We met Levi yesterday at the Civil Affairs building in
. And today, after the one day wait called the “harmonious period” he officially joined our family. Taiyuan, Shanxi, China
We are having some computer issues, so I hope to post pictures soon, but I can't do it just now.
Since Levi’s province is over 6 hours by train away, his entourage (consisting of himself, another boy who was being adopted by a family in our travel group, and two orphanage directors) arrived later than some of the other children being adopted from Shanxi province. There were only a few children still in the building when we were introduced to our boy.
We were instantly smitten when we saw him. He was less enthusiastic. Of all the children in the room at the time, he was the only one screaming hysterically. That continued for about 30 minutes till he was willing to take some Gerber Puffs from me. Then he liked us a little more.
We were not expecting what we saw when we met Levi. His update information indicated that he was going to be quite small and that he was not standing up alone or walking. This boy is solid! The size 12 month clothes we brought fit him great, and I am so happy to see that he is developing well. Also, he is standing just fine and can walk. He still has the new walker waddle and is fairly unsteady, but he is definitely walking.
And, the few pictures we saw of him, he was bald. But, I think I am in love with his hair.
The poor boy was utterly exhausted, hungry and thirsty after his expedition to the province capitol. To top it off, he has a cold and is very congested.
We got back to the hotel; he ate, had some formula, and went to bed. We were told he sleeps from 8PM till 7PM. And sure as clockwork, he went from active little boy to sound asleep in a matter of moments at 7:55 and woke up at 7:10.
Levi was a pretty stoic little boy last night, but before bed he managed a few smiles and giggles.
Today has been more difficult, at least for me. Levi has gotten over his initial fear of the cute red haired boy I married. Now Ben is clearly the designated favorite. You fellow adoptive parents know that this is not unusual, and I knew this was a definite possibility. But it doesn’t make it easier.
Levi has been grieving heavily today. He spent several hours crying and calling out Mama. My heart breaks knowing that I am not the Mama he is desperate and longing for. He looks around frantically calling for “Mama”.
Then he will calm down and play with me or let me cuddle him. But soon after, his little face scrunches up and he begins to wail again. At one point, he fell and bumped his head a little – not a bad bump, just enough to hurt a little. He toddled over to me for comfort. I hugged him for a moment, but then it was like he remembered that he was going to boycott me.
I can’t blame him. At this point I must seem like a counterfeit Mama. He can’t understand why he was taken out of his home and given to strangers. This is the part of adoption that sucks. Yes, adoption is a wonderful thing and obviously I am all in favor of it. But it is certainly not all happiness and rainbows and sunshine. There is real hurting involved for many people. I just wish Levi trusted me enough so I could provide real comfort during his hurting and grieving.
I keep trying to tell myself that this grieving is a good thing. It means he was attached to his foster mother and that means he knows how this whole parent-child relationship is supposed to work. I have read enough attachment books to know that this grieving is good and necessary and that it is, in fact a gift. Seeing him struggle and sad is heartbreaking, but eventually he will be ready to attach to me, too.
Tomorrow, Ben, our guide, and another one of the husbands from our travel group will make a 12 hour (travel time only) roundtrip to Levi’s hometown. Ben will see Levi’s finding place and the outside of the orphanage where he lived for a time. We did not get permission to see the inside of the orphanage, nor meet with the foster family, but I am still very happy that Ben will be able to document this much. From all my online questioning and research, I don’t know any adoptive families who have been able to arrange for a day trip to Levi’s hometown.
Since the trip is so incredibly long, and Levi isn’t feeling well, and we aren’t going to get to meet any of his caregivers, we decided that I would stay back in the hotel with Levi. I’m expecting a difficult day, but I am hoping that when Levi has just me to rely on, he will start to trust me a little more, bit by bit.
I am so excited for all of you to meet our sweet boy. When he lets down his guard a little bit, we get glimpses of the delightful, fun-loving boy that is currently weighed down with sadness.