Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Van's Write Up for Day 1 in Inner Mongolia

12-28-08I arrived in Beijing after a long flight where I couldn't sleep, but kept my eyes closed for a long time. The lady next to me, Judy, was a Chinese women that lives in Chantilly, VA and has a son who is a junior at Westfields. She was extremely nice and we had a lot to talk about. Watched 3 movies on the plane as well. Arrived in Beijing, and boy has that airport changed! Huge new Terminal 3, and was very easy to navigate. Arrived, went straight through immigration, picked up my bags, went through customs. I had to go back through security at this point, and I was made to use my Ocean saline nose drops and take a sip of the Childrens medicine, which I understood. I then sat down and had a beer because the only thing I saw to drink real quickly was coffee, tea, TCBY, and beer. It was good! I then proceeded to my gate for the flight to Hohhot. They have very nice luggage carts for my two carry-ons and coat to lug around. I then had some tea and a piece of apple pie at a diner. The airport was very impressive. They also had "clean drinking water" fountains which was helpful. I took the flight to Hohhot, and the plane was full. China Air was very efficient. The Hohhot airport was very nice, and modern. It was bigger than I thought, but very simple to navigate. I then saw Sandra with her sign and after getting my luggage, went into frigid cold temps, with high winds and some sand twirling. I didn't zip up my jacket because it get hot quickly, my gloves were still in my backpack. On the way over, I learned that Sandra was a history major in college. She is married but without children. She talked about the cultures on the way over: The Yangtze River (Anqing City), The Yellow River, and The Grass Fields cultures. She also pointed out some of the buildings. The signs are both Mongolian and Mandarin everywhere. The city at night was very impressive with it's various architecture forms and complimentery lighting everywhere. It almost looked like a "tasteful Las Vegas" but in frigid temps. The traffic at night, well, it makes Paris look orderly. Feet and inches are the difference from cars being hit or not. Bicycles and mopeds, well, they get by some how. The driver for my trips, BTW, is Mr. Leo which I just found out on Tuesday. It wasn't too crowded since it was late getting in. During the 20 minute drive, I was told the surprise of Garrett already at the hotel for me and that the adoption was moved up a day. After a long flight and as tired as I was, I found that I didn't react the way of a grumpy man, I was actually excited and it kicked in my reserves once again. We arrived at the hotel, and within 15 feet, I saw Garrett for the first time. Well, there was Garrett, bigger than I thought and looking pretty mature. He had on a very nice outfit, a sweater with a red shirt underneath (and two more shirts under that one, plus a blue vest). He was wearing some heavy split pants, with a diaper exposed. He had on some nice blue velcro tennis shoes. He had two of the orphanage staff there, plus a man who turned out to be a photographer. Well, I went up to Garrett and he smiled. He then got a bit frightened. Well, that's when they picked him up and said they needed some pictures for the adoption certificate right away. That's the first pics you see of me in the lobby of the hotel with him. He was a bit tired, and scared. I barely had my jacket off when all this happened (within the first minute of walking in). Not much I could do but do my best and try to reassure Garrett who kept wanting his nannies. I paid the photographer 30 yuans, then we proceeded to check-in, and go upstairs. When we got upstairs, Garrett was still a bit upset even while the nannies were there. Sandra then presented me with his orange/black Disney coat and red/white reindeer cap given by his foster parents. They also gave me a bag of assorted food he likes including peanuts, short bread cookies, oranges, apples, and golden graham looking chips. He was also given a bottle of water, and a bottle of his favorite orange drink/juice). The foster parents definitely loved this child. I then received a wonderful life book made by the foster family of Garrett. It took several hours to make and definitely something that Madeline would be thankful to have. There was an important phone call in the room and the ladies seemed to need to leave immediately. I found out later what it was about. I was given a brief rundown of his activities. He woke up at 5 a.m. (great, just what I needed, an early morning), ate breakfast at 6:30 a.m., poops after breakfast once a day (that would change), ate lunch at noon and then would take a nap. Dinner was at 6 p.m. and then would sleep at 9 p.m. I was lso told that Garrett would sleep a lot of times in the foster father's arm. They told me to be ready at 9:00 a.m. to do the paperwork for the adoption, which again, the sooner the better. They left shortly after. At this point, I was tired, and faced with reality of a grieving scared child in my room all night. He was pointing to the door screaming to go to them. He did this for about 15 minutes. I tried to reassure him, but knew besides hugging and pulling out the toys that Madeline had packed, it probably was going to be crying for the whole night. I quickly unpacked a few items in the drawer while talking to him and turning on the TV, trying something to distract Garrett from missing everyone. After some time, he did calm down and watch the TV. He also started to tire. I quickly turned down the sheets, situating the 4 pillows where he would not roll off and hit the furniture or floor. I then started to remove the clothing on him. First the sweater, which was snug like most Chinese children would wear. Then came the vest and having to unbutton his red dress shirt. This sent Garrett into crying again. I got down to a t-shirt (turned out there was another tank top underneath) and then removed his outer split pants. He didn't need a diaper change, the orphanage staff had taken care of that task. I laid him down, all the time he was upset. We had packed the blue Winky doll that Gracie has a fondness for while sleeping (along with other stuffed animals) After laying him down for 10 seconds, I realized that he probably was used to having someone with him and laid beside him holding him. Even from a stranger, this child wanted to be held, and he quickly fell asleep in my arms. A little tough, but not 1/10 of what I thought I would have to deal with emotionally. I was okay, I guess my normal day at work was more draining. This I knew had a reward of a life time. I could handle raising this child, and was looking forward to getting to know Madeline's and my son, the boy that just became Gracie's little brother.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Wow! Nothing like hoppin off a plane and being handed a grieving 2 year old! Sounds like Van handled it like a pro. Bet you can't wait to have your hands on both of them! :)