Day 3: Gotcha Day!

Dear Eli

As you snooze peacefully next to me (hands perfectly folded on your chest!), I want to tell you about the day we met you-the day we became a forever family…

I now know that we’d both been preparing and dreaming for that day. You’d flipped through our picture album until some pages were so worn they might come out. Your nanny said you immediately looked at our family picture and knew-WE were your family. Someday you’ll know that people like us have to make all kinds of decisions about when and how to share about our disabilities. We have never struggled over that decision more than when we sent our introduction to you. We worried your questions wouldn’t be answered or you, like so so many adults, would he uncertain. We decided we wanted you to know everything you could about us and that if we wanted you to be proud, we had to keep practicing being proud (by the way, I’ll tell you all about a woman who put that quote in my heart someday). My heart was pounding when I mailed you our book. I sometimes laid awake at night wondering what you would think of us. How would we let you know we would keep you safe and that we have so much fun? I practiced how I would talk through your interpreter. Fear would sometimes seep in as some would ask, “but has has he seen your pictures? Does he KNOW?” Yes…you knew and from the very first moment, you knew that we could, would, and DO love you!

You walked confidently through the doors of the government affairs office this morning right up to your Baba and me all smiles! You were wearing the Ninja Turtles shirt we sent you over The Chinese New Year! After we shook hands, you giggled when we liked your hair-a mohawk! You immediately joined in play with us and the other kids at our Gotcha Day. We can see you are social, happy, and on-the-go! Despite our terrible Mandarin, you listen well (so far-heehee). When we said it was time to go, you wanted to wear your new backpack and go! You a did say goodbye to your nanny first though. She hugged you tight and when you turned to play with Baba, she began to cry. She loved you so much. I promised her we would keep you safe and take good care of you.

On the ride back to the hotel, you showed us how well you can play games on the phone. Our guide asked if you’d like a nap since you’d woken before 6 to drive from the country to meet us. You said you’d rather go to the park! It’s (literally) 105 so the park came to our room and hotel halls with balls and balloons. Your guide chatted with you about your new name and you’ve already begun to respond to it!

You are such a curious and smart boy! In our room, you found your headphones first and gestured you wanted to put them in. You did and we showed you Hannah’s music on the iPad. You chose Frozen and started belting out “Let it Go” in Mandarin! We couldn’t believe it and I can see you, like your sister and BaBa love to make people laugh.

We Video Called a few family members who were awake at home and you lived waving and telling them hello. You even told your Lao Lao Birdied congratulations after she’d told us. We walked to lunch with your NiNi and YeaYea and you share some of YeaYea’s soup AFTER you are an entire plate of dumplings! We learned we should order what you do. You picked it out from the menu yourself! You looked around taking in your first restaurant meal. You’d occasionally rattle off sentences to passing waitresses and they’d laugh-we are clueless but cracking up!

In our room, you’ve explored every nook and cranny. I’ve never seen someone more excited about new shorts and shoes. You’ve shown off your shoes in the hall and just twist your ankle in the air as you beam. We make out “thank you” in Mandarin when we’ve given you something you love. You are so sweet and what a helper! You want to hold every door and hold the elevator for Mama each time.

We did eventually take a quick nap and you were ready for more play. You love music and technology. We’ve been communicating pretty well so far. I feel a little like I’m talking to ET. EVERYTHING is new and you want to know what it is and how it works….,,the scale, flossers, balloons, and all sorts of cords. Whatever you get out, you put back neatly! You even gave me a look and hung my towel that was on the floor! You’ve got your hands full with Hannah. You asked about MeiMei within seconds of meeting us and you two finally “met” on FaceTime when she woke up. She studied you and you waved saying “Hi MeiMei!!” (again) smiling. I cannot wait for us to be together!

You took your first bath and seemed to love getting clean! Wow-those ears! I don’t know how you even heard us through that wax! We used our phone translator to explain it was time for bed and you climbed in. It was clear you’d rather play but you are such a good listener.

What a day! I will never forget this feeling Eli. We’d prepared ourselves for what we thought was anything but I don’t think I allowed myself to think it could be this amazing. I was prepared that you might attach to one of us more than the other at first but you’ve come to us both and been so loving. It feels like a dream. We are already so proud of you and love you so much. We know today wasn’t easy for you as you left everything and everyone you’ve known. You are so brave and I’ve never felt a love so courageous. Your sweet voice whispered “wo ai ni (I love you) Mama. Wo ai ni Baba” before you went to sleep. When we go home, you’ll hear people tell us how lucky you are to be adopted. Please remember we are the lucky ones!

Love you to China and back,