We’ve had Alex for three full days, and he is a good, good boy. The toughest part is communicating with him since he can’t speak, but he is gradually learning his new name and a little bit of English comprehension. Although he is almost 3 years old, he reminds me more of a child that’s about 2. That will change quickly once he’s home – gets his lip and mouth repaired (it is worse than we expected and he has already had two surgeries). He’ll have no choice but to learn to speak in order to keep up with his big brother.
He has taken to me very quickly and is slowly loving daddy more each day. We bought a stroller at Walmart (which made me recall my headache-y days of the Shanghai Walmart, but it was much less crowded), so we’ve been taking two walks each day around the large lake and park that our hotel is near. We’ve seen a couple of local sights – one was a beautiful Buddhist temple – and for all of the temples that we’ve visited throughout China, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan – it is one of the nicest ones we’ve seen. We also went to an old section of town that used to belong to the wealthy until the Communist government took it over. It’s now a series of shops and restaurants. Alex enjoys the walks and is taking everything in.
There is also a huge important Communist party meeting that’s taking place at our hotel and the nearby conference center, and many of the officials are staying at our hotel, so we ride in the elevator with them every day. On Monday, one of the officials asked us where we were from and then looked at Alex and said with a very sweet, tender smile, “very good.” It was as if he knew that his own people would not care of our darling boy, but that we would love him no matter what. We’re really wondering what kind of meeting it is, though. There are security guards everywhere, which we were told we’re standard security they are part of the Chinese army.
The town we’re in, Fujian, a second tier city by China’s standards, is actually quite nice. The population is 8 million, but it feels smaller. It’s fairly clean unlike the larger cities of Shanghai and Beijing. And, there almost no Westerners anywhere. We’ve seen three since we’ve been here. So, we get a lot of looks. We did see one other US couple who adopted a little boy about the same age as Alex, who was Albino, but they are not staying at our hotel.
Right now, we are just waiting for his passport to be issued. Tomorrow, we make sure our paperwork is correct, and Friday, we meet with the police who will give us his passport and then we fly to Guanghzhou, where the US paperwork and meetings take place. We’re glad to be about half-way through our trip.
We’ve done some sightseeing in the mornings and we nap and walk the lake during the afternoons. Today we went to Panda World, which was awful. There were four or five Giant Pandas, and eight red Pandas in very sparse conditions. The highlight was changing Alex’s diaper at their public toilets. They were awful, so we went behind the building and changed him there! We’re newbies with diapers and trying to potty train!
Lastly, Alex’s Chinese name, given to him by the orphanage director is “Xiao” which means sun “da” which means achieve, which is funny because I’ve always called Nate “sunshine,” so now we have two sunshine boys.