Nancy said that was find and I went with them. 

The pizza choices were a bit gourmet for my taste but I found a couple that would be palatable to Nancy and me. We were told it would take about 30 minutes to be ready so we went back to our rooms to wait it out. 

When the 30 minute time period lapsed I went back down to Mama Mia and got my pizza.  It was really pretty inexpensive and we were hungry.

When I got back to the room, Kai was on the floor playing.  Nancy told me he finished the first cup of apple juice and he was already on his second cup.

Nancy tried to eat her pizza but Kai wanted her attention.  We once again tried to get him to let me hold him and that didn’t work.  Ultimately we both ate cold pizza

Somewhere in the middle of our meal we smelled something rank.  It definitely smelled like a messed up diaper.  We had been talking earlier about how Kai owed us a bowl movement and it looks like he delivered.  Nancy changed the diaper while I supplied the supplies.  We tossed the nasty diaper and then went back to eating. 

I swear, no sooner than 15 minute went buy and we smelled it again.  Nancy was sure it was just the diaper we threw away in the bathroom.  I stuck my head in there and told her that her job of bagging it in a plastic bag did it’s job because the smell wasn’t coming from there. So, we knew he must’ve popped again in his diaper.

Nancy said that if he did back-to-back poops then we should just let him get it out of his system and finish eating.

Well, the smell because too much so Nancy decided to change him again.  Good thing she did because once she popped that sucker open we saw blow out city.  As Nancy joked, the first diaper must’ve been his uncorking because this one was nasty.

She got him cleaned up good and put a diaper on him again.  She was planning on giving him a bath after we finished eating but that was too long to just let him go commando.

When we finished our food, she put him on the bed with me while she drew his bath.  He cried for a second but I gave him his bottle and he seemed to calm down.  Once Nancy dropped him into his bath he was in heaven.  He was making a mess splashing water everywhere but he was in heaven.China_20091124_1134_Day06

The bath was quick and I helped dry him off.  Since he was already upset about being pulled out of the bath, what is a little more crying by having me hold him.

After the bath, we saw that my mom was on Skype so we talked to her a bit and got to show her Kai.  She snagged some pictures of the video chat and she let us go so we could get some rest.

Well, Nancy and Kai got some rest because I had to write this post.  I also got to chat with my friends back home because it was the beginning of their day today for them.

China_20091124_1137_Day06Kai did wake up at one point while I was writing this and it took a bit to calm him down.  Nancy was saying all afternoon that he felt warm, so she gave him some Children’s Tylenol.  We gave him another bottle and let him go back to sleep.

It’s now 12:50AM in China and I’m exhausted.  I’m going to worry about the pictures for this post tomorrow and get some rest.  At least we don’t have to be anywhere other than for breakfast in the morning.

1 comment:

Poppie said...

Love this post...laughed until I cried! Miss you guys so much. Can't wait to see you in December.