Olivia’s Adoption Diary

Tuesday March 14, 2006

Crow? Why yes I would love some! Please make mine well done.

  • Officially our Olivia.
  • Olivia poses lake side.
  • Making friends.
  • Ma ma and Olivia add to the scenic nature of West Lake.

There was apparently some type of miscommunication yesterday between Anna, our facilitator, and Olivia’s caregiver from the orphanage. When I bragged yesterday about her supra-natural sleep schedule, it appears I was in error. We should not have been told “she (meaning Olivia) sleeps through the night” but rather “she (meaning Olivia) doesn’t sleep through the night.” Quite a misinterpretation indeed. Although we knew something was amiss when Olivia woke up last night at 1AM — after finally falling asleep at 9 — and then did not go back to bed until 4:30 AM., finally waking up for good at 6:30 this morning.

Firstly, allow me to apologize to all of the parents of newborn children that I may have insulted yesterday with my boastful insults. Even though our daughter did take an extended nap this afternoon at 2 and a half hours long, it does not even come close to making up for the long night that she put us through. Not that she was bad or anything. She was actually very pleasant. The problem was not her attitude, it was that she was awake.

Jeez. Enough with the grumpiness already. How about some good news.

Yeah. You’re right I’m sorry. Well here you go: we officially adopted Olivia today as far as the Chinese government is concerned.

As I previously intimated, we got an early start on the day and headed up to breakfast as the doors to the restaurant opened. Olivia is starting to like this unlimited food thing. She is a pretty healthy eater and will try most things as long as they are not green. After she cleared her first plate of food this morning, I handed her a piece of watermelon from my plate which she readily devoured. Sensing that she would not be adverse to another slice or 2 I went up to the buffet to get her some more and returned just as she was sucking the last of the pink flesh off of the rind. I placed the plate with the additional fruit in front of her and she gave me a look like you would give a bank teller if you went to withdraw $20 and she gave you $100 just for the hell of it. Having a child who appreciates unlimited watermelon slices: priceless.

Oh, also saw another accident this morning. This time a guy on a scooter tried to cut perpendicular across 3 lanes of traffic and didn’t quite make it. He got clipped by a car that slowed down for approximately 1 second after the collision and than kept on his merry way. A traffic official who just happened to be there went out to inspect the damage as the rest of the traffic continued full speed around him. The guy on the scooter hopped up apparently none the worse for wear and they dragged the remains of the scooter through the moving traffic to the side of the road.

Its kind of like watching the Tour de France and Nascar on the same track if everybody was drunk. I am already looking forward to tomorrow morning.

After breakfast, the 3 of us met with Anna down in the lobby this morning around 9 to head back to the government offices where we first met Olivia yesterday so we could finish up the Chinese adoption paperwork. After a brief wait and a final, triple check to make sure all of the appropriate paperwork was in order, we were called up by the government official, handed the official adoption proclamation (Olivia and the other children who were also there for the ceremony were handed a stuffed panda bear as well in a nice touch by the provincial official) and we were done.

We had to make one more quick stop at the local police station to get the ball rolling on Olivia’s passport now that she was officially our daughter but then the rest of the day was ours.

We had a great (if not yawn-filled day) as a real family for the first time. We explored a bit of West Lake and then returned to the hotel for some bonding and family time. Olivia continues to impress us with both her good nature and strong will. She is not the least bit frustrated by the language barrier as far as we can tell, although there are definitely times when we wished we knew what she was talking about. Anna has been very helpful acting as our translator but she can’t be around all the time and Dorothy and I have to figure out how to deal with this on our own anyway.

Olivia repeats many of the words we say, and already gets the gist of such phrases as: “Do you have to go potty?”, “Do you want a cookie?”, “Please stop playing in the toilet water” and “For the love of god, will you please go to sleep.” We are also picking up some Chinese words and eventually we will probably meet halfway somewhere.

Well, that’s it for today. I’m the only one still stupid enough to be awake, and if last night is anything to go by, I’m going to need all of the sleep I can get. Tomorrow we go to Olivia’s orphanage so she can say goodbye to everyone one last time. The orphanage trip is always the most emotional, but necessary day of the adoption process. I am guessing that Olivia is going to handle it OK, but one never knows about these type of things. So, until tomorrow…

Phreaking the firewall…