After all the waiting and all the praying and all the traveling, the time finally came to get Titus on Monday, January 8. We didn’t leave for the civil affairs office (where we would meet him) until about 1:45, so we killed time in the morning by exploring the mall across the street from our hotel and grabbing a bite to eat at McDonald’s. Yep, they’re everywhere, and other than one sandwich with a black bun and one that featured two sausage links on top of a hamburger, the menu was pretty much the same.
Also, this guy promoting stuff in all their ads was definitely NOT Ronald McDonald.
We were so nervous and excited when it came time to go and finally get him. I was really curious to see how the kids were doing to do. They have really liked that we can explain what’s going to happen at each step of the trip, but we couldn’t explain this part exactly as it was going to happen because we are not in the same city as we were with Vivi so we didn’t really know for sure what today’s process would be like.
We didn’t need to worry. They were awesome.
When we got there, Titus was already there in the lobby of the building. We immediately knelt in front of him to say hi, but then were ushered into the room where we could really meet and talk with him. Tim’s mom took great pictures throughout our meeting time and beyond.
The kids gave him a backpack with a few toys, and Titus delighted in going all through it and opening every toy.
It was obvious that his foster family had repeatedly shown him the book of our pictures that we had sent because he knew who each of us was. Right now, he is calling me “Mama Kelly” and Tim “Daddy Black”. It’s cute and makes perfect sense as he was in a home with a foster mom and dad when he saw our book for the first time. He already occasionally drops the “Kelly” and “Black” so we know he’ll make a smooth transition. We did have to remind Micah, Liam, and Viv that we are still “Mom” and “Dad” to them without any qualifiers since they immediately jumped on the first name bandwagon.
First uninitiated hug by my little guy.
Being held by Daddy. I have a similar picture of this with Tim and Vivi and it’s one of my favorites from our gotcha day with her.
First family picture! Titus likes to make funny faces whenever you point a camera or a phone at him, so it’s hard to get a good picture of him, and I think Micah was trying to reposition Vivi. Other than that, it’s pretty good! The woman on the far left is from the orphanage, and the woman next to her is Lily. She is the same woman that brought Vivi to us. It was good to see her again.
There were other families from other agencies meeting their children and it was just an awesome thing to see all of these kids meeting their forever families. It made us sad that we weren’t with all of the people we got to know in Beijing, but glad that we’ll get to see them again in Guangzhou at the end of this week.
We didn’t spend much more time at the civil affairs office. We have to go back on Tuesday to complete his adoption paperwork, so we finished up the things we had to do right then and headed back to the comfort and space of the hotel.
Playtime began immediately when we got back to our rooms. Titus loves Thomas the Tank Engine, and delighted in telling Vivi exactly how things should go. It’s possibly he’s going to give her a run for her money as to who is the boss. 🙂
In his little suitcase that came with him, we found the book that we had sent to introduce ourselves to him. He and Tim read it together and he told us who every person in the pictures was. He was said to know that Heinz had died, but delights in the fact that Liam has a fish that he might be able to help feed.
Liam and I watched while they went through the book.
He also came with his own toy phone and has such a vivid imagination with it, making calls to everyone and making up stories as to where he is when he’s calling. He also loves to play school and sing songs. Another little voice in the church choir in a couple of years!
When we asked Titus what he wanted for dinner, he said pizza. So we got pizza. The kids dined on the lounge chair in the hotel room and shared pizza from Pizza Hut. (Well, one of us who can’t eat pizza had some interesting wings and risotto. I’ve decided Pizza Huts in the US need to be selling risotto.)
This was a long, good, and emotionally draining day. Even when everything goes right and the child adjusts pretty well, it’s still hard. The culmination of all of your hopes and dreams and waiting and praying is suddenly there in front of you, and you have to shift your focus from preparing to parent him to actually showing him that you are his parent. That’s something you get to ease into when you give birth to a baby, but when you adopt one, it’s deep end of the pool time. Just as post-partum depression exists, so does post-adoption depression, where the emotions and feelings are all jumbled as you figure out how to parent and love and guide and nurture and juggle all of the other balls in the air. We are all doing fine now, but continued prayers for our emotional health as well as our physical stamina would be wonderful.
Everyone is sleeping as I type this, but let me tell you that we truly are doing good. We expect much more adjusting to happen as Titus spends his first full days with us and the reality that he is staying with us starts to sink in for him and for us.
But we delight in what we know so far.
- He was prepared for us. This is huge and has gone a long way to making this transition as least traumatic as it can be.
- He loves potty humor. He fits in just fine as his siblings also enjoy any joke involving bodily functions.
- He is very smart. While we haven’t heard him speak or understand Italian yet (mainly because no one here speaks it), he understands and speaks Mandarin, and also speaks very clear English. He can tell you exactly what he wants and needs.
- Our three older kids were amazing today. Even better than we could have hoped. They did exactly like we talked about wiht them beforehand – they played with him, were kind to him, didn’t crowd him, gave him space when he needed it, and showed care every time they interacted with him. We’re not naïve enough to think this will last forever, but it really helped to make today such a success. They too were so excited to finally have Titus with us.
- Grandma has been a lifesaver on this trip. She is Grandma, helper, photographer, room-sharer, babysitter, and a thousand other things. We could not have done this without her.
- This boy was clearly loved by his foster family. They sent him with a full suitcase and he was even wearing a shirt that said, “Ciao Amore” with “Tito” (his nickname) on the front and their names on the back. You can see it in the last picture of this post. I can’t tell you how much easier it makes this whole process to know that this boy was so loved and cared for before he came to us.
So my last shot of our first day together is one I suspect we’ll see often, both on this trip and when we get home. Our four kids gathered around an electronic device, enjoying a video together.
Thank you, God, that we are all together.