Well, I left off last time at day 5, Tuesday, December 2, 2014. This is a day that will forever hold a special meaning in our family now. This is the day that Ethan officially became part of our family, our son...
We had to be ready to meet our guide, Susan, at 8 that morning. Ethan had slept through most of the night, until about 3:30, and then wanted nothing to do with his crib. So, until Brian was done with his shower around 6-ish, I held Ethan while he slept. This was a wonderful experience; however, my arms were jelly the rest of the day! (Ethan was 19 months old at this point, not a tiny baby, so for someone who was not used to holding a child for that length of time it was quite "strenuous"!)
The word I use to describe this day is "race". It seemed like all we did was hurry, hurry, hurry from this place to that place, sign this and that, wait here and there. What a day!
Our first stop was the adoption center. This is where we signed official documents, authenticating our signatures with our thumbprints, and Ethan's footprint was put on one of the documents (there were so many, I don't remember what it was). The documents were all done in triplicate. A photo was taken of Ethan for use at a later time. It seems like no matter what the weather, windows are open in this area of China. They are great believers in getting plenty of fresh air, even when it's cold outside. This made it very chilly in the small office, so we kept pulling a blanket up around Ethan and pulling our jackets closer around us. We waited while our guide worked out payment of fees and such. Ethan fussed only a little when I had to hold him so Brian could sign papers. He seems to not mind me so much, if he can still see Brian.... hmph (as my Dad would say).
Once everything was completed at the adoption center, we bustled back into our van and raced off to our next stop - the passport photo center. When we arrived, there was a very long line, flowing out the door and onto the sidewalk. Our guide just glided right past everyone and went to the front of the line! We were astonished!! And no one even raised an eyebrow! Later, when we talked about it, we decided you would have ended up tossed out on the pavement, if you tried that here in the States!
Susan handed the passport photographer some money and a piece of paper and motioned for us to quickly bring Ethan in. Brian smiled sheepishly and excused himself as he made his way past all the waiting people. She later explained to us, when we asked her, that it's just an understanding that people have - that children being adopted must go first, because of time and travel constraints; they have to have their documents sooner.
By the time we were done with our morning, Ethan was getting cranky and hungry, and so were we! :-) When we returned to the hotel, we walked to a nearby KFC - which, by the way, is NOT like KFC here in the States! I recognized only a few items on the menu - mashed potatoes and gravy being one of them! After lunch, we tried to get Ethan to take a nap. And tried, and tried, and tried. He wasn't having anything to do with taking a nap that day! For 3 1/2 hours, Brian tried to get him to sleep, and Ethan cried and cried. Poor little guy - he was so confused and had no idea where he was, who we were or what was going on in his life at the moment. We finally turned on the TV, as a last resort, and he finally crashed - at about 4:30. Which meant that dinner was late and then bedtime a little late, but... He slept through the night!
Did I already mention that he loved bath time? He did (still does, to this day), and he cried when it was over (he doesn't do that anymore). We were both really glad for that - one less battle to worry about.
Already, he was starting to imitate some signs we were showing him! This was only the first full day we had had him! I don't think he knew that they meant anything at that point, but he was still doing a good job of imitating.
With that, our first full day as parents was over. We were exhausted and a bit dazed but content.
To be continued...