The jet lag going wasn’t too bad. After 2 plus weeks of meetings and emotions throwing in a polar opposite time zone…boom! We got home Friday night around 9:30, so we were encouraged at the possibility of a normal swing. We went to bed around midnight after much needed showers and baths, none of us sleeping well on the 12.5 hour flight. If I need to start a fund to return with first class seats I will…whatever it costs! If you aren’t in first class, it just isn’t going to be comfortable. In spite of the stewardess’s best sales job, the two meals were not “yummy!”. Yes…she tried to call it yummy.
Xu Wei is getting adjusted. He woke up crying the first night, which is a normal part of the grieving process…a final letting go of the old. Saturday night he only woke up once crying. As you see in the photo he and I made it to 3 a.m.! He did not cry at all last night praise the Lord! He may again to further process. Right now we are all trying to get past the dreaded lag. My buddy Fitz who lives in China, I do not know how he does the time zones…and the flip flop on food too!
We stopped Friday night at one of those Oasis restaurant areas just outside Chicago. It was rush hour traffic, so we were glad to get away from the road for a dinner break. There were some kids playing live music…at first patriotic. When we walked in they were playing “God Bless America”…I thought for a brief second I was humming it outloud at the sight of KFC, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, etc…all tucked nicely in American mall rows! I could have easily broke out in song before I realized where the music came from. We nearly led worship in front of the Taco Bell, it was the best tacos we ever tasted! The only fast food places in China were the McDonald’s and the KFC’s! McDonald’s had a funky green bun on the chicken sandwich that none of us were able to quite identify.
Xu Wei is honestly rattling off some serious Chinese verbage and I have no idea what he is saying! I try to repeat partial phrases and nod, and sometimes that works…couldn’t be a most opposite language. Even my buddy couldn’t communicate regularly because Cantonese is mostly South…throw in regional differences and forget it! Think of someone who truly speaks Bayou language in Louisiana. What we as family find to communicate is continual love and trying our best at non verbal…laughing together, hugging, and just enjoying the moments. It isn’t easy for Americans and Chinese to just relax and savor the moments! Lots of driven-ness in the room sometimes. At least we aren’t in a pair of 200 sf rooms any longer!!!
Three of us went back to what is normal, our way of life. I realized as we took him out into the big city life of China that he really didn’t have any way of life except the inside of the orphanage. Institutional they would term it. Those walls are hard for him to know to push past if you know what I mean. They are literal and figurative walls. I would liken it to someone who is 30 years old and has always lived in poverty. A person must first change their thinking. The challenge here for Xu Wei is expressing himself while learning all new…that would be tough for any 5 year old kid! It will take intensive work for each year old he is. Kids who are still under 3 may have some advantage. Regardless, each adoptive parent has work to do. Hurdles can seem daunting…cultural, material, mentality, and their very D.N.A.. All the while, the parents have their own issues to finish up…depending on how many kids they have. To my new friends in Tacoma, many prayers in your discovery of your young boy and yourselves!
Xu Wei is a generally happy boy and we are so pleased by that. We are thankful he had great care givers who taught him to behave well, can use a western toilet (yes, a big deal!), and dude can fold clothes better than all of us! He loves to help and be in mix. He is highly observant, so use the ‘spell the words’ tricks…don’t hold up your hand because he will wonder what you are hiding! He rolls his little fingers when he is excited or nervous. He does not enjoy large public places if there are a lot of people around. Let’s just say he wasn’t a fan of walking the busy streets of China! He wasn’t used to walking far, so we would just get to where we were going and he would be tired of walking. He wasn’t used to that, and our friends from Houston said their older son was the same. One thing is sure as we sit here on the couch…he loves himself some Pocoyo in Chinese! He is giggling and cackling and I am holding up the ‘shush finger’ to have him not wake up the girls!
I want to give a special shout out thanks to Denise’s friend Trishia for all the welcome home comforts! She had pictures from our trip already in frames set up cute around, complete with balloons and some American food in the frig! I have no concerns for my wife because I know Trishia is walking side by side with her…for that is irreplaceable! Thanks again to Fitz…his Chinese language communications were so valuable to speak to Xu Wei even after we got home. Thank Him for We Chat! Thank all of you who sent over clothes also!!!
While this won’t be my final blog by any means as I know a lot of you may not even see our blessing for a bit, I wanted to give the biggest shout out to my lovely wife. Without Denise this whole deal would be like a bad sitcom…you know…with the clueless dad not knowing how to give full emotional support to this sudden kid in his life! She has a drive I don’t always understand even…but God bless the Dutch folks, because sometimes it works for the best!! Denise gives all she has…crashes…and gives more! She puts everything above her own needs. Sometimes I think ‘girl relax some’…but then I realize I should have thought of it too!! There will be long and challenging days to convert Xu Wei into the man he should be. Hopefully reddening the Chinese buns will be a rare occasion :)!!!
To my amazing daughter Amaya…he little mother instincts kicked in wonderfully the whole trip. She is Denise’s daughter that is for sure! We had wondered if it was the best idea to bring her…there was no reason to doubt that…she was absolutely irreplaceable! We could not have hired better help. She also helped him emotionally on a kid level that was often hard for the adults. It has helped take many a burden off of our full plates, especially when we didn’t know what to do.
Finally today….thanks to God Himself. We would have collapsed at times without His support during all this. Faith keeps you going when your emotions and body decide it is time to crash out! You know that you know better days are ahead. If He goes in front of you, no need to worry (though we might still). I am glad to be back in routine so I can focus on Him better…hard to concentrate in a hotel room with four people wandering around with minimal quiet! Thanks to each of you for bringing us to Him each day…we certainly rested in the strength of your diligent prayers for us!!!!