Well it is official – Jack is ours. We had the “closing” yesterday, and signed on the dotted line. All went well. Last time the officials came to our hotel to do the paperwork, this time we went to the Civil Affairs Office. The setting is exactly as one would expect in Communist China. The Civil Affairs Office building was generic, plain and functional (almost). We walked into a small lobby area where two “guards” sat at a very plain metal office desk. On the wall was the hammer & sickle along with the Chairman’s picture. The lobby area and elevator waiting area were dimly lit. The elevator took us to the 5th floor where an even darker hallway led us to a conference room. The room contained a large wooden conference table that would seat about 20 or so, and 30 chairs off to one side facing the table (so that these chairs were like an audience viewing the discussion at the table). The same notary and civil affairs official as when we adopted Jenna came and produced the paperwork. While we signed and shuffled the forms, Jack and Sam colored and played. The great thing is that they were coloring out of a Bible stories coloring book. Think about it – an American family comes to the Lanzhou civil affairs office and goes to the communist meeting room, where the adoptee and his new brother occupy their time by looking through a book that references the true King. I love it. After a while, I pushed a toy car back and forth with Jack. It was our first time playing and bonding together. He laughed and giggled as I clowned around a bit. We can tell he is very sharp as he is picking up words rather quickly. That’s my boy! The director and nanny where at the meeting and we took quite a number of pictures. They gave a present to Sam, and gave us gifts for Wan Jin (Jenna) and a few of the other babies that had been adopted out of the orphanage. After about an hour, all was complete and Jack was officially our son. Jack looked a bit anxious as he could tell it was goodbye time, but all went very well. Jack waved goodbye to his former caretakers and walked out of the room hand in hand with his Mommy and big brother. I stayed behind to thank the director and nanny for their sincere and great care of our children. I expressed that we can tell they have done a terrific job. (It was hard to get the words out and remain composed but I am thankful to say I still have my dignity intact).
This was all complete by 11 am and we had the remainder of the day to ourselves. Unfortunately, we spent most of the time cooped up in the hotel room (luckily the room and hotel is much better than the where we stayed last trip – Tony & Gayle: we chose poorly last time). Michele is getting over her illness and her toe is fully functional. Sam has now become a bit sick, but we have started him on medicines and he is sleeping quite well. I am not feeling 100% but hope my medicines will reap results today. Sleep for me is something of the past. Four hours a night – with maybe another hour during the day. Tonight I slept from 7 pm to 11 pm. What to do the remainder of the night – hence this blog entry.
Tomorrow we will get a city center tour (assuming Sam is up to it). We will go to the “5 points people’s park”. We look forward to getting out and exploring a bit as last time we were intimidated by the stares. Not this time. We will go out and meet and interact with the local people in a winsome manner. Actually, we arrived in the city a bit earlier in the day this time round so there was more daylight. The walk to the photo studio and store was not as formidable as we expected. While we were still stared at, it was not the same as 2 years ago. More smiles, less “accusatory” gawking. The smog also seems to be a bit reduced; though, Steed tells us this varies from day-to-day.
I must comment on 3 women, 3 buckets and 6 rags. As I could not sleep last night, I walked around the hotel to pass the time. At one point I watched 3 twenty-something women, use a bucket a piece and a rag in each hand (think wax on/wax off) clean the entire lobby area. They cleaned everything but the main floor itself. Every vertical surface within reach, every banister and railing, every banister and railing support, all base boards – behind planters, curtains, chairs, tables, etc.), walls, door trimming, everything. Though, they never changed the water in their buckets!?! Now, if they do this every day, maybe they do not need to change out the water – we will see this morning as I follow up on my observations.
UPDATE: They were there again this morning – wiping away.
We hope to be able to post pictures today.
Hope this entry finds you well.