I am a little behind on blogging but want to catch up as quick as I can.
Monday, August 17 was Samuel's gotcha day. I had been feeling so nauseated on Sunday and all day Monday. I was praying the feeling would go away before we had to go get Samuel. We woke up to this view that morning and ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I could barely eat anything.
At 9:30 we met our guide, Amby, in the lobby. By that point I felt a little better after sleeping a little after breakfast. We walked to the Bank of China so we could exchange money. Our guide is very nice, knowledgable and easy to talk to. He brought us back to the hotel with plans to meet at 2:15 to go get Samuel. We rested in the room and just ate lunch from food and snacks we brought with us. We decided to walk around the hotel to kill some time.
Bryan minding his head as we go downstairs at the hotel
Our hotel, Wharton International Hotel in Nanning, Guangxi
The hotel pool which looks very nice and would be SO much fun... if it had WATER in it!
After our walk we laid down to rest yet again (jet lag + sick + stress = sleep!) and then did final things to get ready for Samuel, like pack his backpack and set out his blanket and some toys.
It was finally time to go! I was nervous as we waited in the lobby, but once we got in the van and started talking with our guide I felt so calm and ready.
We arrived at the Civil Affairs office (large government building) and went to sit in some chairs to the left to finalize and double check paperwork. There was a play room to the left with several children and orphanage staff waiting. Three other American families were there for adoptions as well. We could see all of their children but not Samuel. Finally, it was our turn to go to the Civil Affairs director's office to meet Samuel. We saw his nanny and orphanage director walk him to the office before we could follow behind and he just looked up at us, bewildered. He was wearing little Paul Frank monkey shorts and a minion shirt :)
Once inside the office, they brought him in to us. Here is our first meeting! He did not cry but also did not want to go to us at first. The orphanage director was so sweet and he seemed familiar with her. She is the one kneeling down in the skirt in the photos.
When he hesitated, she quickly pulled out the album we had sent with our care package back in May. She pointed to our pictures, reminding him that we are his Mommy and Daddy and showing him that we were holding his picture in the photos. The album looked worn. It was clearly not the first time he had seen it.
I finally decided it as time to just pick him up and quickly grabbed sucker from his backpack. I unwrapped it as fast as I could to keep him from crying. He gladly took it and began to eat it and drip blue juice all over my shirt and his chin :)
Our first picture together. The sucker really saved the day!
We left the office so the next family could meet their child and came out to the lobby. Yet another sucker to save the day and keep him from crying. He was ok being held by us but didn't make a lot of eye contact. Can you even imagine how frightening this would be for a 2 year old??
Sweet buddy in his Daddy's arms. The scab on his forehead is from his blood transfusion last week. In China it is common to transfuse through a vein in the head and the adhesive or whatever they used seems to irritate his skin and he has been scratching it.
Posing with the orphanage director. It was clear that she loved him and that he had been well prepared for adoption which we are so thankful for.
Samuel kind of shut down in the van and fell asleep. We arrived at a super market to buy more water, formula, and a bottle. He started to whimper as I got out of the car because it woke him up. Bryan kept him in the van and gave him a third sucker. We were afraid the supermarket may overwhelm him.
Once we were back in the room we tried not to come on too strong and give him time to adjust to us. We started playing cars and I would put my hand over his to show him how to pull them back and let them go across the tile floor. I loved that he was willing to sit in my lap. He loved playing cars!
The orphanage staff told us that he was potty trained and told us the Cantonese word he would say for potty. I'm not sure how to spell it but it sounds like "new new". Well let me tell you, this boy know how to "new new" in both a Western and a squatty potty! He has done amazing at potty training, much to our surprise! We were even more surprised to find that he had on NO UNDERPANTS! Commando all the way on gotcha day! LOL We have since gotten him some pull ups to wear, especially when out in public but he is still doing great.
Eating a cookie on the sofa in our room
Because he was doing so well and didn't seem overwhelmed, we decided to go downstairs to the hotel restaurant. He ate and ate and ate, almost stuffing his mouth to the point of choking. We had to pace him and put small amounts of food on his plate once we saw what he was doing. He even put a piece of chicken in his mouth that had a bone in it, and I never did see him spit that bone out! He ate chicken, rice, noodles, and fruit. He drinks a ton of water from a sippy or open cup which is great to keep him hydrated for transfusions.
After dinner we came upstairs to play some more and then Facetimed Bryan's mom since she was up. Then he had bath time. He was a little unsure in the tub and wouldn't sit down, but did not cry. Bryan bathed him and we put on pajamas and then Facetimed with my parents and the kids since they were all awake at that point. Samuel enjoyed saying "hello" and "bye bye " to them. It was great to introduce him to everyone although phone calls can get a little hectic with 3 little ones at home who all want to talk to Mommy and Daddy.
Bryan and I were BEAT and struggling to stay awake. We fixed Samuel a bottle and laid him on the bed with us with the lights off. We read a book and he drank his bottle which unfortunately leaked everywhere. I changed his pajama shirt and laid a towel under him on the bed. He laid there quietly between us, held his bear and went right to sleep.
We are in awe of this precious little boy who has so quickly transitioned into our family and sees us as his forever Mama and Baba. We are amazed by the courage he has shown and also by the ENERGY he has!! He is very active, all boy, so smiley and happy almost all of the time. He jabbers in Cantonese and we wish we knew all the precious things he is saying! We are so in love with him already and can't wait for everyone to meet him!