Tuesday, August 21, 2012
We Have Our Kangaroo!
We arrived in Shanghai late Saturday night. We had a lazy day on Sunday, wandering Nanjing Road and up to the Bund. We didn't stay out long as it was HOT! We are used to hot and humid but this was a completely different level. It probably didn't help that we were surrounded by thousands of Chinese people who don't believe in personal space or cold bottles of water.
We spent the rest of the night getting settled and getting prepared to meet Roo. After going through this five previous times, I was surprised at how nervous I was feeling. So many thoughts were racing through my head: how to deal with the language barrier, if he would still be grieving for his foster family (with whom he spent two years), how a 5-year-old would deal with such a major transition. Even Stu, who had been the driving force in this adoption, was beginning to feel overwhelmed. I'm pretty sure he hadn't even thought about the fact that this little guy would be speaking fluent Mandarin. We actually slept great and grabbed a quick breakfast before we headed to the Children's Welfare Office to meet Roo. We were greeted by the same woman we met last year during Sprout's adoption; she was quite surprised to see us again. After catching up with her, we began signing the endless pieces of paper necessary to begin the adoption proceedings. In the meantime our translator MingMing was able to sneak a peek at Roo, who was waiting in the next room. She said he was very friendly and was eating chips. A few minutes later, Roo walked into the room. He was a bit hesitant but walked right up to us and said, "Baba (daddy in Chinese). Mama." He then proceeded to empty a backpack full of toys that we had previously sent him. He was quite proud of the pictures of himself that were given to us. We could tell he was still a little bit nervous but Monkey pulled out a sucker for him and we were rewarded with our first smile! We saw his big dimples and his eyes perked up. That was all it took. He led Monkey over to a nearby table and they proceeded to play with some plastic soldiers while I finished up the paperwork.
Maybe ten minutes after meeting him it was time to leave. We loaded up his backpack of "treasures" and decided to hit the grocery store before returning to our hotel. We wanted to let Roo pick out a few foods so we knew we had something he would eat. He grabbed cookies, chips, candy, noodles...we ended up with a cart full of junk food. Our translator dropped us off at the front of our hotel and we were on our own. I'm always so surprised at how different the China adoption process is from the Russian/Kyrgyz programs which include a week of bonding before transfer. Within an hour of meeting us, Roo was left with virtual strangers that didn't even speak his language. I'm sure he was scared but he didn't show it. Monkey and he immediately emptied the suitcase of toys we brought and quickly began to have a swordfight. Looks like this boy will be a perfect fit for our wild crew at home. After a Nerf gun shootout, he fed Roo a quick lunch of instant noodles and tried to lay him down for a nap (per his schedule we received from the orphanage). That was a big failure, though he did manage to rest for awhile watching our Tom and Jerry DVD.
He laughed and giggled his way through the afternoon and jabbered non-stop in Mandarin. It didn't seem to bother him at all that we couldn't understand each other. I even got my first hug and quick kiss! We decided to grab dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the hotel - not brave enough to wander out with him yet. He liked the noodles and broccoli we ordered and was an expert with chopsticks. He went crazy when they brought out watermelon and cherry tomatoes for dessert. I'm pretty sure that between Roo and Pudding, we will be going through a watermelon a day when we get back home.
Back at the room, we gave Roo a quick bath. He is not a fan of that, though I'm sure that will change when we get home. His schedule indicated that bedtime was usually at 8:00. Not quite. He was so wound up and ready to play. We finally managed to get him to lay down at 10:00 and he quickly went to sleep...and slept through the night!!
Stu and I could not have envisioned a more picture perfect first day with Kangaroo. I'm sure we will have more challenges as the days pass, but if today was any indication, we just added one more ray of sunshine to our family!