Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adoption March 22, 2010

This morning we went to the office of Civil Affairs to complete legal paperwork for the adoption. It was long and tedious, but painless overall. The boys wrestled and played in the waiting room for most of the hour, except when we had to obtain fingerprints for John and Ben. John was quite serious about signing the documents (Ben only had to leave a handprint in ink), and both boys seemed happy about the adoption. The Civil Affairs worker congratulated John and he smiled. As I said before, although John is quiet,he does smile a lot. While we were waiting for our appointment,the guide of another family came up to me to tell me (in English)that my older son (referring to John) is a very good boy. She knew him from the orphanage somehow, and she wanted to assure me that we will be happy with our new son. We have no doubt. Also, while we were waiting, I questioned our guide (George) about Ben’s reported age (6 ½), and asked why he tells everyone he is 5. George showed us the newspaper ad(dated Nov. 2003) that was placed to try to find Ben’s parents. An advertisement and search for parents is required for six months before a child is released for adoption. Obviously, if he was several months old in Nov. 2003 when the newspaper ad was run, then in 2010 Ben will be 7 years old. The guide asked Ben again in Chinese his age, and again Ben said 5. The guide then told him, “After the spring festival, you turned 6.” Forty-five minutes later the Civil Affairs worker asked Ben how old he is, and he answered 6. He also told her his zodiac is “goat.” I looked up the year of the goat, and yes, Ben was born in 2003. Problem solved; he is 6 years old. I also found out from the guide that the mess we were walking through on Saturday was a real sandstorm! We read about it in today’s newspaper too. No wonder we were so miserable,and we couldn’t breathe on the way to the museum. There is a ton of smog here, but the yellow dust and dirt that was in the air was highly unusual. After the Civil Affairs appointment this morning, we went to a medical clinic for Ben’s T.B. test. He was very brave and did not complain or cry, and the medical personnel were wonderful. They took him right in and fussed over Ben. It made be feel comfortable with the hospital, in case we end up needing medical treatment. Speaking of which, I forgot to mention that Connor woke up with a fever this morning. I medicated him and took him with us to the appointments because we had no choice. Hopefully, he hasn’t contracted anything serious. Right now, David and Connor are resting, while Ben terrorizes the joint. I’ll bet Connor feels better after he gets some rest. Like the two of us, Connor isn’t sleeping well due to the time-change.
It’s 10p now, and I’ve been up since 3:30am, so I’m ready for bed. I just hope that maybe tonight I’ll sleep through the night. I need the energy for our Great Wall of China trip tomorrow morning. Tonight we went to a famous Beijing Duck restaurant. It was the equivalent of the Hof Brau House in Germany in both size and reputation. Cheng’s parents took us, of course, and it was only two subway stops away. It was a huge hall, and loud, which made it easier for us since we can’t easily talk to each other anyway. There was a plethora of food again, and most of it duck based. We had duck feet (I was not impressed), duck liver, duck gizzards, duck filled dumplings and duck meat wraps etc. Ben told Cheng’s dad as we sat down that he wanted MEAT. It’s so funny that he’s such a picky eater. He only wants lean meat and rice; sometimes he’ll eat watermelon, but that’s about all. It seems as if John spends a great deal of time trying to get Ben to cooperate. I don’t think John realizes that we’ve been there, done that; we can outlast a hyperactive, stubborn, demanding child. Or at least we could when we were younger! Finally, though, Ben is taking an interest in learning English. Up until now, when I’d tell him anything in English, such as the floor number, Ben would get irate and tell me over and over the word in Chinese. Tonight he began to count 1 2 3 in English, and he is calling Connor by name now. He also is beginning to recognize his own name as Ben. On the walk back from the restaurant, we passed Tiananmen Square, all lit up at night. It was impressive, and Ben was absolutely thrilled. He bounced around, shouted, and called out the building names. He was like a kid in Disney World, and he insisted I take a ton of pictures. Ben was even more excited than when we went to the Museum of Natural History and he saw the dinosaurs. He told Cheng’s parents that he’s seen all these places in photos. It was adorable, to say the least. John took it all in stride; he’s had school field trips to Tiananmen Square. John also went to the Great Wall on a school field trip last year. Oh well. We are going anyway. Cheng’s parents were originally going to return home on Sunday, but it looks like they are going to stay longer. We are all having such a great time together that they extended their trip. Unfortunately, Xiao had to return to school today. We’ll see him again when he begins school in the US in August.He will come visit us during breaks too.

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