Chen Chen 

I’ve had a little time to get to know this little guy they call Chen Chen. He’s quiet but will warm up to you as he gets to know you, he can be stubborn and isn’t used to having people tell him “no”, he loves guns, coloring and snacks, he hasn’t had the opportunity to move much and is used to nannies holding him, he’s generous and kind…in fact when he thought I had something too spicey, he offered me a drink from his sippy cup, he’s not used to sharing and is a sweet tooth. 

We had a chance to finish up most of the paperwork today. It went very well…much faster than last adoption. At the end Chen Chen’s orphanage presented us with a plate with two cranes on the front (birds not the construction thingy but you knew that). The picture us supposed to represent a long life and is a cool keepsake from his province in China. 

We had a chance to talk to his caregivers at the orphanage again. Very sweet people. Chen Chen (Nathan) was busy doodling all morning. 

Afterwards we went shopping for socks, wash cloths, deoderant, snacks and toys. Here’s Chen Chen picking his first toy from us….a shotgun, chainsaw and grenade set. Such a boy…I love it!

We ended the afternoon at a little Chinese restaurant, picked by our guide Denise. It was a seven course meal for 83 Yuan or around $12. Very nice people. They even used an app on their smartphone to communicate. 

Now I sit next to Nathan as he doodles some more. Thanks to Theresa, we have more than enough stuff for him to do…at least for now. 

That’s all for today. Thanks for all of the comments. I’m still trying to figure out how to reply to them. 

Peace…?

Nathan


Like everything else in Nanjing, meeting Nathan threw me for a loop. When we first met Olivia, there was oodles of  paperwork to complete which took nearly an hour so we had plenty of time to prepare for the “Gotcha” occasion.

Not this time.


First off, the van driver was late which put me on edge a little. Then…and this could be my sensitivities talking, the dude acted like mom and I were dragging our feet. I need to change the way I’m thinking in Nanjing cause a lot of people are rubbing me the wrong way. Anyways, instead of a quiet room with paperwork to be complete, mom and I walked into a packed place filled with kids and families. Nobody seemed to notice us so mom and I wandered around not knowing what to do amongst this awesome chaos. We were trying to find a space to sit when our guide tapped me on the shoulder. She had a look in her eyes as if to say “what took you so long?” but after sitting down, I realized why she was looking at me this way….I had walked right past Chen Chen without noticing him!  As our eyes met, I called out to him in surprise. There he was, standing with his new walker, slowly making his way to me. I didn’t see fear, surprise, nothing in him to indicate hesitation. Instead, he smiled faintly, focusing on making his way through the crowd. When he got a few feet from me, I scooped his little body up and put him on my lap…..surprised as hell that my son was with me. We sat there together a few minutes while mom scrambled to get some video and photos. It was an imperfect moment made perfect by love. I was totally thrown off, but it didn’t matter….my boy was now in my lap and smiling.

He’s a real charmer this one. He smiled and laughed practically the whole time. I had a long talk with his caregivers who knew him at the orphanage and they were relieved that Theresa and I were therapists. Still, being a therapist is different when it’s your kid. But I already see that Nate has a lot of catching up to do. (Sorry but I’m putting on my therapist hat now) He is extremely weak, especially in his trunk and legs. He will need leg braces, botox, surgery…a stander, wheelchair, toilet set up and possibly a bath chair although he did well in the tub later on. His movements are slow but sure with his walker. He’s able to sit cross legged and in chairs fairly well although he’s unsteady and collapses forward, he’s mildly kyphotic in his thoracic region of the spine and has not crawled or scooted yet, he uses his hands and arms well, but his grip/grasp is weak (I’m taking off the hat now).

All of that aside, he’s a melter…that is, he will melt your heart when you meet him. He hasn’t talked much as of yet, except to tell me when he has to use the bathroom but he did show me his writing book where he was practicing Chinese characters. When we were driving home in the van, he started to rustle through his little book bag that he kept from the orphanage.I thought he was looking for papers to show me or his stuffed Panda Bear, but instead he pulled out a tattered set of pictures. It took me a moment to realize it, but the pictures were all of our family….the ones we sent to him months ago. We both sorted through them…Nathan pointing at each person in the pictures while I explained who they were. It was a beautiful moment…one that made all the days craziness fade away.

Waiting…

It’s 2:00 so I have about a half hour till we need to get ready. I’ve done everything humanly possible to stay busy: I walked around a huge block surrounding our hotel…twice and saw some cool stuff.

I also went to the store (I couldnt find it which is why I walked the block twice) and bought some supplies, set up our room the best I could, worked out in the hotel weight room, did all of my laundry thus far, went through some Mandarin phrases, packed Nathan’s bags, wrote in my journal and then blogged this message.
Time is a crawling. 

The next set of pics will introduce our little man. See you on the other side. 

Nanjing 

Nanjing or “south capital” is a cool place. It’s (of course) ginormous but we are in the Mandarin Hotel, located next to a touristy area filled with malls and small shops. It reminds me of Guangzhou, kind of, except nobody here speaks English. I’ve already had a few (mini) confrontations with people who aren’t getting me. I’m gonna need to chill out the remainder of this trip if I want to enjoy the ride, but all I wanted was to go up the elevator. ..why are you starin me down? I’ll explain to anyone interested when I return to the states. 

Everyone here seems to ride mopads and the streets have been crammed with people thus far…not surprising in China, but this trip around mom and I have been able to mix it up with the locals a bit. 

Yesterday was a stressed filled day…at least until we met the guide from our agency. Her name is Savor or  Chi (pronounced “Ty”) and she is as sweet and spirited as they come….which is good because I was ready to complain to our agency about the rocky start to our trip. 

You have 2 people traveling from Kentucky to Nanjing yet nobody available to guide them? I was pretty fired up, especially when we got to Nanjing (by train) and had nobody to direct us (4 bags of luggage, 2 carry ons and a stroller mind you). We lugged everything through the station, only to find that we were at the wrong exit. But God provided people…albeit non English speaking people…more than willing to help. Each time we appeared to be stuck, I just asked God for help and almost instantly someone came to us (no shit, not kidding…for reals). So if God hooked us up…why so anxious?  

You had to be here.

A Pic is Worth….?

I have been struggling to download pictures, which sucks because that’s the coolest part of the whole blogging deal. But instead of getting down about it, I now see that perhaps God wants me to speak more from my heart this trip. 

I’m laying in bed, 5 a.m. China time, with tears streaming down my face and it’s because He…my Lord, is pounding me with his spirit. This happens to me from time to time…usually out of the blue when something beautiful hits me….I just feel Him you know? So I’m laying here wide awake, thoughts flying past me, filling my head when I start to think of random songs….music, that could paint a picture of Nathan. For some reason, that very act opened up a floodgate of emotions. The songs that came to mind were “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 and “Blackbird” by the Beatles. Lyrically both paint a symbolic picture of little Nate. Then…and only God knows why…Band of Skulls  came to mind. Great band but really? Yet as I listened to “Fires” and “Impossible” (cause by now I had on my Ipod and headphones) I felt God so close that it was as though He were holding me. I really can’t be sure what either of those songs mean, but at this moment, they show God is here with me and that this all is for His good purpose. 

And as for the pictures that I’m unable to download, I’ve decided to write about the days events then post that…THEN later I’ll put the pics in. This way I can feel connected to all of you who are reading and supporting this instead of getting pissed off about the Chinese block-net. 

I’ll try to get pics with each post…but until then all I have are my words. God has shown me, this is enough. Thanks for reading..I love you. 

Train of Thoughts

So far this trip has been high octane. After getting a quick breakfast, we met our driver and drove to the Shanghai train station. 
Like everything else here, the place is huge. But unlike the airport where you have a few hours  (normally) to connect, this trip ran down to the last minute. The main issue so far has been that nobody here speaks English. That seems obvious, but you would hope that your agency would have at least one translator to help out. Because of this one small detail, we’ve been on edge every step of the way. 

I’m Stressed Out

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I’ve been through all this before…but that didn’t mean squat when we finally reached Shanghai.  I was told (by our agency) that we would need to walk to our hotel from the airport. That’s all good when people around you speak English, but when you don’t speak the native language, things get interesting real quick.

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Let’s just say that by the time we ended our 14 hour plane trip, stood in immigration/customs line for an hour and a half, obtained all of our luggage and walked over a mile to find our hotel…I was done. Stick a fork in me already!

Bottom line, we are here, safe and ready for the next step of our journey.

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