Matthew’s Adoption Diary

Wednesday September 29, 2004

Stuck with the idiot.

  • Aelex spreads the love.
  • If Mark could drive this, he would get his license tomorrow.
  • The place where Matthew used to rest his weary head.
  • Wanna ride?
  • Matthew amongst some friends.
  • Happy families in LuAn.
  • Matthew and an admirer.
  • The Congiusta Family takes a trip.
  • Matthew’s former home.
  • Resting up after an emotional day.
  • Aelex: always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
  • Aelex and Ella see the world.

Sorry folks but guess who’s back. I have finally convinced Dorothy that her son’s adoption diary deserves to be filled with more than his father’s incoherent ramblings, and she agreed, but she is not ready to post her writings just yet. She said something about not having enough time with taking care of two kids all day long. To be honest, I wasn’t listening to her at the time. I was too busy opening a beer and watching the World Badminton Finals on “ESPN Asia”. So it looks like you guys are going to have to wait a bit longer for some meaningful observations. In the meantime, here’s more drivel…

You can’t go home again. Well maybe just once.

Today we took Matthew back to visit his orphanage so we could see where he lived before we got him. This is a very emotional trip and I am going to let Dorothy fill you in on the meaningful insights to be gleaned from such a visit whenever she gets around to putting the kids down and write something. I on the other hand will be happy to give you some superficial impressions and shallow accounts of the day.

I am not going to bore you with our sleep schedule anymore, suffice to say that none of the 4 of us are on the same one. I believe that I am stuck somewhere over the Pacific around Wake Island, Aelex seems to be on European time while Matthew of course is on motherland time. As for Dorothy, lets just say that she finds sleep on a less than regular basis. I am not sure how she does it. I guess that it is something in the Mommy genes.

So we all manage to get up and have a ridiculously early breakfast and get ready for our trip to Matthew’s orphanage. At approximately around 9 A.M. on the dot C.P.T. (Chinese People Time — sometimes you are supposed to be early, sometimes you show up on time and sometimes you show up whenever you feel like, needless to say, the vagaries of this system are lost on us so we always try to be a little early) we board the bus for the hour and a half ride to the orphanage with the other 3 families who also adopted children from this institution. Surprisingly, the trip is only mildly terrifying as we rarely top out over 100 M.P.H. and only viciously swerve to avoid catastrophic accidents a handful of times. Both Aelex and Matthew are troopers on the ride, neither seeming to be bothered by either the length or the less than smooth ride.

We arrive at the orphanage and are ushered inside to see the room where our kids lived. It a tough thing to enter the orphanage and see where your child used to sleep and play and see his friends who are going to stay behind after you leave. Needless to say, talking Dorothy down off of the ledge of wanting to take the rest of these kids home is always a hard sell. Aelex obviously takes after her mother because she went around to all of the children giving them hugs and kisses, and when it was time to leave, she grabbed one little girl by the arm and refused to leave without her. The air quality in the room suddenly got very dusty because my eyes started to water with the unexplained influx of airborne particulate matter. Eventually we managed to coax a visibly disconcerted Aelex to let go and come outside with us.

Matthew seemed a little nervous about returning to his former home. He kept a firm grip on either Dorothy or I whenever we had him in our arms and did not look to be put down on the floor even once. I took this as a good sign as far as the parent/child bonding process goes and withstood the back and arm cramps you get from holding his tremendous girth without complaint. Surprisingly, there were some male workers on the orphanage property who Matthew was very happy to see. We don’t think that they were necessarily caregivers per se, but obviously Matthew knew them and was comfortable enough with them to willing go into their arms although he kept an eye on us whenever he was out of our physical contact.

We also had a meeting with the orphanage director and his staff where we were heartened to learn that the great majority of all the children that come to this orphanage are eventually placed with families. Even armed with this knowledge, it is hard to turn and leave at the end of the visit and see the children you will be leaving behind. My best guess? We will be home approximately a week before Dorothy starts talking about starting paperwork for the next adoption. Woo Hoo! Goodbye early retirement! I’ll try to talk her into adopting a 23 year old with a college degree and high paying job.

Both kids fell asleep on the bus ride home and we took turns hugging Aelex and Matthew, grateful for whatever cosmic force was responsible for bringing us together and making us a family. After we got back to the hotel, we spent the rest of the day taking walks, eating dinner and suffering through our first simultaneous child meltdown. This was even less fun than it sounds, but eventually order was restored.

Tomorrow we have a free day so we will have to find ways to entertain ourselves. We are not sure yet what we are going to do but I am sure that we will figure something out. Exploring Hefei is sure to be lung-clogging good fun. Until the next entry…

Eating soy ice cream but thinking Ben & Jerry thoughts…