I am happy to report that Zou Lie (pronounced Zow Lee-yay) is now officially Gideon Sage Lie Rowe!! We had our Gotcha Day this past Sunday January 16th and were presented with our son at 10:30 in the morning!
This whole journey has truly been a miracle! Even our guide here, George, said that it was a miracle for Gideon to be joining our family. He knows how quickly we had to do things and how very very close this was to not happening at all.
We left on our trip to China on Thurs. Jan 13th. The very first thing we hit a roadblock, and as usual the Great Almighty found a way around it for us! Our plane was supposed to take us toSeattle then , but the wing of the plane was damaged by a catering truck of all things! So they decided the plane could not fly and I immediately got on my phone to call the 1-800 number they gave us to see what our alternatives were. The Delta agent found a flight for us going to Minneapolis instead then to (!!) then to Beijing and it would arrive only two hours after originally planned. So I said YES put us on it-- my 15 year old son Evan is traveling with me while my husband holds down the fort at home. Well, we got over to the gate for that flight and wouldn't you know it, that plane is having computer trouble. They aren't going to let that one fly either! So I got on the phone to Delta again, and just as she is telling me there are no other flights out that day that are not booked solid already, the pilot comes back on saying they got it fixed and we are going! Thank God for miracle number one in this leg of the journey!then
So we got on our flight and off we went. It was a great trip really-- got to see tons of snow in Minneapolis and then hang out in Japan for a couple hours! The plane rides and landings were smooth and we even got to rest a bit.
Bummer part of this was that they of course lost our luggage because of the flight change. I had a feeling they would. So we filled out forms when we got to Beijing which took a while. Our poor guide George almost left the airport without us thinking we might have already gone to the hotel. I am so glad he didn't! But don't you know, we STILL don't have our luggage 4 days later! They told me today it is in. Manila!! My luggage is more of a world traveller than I am! Now they tell us we should be getting it early tomorrow morning. I pray that we do because one can only wear the same two shirts and two pairs of pants so many times without getting wierd looks!
So we got dropped off at the hotel by George, and luckily had the next day to rest. Evan and I ate breakfast then explored the city a little. We went to the silk market and to the Starbucks-- of course-- then headed back for a long nap in the afternoon.
The next day was Sunday, our Gotcha day, and as I said, we got to meet Gideon at 10:30 in the morning. That was miracle number two pulled off by wonderful Heidi at our agency and also the wonderful Friday China time. I am so glad because if it hadn't George said the orphanage would not have let us come get him until we had it., because when I left we still did not have TA. Through both their works it got issued late Thurs afternoon or early
Our first meeting went well. The orphanage director was very nice. He told us Gideon is a good boy. He is of average intelligence, and his favorite subject is Science. He also loves soccer and computer games. I showed him pictures of our home and family on my phone and we tried to talk a little with George's help. Gideon is a very happy boy, and told us he was really glad to be getting adopted. He was also thrilled that he had brothers and sisters waiting for him at home, and he loved looking at the pictures of his Baba waiting for him in the US. He is not a talkative boy though, probably in part because this is all new to him, but in general I think that may just be his personality. Very friendly and sweet and happy, but a boy of a few words.
He has been great with all the running around we have to do. I often wonder what is going through his mind as we drag him hither and yon and if he really knows what all is happening. We had to go to the translator's office yesterday, and the civil affairs office today. Tomorrow is a break and we get to go tour the jade factory and the Google Translateto tell him that and he seems very excited! Then the day after we go to the notary.! I used my
The journey to get everything done at the Civil Affairs office today was miracle number 3 and perhaps the happiest one of all! We have been working off copies of all our paperwork since we got here because the originals never made it to my house because of the snowstorm. SO when my husband finally did receive them, he sent them right off so we could get them here at the hotel. They were to arrive by Tuesday, tomorrow for us, at the latest. The lady at the Civil Affairs office made it very clear to George that although she could work with the copies for now, that the adoption could not be legally finalized without the originals, and they HAD to be here by Wednesday at the latest because he turns 14 on Thursday.
So knowing this, we were both very stressed and worried, hoping there would be no more mail delays to hold this up or even prevent it from happening altogether. We headed back to the hotel and George came in with me to make sure the Concierge knew that paperwork was coming for us and that it was imperative to get it to me as soon as it arrived. I also wanted to check on the status of my luggage again. Well wouldn't you know, right as we are all standing there, in walks the Fed Ex delivery man. I casually said to Evan, "Wouldn't that be great if that envelope was ours?" knowing it couldn't be because it wasn't due to arrive until tomarrow. So we are watching the man behind the counter entering info onto his computer and trying to look up who the package was for when Evan says, "Mom, that looks like your name on there." I said, "Evan, that couldn't be." and he goes, "But I think it is!" Sure enough I look closer and see my name! Well poor man, I really did practically grab it out of his hand to see it, and sure enough, it was our paperwork!! Well I let out a whoop and George and I were hi-fiving eachother and hitting the counter and laughing, and all the poor men behind the concierge desk are looking at us like we are absolutely crazy! So I explained the situation and then they understood and were offering us their congratulations. It really was amazing that it got here a day before scheduled. We were sooooo grateful! So we all set back out with paperwork in hand back to the civil affairs office to give them the original power of attorney forms. The lady was really glad to see us and told me that the hard part was now over! Now we don't have to be concerned about whether our son is actually coming home with us or not! We are so grateful!
So today we explored again, this time WalMart and the mall shopping center by it, as well as the mall beneath our hotel which is huge! We ate lunch at the mall food court and it was really delicious, then we came back to the hotel, hung around for awhile and went to dinner. Oh, and while at WalMart I had my first experience with a Chinese toilet! It went way better than planned, but I am so glad I had tissues in my pocket. There is no toilet paper in sight. Don't really know what the locals do about that one! Thewas a cool experience too. It had lots of food so we got to see everything from frozen frogs to all sorts of meats, chicken feet, whole roasted ducks with their heads on, as well as a variety of fruits, veggies, fish and baked goods. I would have loved to snap pictures in there, but didn't want to come across as a complete weirdo taking pictures in the grocery store!
So tonight I will sleep a little more peacefully, with the exception of Gideon's snoring :), knowing that my boys are both sleeping on either side in their beds. It has all been a good experience for us so far. I hate that we cannot communicate more, it makes the getting-to-know you stage that much more difficult. But hopefully with time that will change and we will be able to get to know more of his personality when he is home with our family. Soon it will probably be like he was always there, just like it is for the daughter we have adopted too.
Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers! Please keep praying that we get one of our originally requested consulate dates so we can all get home more quickly and not have to stay until February because of the Chinese New Year. That would be very long to wait and as much as we are enjoying and savoring our experiences here, I cannot wait for him to meet the rest of the family and for them to welcome him into their lives as well.