I’m back with Part 4 of our China trip recap. We finally had our girl but we still had several more days in her city to finalize the adoption and apply for her passport.
She woke up on her first morning with us quiet and reserved. On her first trip to a hotel buffet we learned that she hated fruit, refused to drink, but could eat three hard boiled eggs and bacon. We had to get our energy up for a long day of official appointments.
The first twenty four hours with your new child is considered a “harmonious period”. For this period you just have guardianship of your child. The adoption is not yet final. The next morning we returned to the government office to finalize the adoptions by signing paperwork and taking an oath.
This is the room in which we received Quinn. It was so strange to be back in that room.
There was a lot of sitting around and waiting for your turn to be called.
It’s official! From this moment on she is officially forever an Elsbury.
I believe our first stop was to a notary office that involved climbing numerous flights of stairs to sit in a blazing hot room. Next up was getting her passport photo taken. It took forever because the children had to have their head perfectly straight, no smiling, and no crying for the photos. During the long wait the older siblings took to their electronics. Official business is boring.
Passport photo complete. Please note there are more siblings sitting outside with their face in their electronics. I’m telling you, this errand took forever.
The final stop was to apply for her Chinese passport. Another building, another waiting room. Someone was getting sassy.
We finally made it back to the hotel and were starving. Shane ran out to get carry out with our guide. The restaurant menu had lots of interesting options, including these whole turtles.
Meanwhile the girls were having a little party in the hallway. I love that our agency has most of the families stay on the same floor together. Hall parties were a great way to pass the time and let the littles run out their energy.
Back in the room and being entertained by the big guy.
Time for a little swim. Can you say adorable?
After a long day of official business these kids needed to have some fun. I am so grateful for all of the amazing siblings in our travel group.
After swimming it was time to turn in for the night.
The next morning we had a completely free day ahead of us. Many of the other families were visiting their child’s orphanage this day but ours was planned for another day so we had an entire day to kill.
Her first ride in the carrier was a success. She slept through our entire lunch.
Anderson was elated because we agreed to eat at Pizza Hut. After a week of Chinese food he was in need of some pizza.
There was a mall across the street from our hotel. Since it was raining we decided to wander around the stores for a while. Already a shoe gal. How can you say no to that face?
There was a inflatable obstacle course that you could pay a couple yuan and play for as long as you want. Anderson loved it.
He really wanted to play with some of the other kids but he was nervous because they (obviously) didn’t speak English. With just a little gesturing they worked it out and started playing tag.
For dinner we wandered into a hot pot restaurant. This was a highly entertaining experience. A giant bowl of boiling liquid and a hyper two year old? Not the best idea. We had no idea what we were ordering and communicated to our server with a lot of charades and very poor translation app. We ended up with the most random assortment of ingredients, but it was still tasty. After dinner it was back to our hotel for bedtime.
The next morning it was time for our visit to Collins’ orphanage.
Driving up to the gates I was nervous. When we were in China before we did not visit the orphanage because Quinn lived off site in a small foster home located in a little apartment across town. Knowing that hundreds of children lived in this building made my heart heavy before we even entered the building.
As we walked across the grounds we saw this playground. It looked nice, but there were no children outdoors playing.
Headed into the building.
Our first stop was to the Show Hope unit’s green room. Collins spent two years in this room. Three weeks before we arrived she was moved from here to a foster family apartment on the orphanage grounds. As soon as we walked in she ran right to the ladies she was so familiar with and had been missing for the past few weeks.
This woman was Collins’ primary nanny. Not only did Collins seem excited to see her but she seemed to be excited to see Collins. You could tell she genuinely cared for our girl.
We were able to ask lots of questions about Collins and her history, her likes, her dislikes, her routine, and everything we could possibly think of to ask. There was also a lot of discussion about how all of Collins hair had been cut off. They did not seem too happy about this turn of events 😉 We were grateful that one of the nurses speaks excellent English and was able to translate as our guide was hopping between our family and another family visiting a different room with their son.
While the staff doted on our girl we were able to explore the room and love on the other kids. As a side note: I deliberately am leaving out most of the photos of the other children cared for here. If you happened to have stumbled upon my blog and are a parent of another child in the green room of Show Hope Zhengzhou during this time, shoot me an email. I may have photos of your child. We took a lot in hopes of being able to share with other parents. We were so grateful of those that went before us while we were waiting!
Her crib. I am thankful for the mattress and warm blankets as so many kiddos are not so fortunate.
The play area.
The other room of cribs. I had the same experience here as I did when we visited Quinn’s foster home. I walked into the crib rooms and assumed the kids were elsewhere because it was so quiet. Only when I peaked into the beds did I realize that most of the children were in their beds awake but silent.
Play area on the right, beds in both rooms on the left.
Each child had a bin with their medications labeled with their name and photo.
One last photo before we said goodbye to these lovely women. We are so thankful for them and for Show Hope for caring for Collins.
We then toured other areas of the orphanage.
Many more rooms filled with babies.
Where baths are given.
Look at all of those bottles lined up on the counter.
Hundreds of babies requires a lot of diapers.
The brightest spot in the building is where the laundry dries.
We then moved on to where the older children live. Cribs are replaced by rows of beds.
I think there is something powerful about this photo. Anderson is peaking into this classroom of boys. He quietly walked down this hallway, silently looking into each room. He then came up and whispered in my ear “These kids actually live here? Like all the time?”. Obviously over the past three years there has been a lot of talk of adoption and children that don’t have a mom or dad. Seeing the infants and toddlers he was expecting. But seeing boys his age? I think this is the moment when the tragedy of this building hit home. It was a lot for a six year old brain to handle.
Next we walked across the yard to the building containing the foster family apartments. Shane noticed the shards of glass atop the wall. Not sure if it was to keep things out or in the walls, but it made me uneasy.
Outside of each apartment was a photo of the family and the children they care for. These are the seven boys that are currently with them. That blank yellow spot? Just a couple of days earlier had a photo of Collins.
Her foster mom was gracious enough to welcome us into her home. All of the boys were currently at school.
They all share this one tiny bedroom. She shared with us that Collins was the first girl she had ever had and she was only there for three weeks. I think this made her a bit sad.
We saw this happy gentleman coming back from his garden. His smile brightened my day.
See that bag in Collins’ hand? They are shrimp flakes. She told us they were one of Collins’ favorite snacks. She also gave a bag to Anderson who politely smiled and took it from her. When we later got into the van he happily handed them over to Collins. Shrimp flakes taste and smell exactly like they sound.
She also shared with us that bottles give Collins diarrhea and she hates fruit, especially apples and peaches. Remember back on the day we arrived in Zhengzhou and we received information on our child’s likes and dislikes before heading to the store? Ours said Collins was primarily bottle fed and her favorite snacks were apples and peaches. What? I think something was lost in translation. This explains why we had yet to get her to drink a bottle and she spit every piece of fruit back at us.
One last photo with our lovely guide before leaving the orphanage.
An emotional day calls for not one, not two, but three suckers.
Guess what Anderson wanted to do again? Yep, swim!
Time to find some dinner. She is already starting to look like him.
We called this the tomato noodle restaurant.
Chopsticks and a spoon. He starting to eat like a local.
These cute girls sitting at the table next to us kept talking to Anderson. They were so sweet and wanted to practice their English.
These light-up ride on toys on the side walk looked like so much fun.
The boys couldn’t resist. They needed to take this fun thing for a spin.
Whew! If you made it this far, I’m impressed. That was a long one. I better stop here. I’ll pick up next time with our final days in ZZ, then on to Guangzhou.