Anticipation was filling the air as we woke on the train to bright sunlight streaming through our windows by 5 am. We all thought it was much later, but the sun just came up really early. As we took our first looks outside we saw scenery that was breathtaking and beautiful. We saw a combination of rural farmland and mountainous terrain. Not much population until we got closer to the city of ChiFeng. So we just soaked in the scenery as we anticipated what we were about to experience during the day.
Our First meeting of our children.
I love this picture of Tante Lilli and Lucas on the train as we got closer to ChiFeng. I'm so happy she has been here to share these wild and crazy days with us.
We were all anticipating big things for this day. But, no one as much as our Lucas boy who was wondering what it would be like to see his friends who he hadn't seen in 4 years and then to be able to call them brother and sister. His emotions over took him as we approached his hometown. He stood and looked out the window amazed that it was so beautiful. He had never seen this part of his homeland before. He had no idea this is what it looked like as we approached the city.
And he just could not believe this day had come.
a few tears...
and amazement..."this day is really here"
We love you Lucas boy.
We knew our guide was going to pick us up from the train station at 7 am and we were hoping we could go to our hotel first to freshen up after traveling in cramped quarters all night long. As we stumbled out of the train with our 13 bags of luggage, Lucas was kind of stumbling down the stairs with a suitcase and a man rushed up to him to help him. We thought it was just a kind stranger helping, until we realized we recognized him as the driver from our last trip to China. I looked up from the long staircase and saw our guide...and there were other people standing with her. As I got closer, I realized it was the orphanage director
AND OUR KIDS!!
Totally caught us off guard.
We had virtually no time to prepare camera's or video for our first meeting as we were loaded down with luggage and surprised. I quickly pulled out my camera. But, it was so shocking we were all rather speechless...
The kids all stood around looking at each other. Nobody got really close at first. They tried talking to each other but no one understood what was going on. They all grabbed suitcases and just ran off with them anxious to get the day started. The kids ran on ahead and I caught up with Emma. Daddy was a little behind us and the first word I heard out of her mouth -- out of concern-- was
as she turned around to look for him
We know who is going to have who wrapped around her little finger.
and that's a great thing.
(this is 7 a.m.)
Welcome to a BUSY crazy day...
off and running.
yes that is Emma running like a crazy woman.
This picture speaks volumes of the initial moments.
Distance and awkwardness.
We headed to the hotel anticipating a "low end" hotel because it was only $60 per night where as most of our other hotels in China are about double that cost. I was a bit nervous to be honest. As we came to the front entrance, our guide got out of the van and we could tell there was some confusion. She got back in the van before we got out and said we were being sent to "the other building" ... The VIP building.
We got there and were blown away by the beauty of the accomodations. Someone had made arrangements for us to stay here instead of in the regular part of the hotel. No extra charge.
We should have known this was just the beginning.
After freshining up, we were treated to a delicious "breakfast" with the kids, the director, the Assistant director, and the Driver at a local restaurant.
What a breakfast.
Food just kept coming.
And slowly, connections began.
If you know anything about attachment and bonding and connecting, Lucas was the first to make those connections. After all we were strangers, but he wasn't...
It was a slow process, but smiles came, sweet connections were beginning to happen.
Emma started using a few English words with us like "Thank You" and "You're Welcome" and "mama" and "daddy".
They called Lucas SunWan because that is how they know him and remember him.
We brought fruit snacks for the kids and Emma was quick to grab them and start handing them out to all her friends and the little kids. The building was brightly colored and cheerful and clean.
This was Emma's bed. And her closest friend that slept next to her.
These are Joshua's 2 closest friends, and his bed.
One unanticipated thought I had was how much this adoption affects all those kids left behind. We've now taken their friends. When you put a face to the kids left behind and realize that most of them will not ever have families primarily due to their age at this point, it's heartbreaking. They were really sweet kids.
They took us to their study room where they do homework after school. Each child has their own desk.
We then visited the little kid's room. Oh my. Fell in love with almost every one of them. So happy to find out 2 of the kids have families on their way in the next weeks and months or I'd have to make a trip back...bahahahaha.
look at this face--ugh!
Josh and Emma slowly got more comfortable with us being together in their environment and showing us around. Lucas continued to pursue relationship and attempted to talk and communicate.
comparing hand sizes and doing high fives crosses language barriers
Lucas remembered this boy from 4 years ago and found a good re connection
This guy was funny. He kept wanting to take selfies with Isaac and Peter.
Outside of building
This building was not the building Lucas lived in. It was built shortly after he left there. His building was torn down, but used to be right in front of this building. So he recognized other things around the area. He was surprised at how much different the entire area looked. It looked like there had been tons of construction over the past several years. Even his school had been changed to an apartment buidling and no longer existed.
Then another meal. We couldn't believe it was only lunch time. Seriously? I thought it was 5 pm and time for dinner. So many emotions, so much to absorb, we were just overwhelmed.
Again, we were treated to an amazing meal. This time traditional Mogolian HotPot.
They are so funny when they order food. We had no idea what they were ordering, but the food just kept coming. This picture doesn't do it justice because this was just the beginning. Plates and plates of meat and other dishes. Lilli and I just laughed. There seemed to be a pause and then another plate of meat came out or another dish.
This was about 1/2 or less of the food we had that day.
Lucas and the assistant director enjoying some bonding time. It was good for him to see her in a new light. She was the one who brought him to us 4 years ago. A very sweet woman.
Finally the day began to draw to a close. We did a little local shopping near the hotel. And later found some local food on our own at a food court thing. A tad scary...lol
Lucas was completely and totally exhausted and could not even eat dinner that night. He fell asleep at dinner and we barely got him back to the hotel.
What a day
****just a side note...Lucas the man of 'all things emergency' noticed this sign at the orphanage for the local 9-1-1...
except it was
He thought that was funny.