We are so thrilled to be back in our comfortable, familiar home. It's not exactly familiar or comfortable yet for XiXi, but he does at least find it interesting. When he hasn't been running away from the dogs, he's been exploring.
Before I go on, I need to send a sincere thank you to my dear friend, Jen, who posted to our blog for me everyday while we were in China. I actually wasn't able to see our blog (Blogger is blocked in China), so it was so fun today to look back over all that we've experienced in the past two weeks. It's unfortunate that my laptop wasn't working during the last half of our trip because I had some great photos to share but the computer at the business center was taking too long to upload.
So, I'll start with yesterday. Again, it was a day of highs and lows. XiXi had a long period of sadness and I finally took him downstairs to our guide's hotel room. I wanted her to ask him if he was feeling sick. She knelt down and asked him a series of questions, all of which he responded to with head shakes. No, he wasn't sick, he wasn't tired, he wasn't even hungry. Then she asked him a question that made him pause for a long time and his eyes overflowed with tears. I asked her what it was that she'd asked him. She told me that she'd asked him if he was missing home. Then, my eyes filled with tears. Our guide scolded me that I should not cry in front of him because he has a tender heart and will worry. Then she told XiXi that my tummy was hurting and that's why I looked like I was going to cry. As much as I'd like to believe that adoption is all rainbows and butterflies, I know that it's not. He felt love in the orphanage and he certainly felt love in the foster village. Those places were home to him, temporary homes, but homes still the same. I can't expect him to not miss all that he's leaving behind.
We said goodbye to "Ayi" Rebecca at the airport. She's been doing adoptions for something like 14 years and she's like the Baby Whisperer. It was so wonderful having her with us: translating, soothing, and filling in the communication gaps. XiXi loved her. I wanted to bring her with us, even if it was only for the 18 hours of travel that lay ahead of us.
On our flight from Guangzhou to Beijing, our seats were all in different rows. I just put XiXi next to me, hoping that maybe it wasn't a full flight and that we'd be fine. An older man walked down the aisle, saw XiXi in his seat, and had some words with the flight attendant. She told me that the man would not go to another seat and that he wanted XiXi to move. I explained that I had to sit with him and she said, "You will be close enough; it will be fine." I told her that three rows back was not acceptable, that he was newly adopted and that he was very attached to me and would scream the entire flight if I didn't sit next to him. The man just crossed his arms and jutted out his chin and exchanged some heated words with the stewardess once again, evidently saying that he would not give up his seat. Looking back on it, what I should have done was said, "Fine. Take your precious seat and I'll put my three year-old son next to you. Enjoy your flight." We'd had a 4:30 AM wake-up call and I was not about to be trifled with. Finally, two men who were seated on Rose's row (and she was feeling teary too, not necessarily wanting to be squished between these two strangers), said that they'd move to wherever they needed to so that the three of us could sit together. I gave them both very sincere "Xie Xie Ni's" and may have given a not-so-nice glance to the man who shoved past us to get to his seat.
XiXi did great on that flight, fantastic during the 5 hours at the Beijing airport, and amazingly well on the 10+ hour flight home. He complained of a sore tummy a couple of times and pointed to his ears, saying that they hurt. We're doing a much better job lately of communicating without words. It was interesting in the Beijing airport, because several people were interested in why were with this Chinese boy and wanted to talk to him. He generally acknowledged them with nods or shakes of the head, but he wouldn't really respond to their questions. One woman even asked me if he knew how to talk. I've already seen a steady decrease in his language just since we met him. Well, that's not entirely true. He goes back and forth. The other day I was with him at the koi pond outside of our hotel and asked him in Mandarin if he could say the word "fish". He said back in Mandarin, "No, I don't want to say "fish". I want to say "yu"." But overall, I hear him speaking less and less in Mandarin both to us (probably because he knows that we can understand so little) and to other people around him. It's sad, but expected. He's said full sentences in English (mostly just mimicking), but some with meaning. He told Rose yesterday, "You're too funny," and I had to literally ask who said that. It sounded so perfect, without even a hint of an accent, that I didn't think it could possibly be XiXi. Rose had just said that to him, so he was copying her, but he's said it several more times and in the right context. Also on the plane he repeated many times, "Going to see Baba! Going to see Baba!" Again, he'd heard us say it, but he seemed to know what it meant.
We got to the U.S. and then went through immigration. "Welcome to the United States," the man said to XiXi. "Nihao!" said XiXi. Then the man said goodbye to him in Mandarin and XiXi said goodbye back to him in English. I haven't really done any formal "teaching" with him, but I can tell he'll learn very, very quickly.
Lyle was very busy while we've been gone. He wanted to surprise us with some finished projects and has admitted that he hasn't slept much. I'll post photos tomorrow. For now, I'm off to sleep, hopefully for the whole night. We're praying for the same for our other travelers, especially XiXi. He's a wonderful boy, a boy who is certainly going through a very trying time, but his resilient spirit shines through. We're so thankful to have him in our family.