There is no way I could ever describe the events of the last week emotionally or even logistically. I realized this morning; we have been in China 7 days today. This is our first free day as we wait for the baby's passport. We are doing no adoption paperwork today. It is bliss.
I talked to another mom today about adoption hormones. Call it hormones or perhaps still a bit of jetlag, but I find myself amazed at the mammoth nature of this journey. Mammoth in the sense that the spiritual, emotional and practical aspects are in themselves pretty big. ``Added together, one can easily feel amazed, bewildered, but always profoundly grateful.
First is the mission of the trip. We are here adding to our family and yet I look at this little porcelain doll who I get to carry around and can scarcely believe she is really mine. She thinks I am the cat's pajamas and is sweeter than sugar. God's hand of providence absolutely overwhelms me to tears.
Then there is the fact that we have just over 2 weeks to absorb the country of my daughter's birth. There are moments that seem as if we are on vacation. We have the hotel, all the luggage, yet our time and thoughts are captured by what is next and what documents and monies we need for that day. It is daunting at best, but we persevere. China is an extraordinary country with extraordinary people. We are humbled to truly take a piece of their culture home and make it ours. I pray I can honor the legacy that has so graciously been shared with me this last week.
Finally there is the culture of China. When one adopts and certainly through an agency like CCAI, you are inundated with information about the culture. What to expect and what is considered normal that may seem odd to the American way. For example, staring is not rude here. We got that I thought. I didn't realize though our entire family would attract so much attention.
In Beijing, it was Beau. A lone blond haired blue eyed boy amongst millions and millions of dark haired people. People stare at him, kiss him, photograph him. He will have earned a rock star medal by the time we leave these shores.
Today, our first free day, we ventured to the local history museum. It occurred to me that we have added to our brown-haired and blond haired pack a tiny little Asian person. People literally gathered around us as we moved through the museum. Some just point and talk. Some photograph, and some, well some have bigger plans.
We finished at the museum exhibits and ventured down to the gift shop. It was divided into a souvenir shop and a bookshop. In between was a beautiful breezeway opening on to the lawns of the museum. I carried the baby in a front pack and Beau joined me for a stroll in the sun. We have been unbelievably blessed with the weather here. We made it about 8 steps from the museum when 16 or so local people circled around us. Of course they were all speaking Chinese simultaneously pointing to me, then the baby and finally Beau. The women felt the fabric of the baby's clothes, pulled down her pant legs to make sure she was well covered although it was all of 75 degrees.
She was about to sleep and was sucking on her 2 fingers. The women pulled the fingers out of her mouth and promptly scolded her for finger sucking. Notice this was all in Chinese, but all mothers can translate scolding. The men had circled around Beau. They pushed his glasses up on his nose, felt the skin on his arms, and then for a new twist, lifted him up, obviously commenting that he was a big, strong American boy. Fortunately for me, my linebacker had stayed in the museum, or we might have caused a riot.
I grabbed Beau, smiled and moved back inside.
Beau has weathered well all this attention. It is hard for a 9-year old to be on display. I keep telling him to pretend he is Justin Bieber and that smiles are an international language of the love of Christ, but in truth it is a lot for the young man. I am proud of him, he has held up very well.