Monday, May 27, 2013

China Day Fourteen - We Get ZiXuan and Everyone is Smitten

Bill woke me at 5am to exercise with him in the fancy workout room.   Then he took me running along a local river.  It would have been glorious.  The weather was balmy, the city was just waking up so the traffic was minimal and the landscaping along the river was gorgeous, but oh the smell….it was like running along a steaming sewer.  --In fact, I was running along a steaming sewer.  It was horrible. 

I got back to the room in time to see Reilly (my 12 year old) taking QingBei to the potty.  Reilly had carried her to the bathroom and was about to take her pants down when I told her that QingBei needs to walk on her own and get her own pants down.  She is nearly four years old.  So, Reilly pointed to her underwear and told her to take them down herself.  QingBei knew exactly what Reilly was asking, but she was so mad about it that she threw a fit, took up her dress and peed on the floor.  Normally, I would send Reilly out of the room and take care of this myself, but considering our bonding issues, I had Reilly tell her, “No!’ and Reilly make QingBei clean up the pee and tell her to get undressed.  There was pee all over her clothes and shoes.  QingBei still wouldn’t undress herself, so I told Reilly to count to three and then we both left the room.  When we came back a minute later, QingBei had undressed herself.  So, we cleaned her up and changed her clothes and hoped this was a one-time test. 

Before we went down to breakfast, I checked at the front desk about the $25 breakfasts.  They said we have no extra charges to our room and that the travel agent was paying for the breakfast.   In other words, somewhere in the depths of the travel fees we sent to our adoption agency last month there were six family breakfasts per day at $25 each. …Nice.  On the first morning, I filled up my plate with every odd, unknown breakfast food item on the buffet.  At the end of my taste testing, I told the kids the reason that most of these unusual food items are not found in America is this:  They taste bad.  Don’t get me wrong, most of the stuff was awesome, but some of it was remarkably bad.  

We spent the rest of the meal discussing a standard problem that we have here—how much per dare?  For example, my eldest son, who tends to bargain rather high,  offered to eat the steamed chicken feet (one whole foot of our choosing, excluding the bones) for $50, and wanted $25 for the pickled fish heads (one whole head, excluding bones but including the eyes and brain, if we can find it).  I felt that was too high and countered with $15 for the chicken foot and $10 for the fish heads, plus a possible $10 bonus if they can do it without grimacing.  By the end of the week, Bill and I hope to have a completed price list.  This morning, I plan to hit the juice bar and sample the “Bitter #$%&# Root Juice” and see what it’s worth exactly.  You just can’t just let such golden opportunities to torment your children go to waste. 

About 10 am, we met another couple from West Virginia who are here to adopt a little boy and we all went to the bank to exchange our dollars for yuan.  China does not sell children, of course, but there is a $5,500 “donation” that we give to the orphanage per child.  …more on this later.

We got back to the hotel about 11:30 for lunch and nap time and after nap, we had our second pee incident.  The same exact thing happened.  Reilly told QingBei to pull her own pants down and instead, QingBei lifted up her dress and peed on the floor.  We told her “No!” again, made her clean up the pee again, made her take off her own clothes again (had to count to three and leave the room again) but this time, since she had gotten it all over, we put her in the shower and used the hand held shower nozzle to spray her down with warm water.   My hope was that this might be traumatic enough to nip this little nugget in the bud.

At 3:00, we met the group to get our children.  We drove to a local Senior Citizen’s Center.  As we walked into the lobby, we could see all the children at a small table to the left of the door, but we couldn’t go near them.  We had to wait 20 torturous minutes for the local officials to come witness the “ceremony”  (I asked our interpreter why any reasonable woman would want to witness five terrorized, screaming infants get passed into the arms of perfect strangers, but he couldn’t explain this.)   When they arrived, they lugged the five Chinese children and five foreign families into a small room to do the baby transfer.  Again, I can’t think of any way the Chinese could make this harder on everyone involved.  All the kids were screaming.  Two kindhearted Chinese women tried three times to pass ZiXuan off to me and of course, she was terrified.  I kept telling them, “No, wait,” in my best Chinese but they kept trying to give her to me.  I could see this was not going to end well and the room was deafening so in a fit of angst, I scooped her up and walked out of the room and into the hallway.  They told me that ZiXuan had a cold and I could tell she was feverish.  She cried for about 30 seconds, then she looked at me and saw that I was also crying (it’s impossible not to be heartbroken for these kids, good grief) and she stopped.  So, we walked around the inside of the building and she listened carefully while I explained to her all the flaws in the Chinese adoption system until our interpreter found us and said it was time to go. 

That was pretty much our day.  Back at the hotel, ZiXuan wouldn’t let me put her down (we adopted the Yang and then the Yin of bonding babies).  This was unfortunate, because all the kids were dying to be near her.  QingBei was so excited, she could hardly sit still.  She kept running over to us and trying to give ZiXuan things.  It was really cute.  QingBei also went into the bathroom, took down her own underwear without being told, and asked nicely to be put on the potty.  It was an all-out banner day!
Bill finally took the kids to the local mall (while I rocked ZiXuan) and came back with take-out Pizza.  She was especially afraid of the boys, so Bill took them to a movie (Oblivion, with Chinese subtitles) hoping ZiXuan could relax. --It worked.  The girls and I fell asleep.  She is used to a family bed, so it was nice and cozy.   As I said, she has a slight fever, and I don’t want to scare her by taking her picture, but goodness, she is scrumptious.  Here is a picture of her sleeping, after I was finally able to slide out.


Sometimes when I look at her, I just want to weep for the people of China. Can you imagine giving that little one away? And her mother--she will miss so much! All for a paltry $5,500 to a government that no longer even needs the money. The entire country is selling their birthright for a pathetic bowl of porridge. They have No Idea what they are giving away.  ...But I do.
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;

...and in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful...
Lullaby, W.H. Auden

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