Thursday, Aug13, 6:43 p.m. China time
Anyone that has been on an adoption journey (at least anyone that’s not super-human) knows that it is exhausting. Mentally, physically, emotionally. The time change alone really throws you for a loop, and then you add the nature of the trip—let’s just say that sometimes it’s hard to even keep your eyes open. It is the most taxing time of our lives. So it’s no wonder that for a short time this morning, Jeremy got just a tad bit overwhelmed. It is VERY hot and humid outside (my normally straight hair is a curly mess), cute little Xander is testing his boundaries, Jessica is a bit exhausted and therefore not being a good listener, and Graci is just being Graci (interpret that as you wish). As we were eating lunch today, Graci leaned over to me and said, “I think we should call Daddy ‘Grumpy Mr.’” To his credit, he heard this and responded with something close to a laugh. It kind of took the edge off, and he has come around to his normal self. In fact, he just now voluntarily took the kids on a nice, long (HOT) walk so I could have some time to blog—we are much too tired to write once the kids are in bed. Still, if any of you out there want to give “Grumpy Mr.” some encouragement, and a reminder that his best friends (Taylor and Parker), his nice, king-sized bed, and his beautiful backyard really DO exist and are awaiting him at home, I’m sure it would be much appreciated. (:
As tough as it all can be, Jer and I both agree that it is so much easier this time around. Our last trip to China was very difficult in many ways. Graci had such a hard time adjusting to our family. She was unique in that she had a very loving foster family who loved her as their own, she had many friends at school, and had been very, very happy before being thrown on the biggest roller-coaster of her life by joining our family! It was a bit of a ride for everyone! We learned a lot that has helped us with this trip. Our expectations for Xander have been low, so we are pleasantly surprised that he does listen and obey some of the time! We have learned to cut him lots of slack, while sticking to our guns on a few important things (like hitting). He is doing GREAT! I am so proud of how well he is adjusting. I cannot imagine what it is like for him to all of a sudden become part of a family—and to have that family speak a different language! I think it has made a difference that he has come from an orphanage instead of a foster family. Though we would have loved for him to have had the love and care of a foster family, he hasn’t had to go through the same kind of grieving as Graci did . He has had some moments of quiet sadness and some of obstinance and frustration, but is mostly just HAPPY! It is so fulfilling to watch him giggle as he wrestles with Jeremy, jump up and down when we tell him we’re going to the pool (the first time we went he was quite scared), cuddle us as he is waking up in the morning, laugh as we let him jump on the bed… there are just too many things to list!
We just LOVE him.
He is so so wonderful. He can be a little stinker, yes, but I think so much of that will go away with time and language. Mostly he is so loving and charming. He learned the word “please” today and has found that he can use that to his advantage! There was some chocolate that I had given him, and told him that he could just have one. He went and got a second one, walked over and scrunched his face into his best grin and said, “Please?!” in his cutest little voice. Of course it worked, and Jeremy teased me for giving in. The next time he walked over and did the same thing to Jeremy, who couldn’t help but start laughing and give in as well—he’s just so darn cute! Jeremy has said at least three times, “I feel like we won the lottery!” Oh, and Jer’s new nickname for him—“X-man.” (:
A few facts about Xander:
He likes to dip his waffles in soy sauce, his Pringles in soup, and his watermelon in sweet-and-sour. He loves to brush my hair and blow on my tummy. He will put his head under water for a good five seconds and then burst out of the water with big eyes and a huge laugh! He always puts his shoes on to go to the bathroom in our hotel room. He is very good to let me brush his teeth. He knows he is charming. He has a super-cute, LOUD voice. He likes to be carried ALL OF THE TIME (this is the source of many of his melt-downs, as we can’t always comply). He sleeps with his bottom lip sunk in under his teeth. He loves to drink, but surprisingly stays dry all night without waking up to go to the bathroom. He has super soft skin. He smells good (polar opposite from when we first got Elli—took weeks to get her smelling good:)), he doesn’t let his legs/feet slow him down, he can be very good at sharing, he can be very bad at sharing, he is very independent (sorry, Taylor, but he cuts his food up better than you do!), we think he is ambidextrous, he has GREAT teeth by China standards, he’s trying hard to learn English, he LOVES gum (if you want to be his friend for life, give him his own pack), he gives the sweetest little kisses, and he truly seems so love us. (: This morning, Xander was going around singing, “Wo ai ni Baba” (I love you Daddy), “Wo ai ni Mama,” “Wo ai ni Jie Jie (big sister) “Wo ai ni Ge Ge” (big brother). He was just singing it to himself, over and over as he wandered around the room. It just melted my heart.
While we are enjoying our time here, we really can’t wait to get home to our other kids and be a complete family. And while we truly love China, we’re missing Utah’s mountains, blue sky, and cool summer evenings! Tomorrow afternoon we’ll fly to Guangzhou to complete the adoption proceedings and get Xander’s visa. We’re staying at the Victory and we’ll be there for a week, arriving home at midnight next Friday—YAY! I need some Elli, Taylor and Parker hugs!!!!!
Again, thanks for all of your love and support! We can’t wait to show off this little guy!
P.S. I’m attaching pictures of our visit with Graci’s foster family. They have become so dear to us. I don’t know how to label them all as I send them, but hopefully you can figure them out from reading the posts we sent from Hangzhou. There are some cute pics of Jesi with her BFF (fiancé of Graci’s foster brother), Graci with her “China family,” the amazing meals they prepared for us, Jesi’s birthday cake, etc.