Before I say more, I need to give credit to our four older children. We are so very glad that we brought them. Even yesterday during XiXi's moments of intense distress, the kids remained calm and loving. Cholita rubbed his back and all of them repeated the words of comfort that we'd practiced at home. They play with him and act silly with him and somehow, without the English language, Cholita and XiXi created an imaginary ice cream delivery service. Cholita takes the order (mint chocolate chip, cotton candy, black licorice, etc.) and then she'll take the order to XiXi and the two of them have a dual language conversation that somehow seems to make sense to both of them and then they run around making deliveries. It's a total mystery to me.
XiXi calls Lucy "Da Jie Jie" (big big sister), Rose is "Chong Jie Jie" (middle big sister), and Cholita is "Xiao Jie Jie" (little big sister). He likes his dad and his big brother, he loves his mom, but he adores his sisters.
This photo was taken on Gotcha' Day before we left the hotel for Wal-Mart. It's absolutely incredible to me that just hours before he was in complete despair at the very idea of going anywhere with us. At Wal-Mart, we walked by the electronics department and he saw himself on a security camera and hammed it up.
Last night, he went to sleep very easily and during the night I heard him whimper a few times, but he never really woke up. Twice in his sleep he said, "Jie Jie". I don't know if he was dreaming about his Jie Jie Lianne or his new Jie Jie's. Either way, I woke Lyle up and told him what he'd just said. We had a middle of the night whispered conversation that included lots of, "Can you believe how amazing this little boy is?" and a very healthy dose of, "We are so blessed." When he woke up in the morning, I suspected that we'd have tears, but instead he greeted us with a smile and "Mama! Baba!" and big hugs. Then he went looking for his various sizes of Jie Jies and his Gu Gu and expected good morning hugs from them as well. We let him pick his outfit for the day and he chose a funny shirt our neighbors had given us. On the top it says, "What's for lunch?", very appropriate for Xi Xi.
On the way to breakfast he taught Xiao Jie Jie the ever-important peace sign. And at the breakfast table he taught us that chopsticks can be turned into a machine gun, complete with sound effects. He likes cars, trucks, balls, and weapons. Yep, he's a boy.
And there's not really any story to go with this photo, it just makes me incredibly happy.
After breakfast we went to Green Lake Park. He danced along with the fan dancers, sang along with the singers, and just had a blast. He stuck close to Jie Jies Chong and Da. He's such a ladies man.
We found some little rides for Xi Xi and Xiao Jie Jie and I got a lump in my throat thinking that this was the first time he's been on a ride with a mom waving and shooting pictures and just doing the normal mom thing. Choosing an older child, we knew we'd missed many firsts, but it makes these other "firsts" so very special.
We came home for lunch, games, and a nap and then went to visit the orphanage. I was nervous and wondered if I should bring him at all. Would he be terrified, thinking we were bringing him back? Would he see Auntie and want to go back? I asked our guide to please explain to him that we were not staying, but just visiting to say good-bye and bring gifts. He nodded and we walked in. Immediately after stepping off the bus, we heard excited cries of "Xi Xi!!! Xi Xi!!!" and a nanny put her arms out and he ran to her. She asked him who we were and he proudly told her that we were his family.
She told him she loved him and that she'd miss him. Next we saw Auntie from Gotcha' Day. He gave her a very luke-warm welcome and she checked his clothing. Even though my other kids were dressed very lightly, I'd put 3 layers on his top because I wanted them to think I was a good mother. She shook her head that he didn't have enough clothes on and our guide scolded me that I need to dress him warmly.
He seems to have been a favorite there, with everyone calling his name and hugging him. We were allowed to ask questions, give gifts and see the rooms in the orphanage that they wanted to show us. The facility we saw was very clean, sterile is the word Lyle used, and modern-looking. In the baby room we oohed and ahhed over the most beautiful, precious babies. I saw the room where Xi Xi lived. It was nice, with a bookshelf, a couple of toys, a cabinet for clothes, and a cute little toddler bed. We weren't allowed to take any photos inside the orphanage, but got a few of the outside of the buildings. When it was time to go, he waved bye-byes to the nannies and Auntie told him to be a good boy and that she'd miss him.
He smiled at us, held our hands, and climbed the steps into the bus. Auntie stood outside waving until our bus turned onto the street. Xi Xi never looked back.
At the hotel, Lyle introduced him to "Smack the Stack".
I think he liked it.
We are in love with our boy.