Archive for December, 2011

2nd Care Package

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

[Written March 15, 2012.]

We sent our 2nd care package to Minyu on December 31st!  All of the kids received a new book from us for Christmas this year.  (They love books, so yes, new books were a good thing.)  We’re not sure if Minyu likes reading, or if he really gets much of a chance to, but we also sent him a book.  Our kids love the Harry Potter series and the oldest two just finished them all this year.  So we thought we could try to find it for Minyu.  That way when our kids talk about Harry Potter, at least he’ll be able to participate in the conversation.

“Hā lì bō tè” or “哈利·波特” or “Harry Potter”

We were able to find the entire set of 哈利 波特 (aka Harry Potter) books in Chinese and bought them off of Taobao (a Chinese website–like a cross between Amazon and ebay??).   Yea!   So we sent the first one, The Sorcerer’s Stone, to him for Christmas (a little late).  We hope he likes it!

We also sent a letter, pictures, and some goodies.  I hope he know how much we love him and think about him!

The most amazing update of all…

Friday, December 16th, 2011

[Written December 16th, published March 4th.]

…A handwritten letter from our son! :) I received an email this afternoon from the Puyang SWI containing a scanned copy of a letter from Min Yu.  Wow!!!  It seriously made our hearts leap. :) We were so overjoyed to get a letter from him and the kids were so excited to hear from their new brother. We have been missing him since the moment we said goodbye in October, and have been puzzling over what he thought about our visit. It is so good to finally know!! The ayi told us he composed the letter the very day he received our package. (Below is an actual clip of the letter.)

In his letter he said (paraphrasing from Chinese of course), “I’m writing this during lunch break and my time is almost up.”  Which means he spent the first possible moment he had that day to write that letter.  For us! Talk about making us feel special. The ayi also said how surprised she was after reading it, and could hardly believe a young boy had written something so moving.  After reading it I had to agree.  Wow.  I can hardly think about the things he wrote without getting emotional. I had wondered and hoped he would write us back, but I never imagined a letter like this.  I expected something more…superficial? child-like?  (Think of a “tween” boy that you know. What kind of letter would he write?  What would it be about?  His favorite video games?  A cool TV show?  Favorite foods?)  Instead, I read a letter that was touching and thought-provoking, an honest look into his thoughts.

There was one other thing I did not expect; it was comforting.  I forget that on occasion we can switch roles with our children, and they can comfort us. Todd and I don’t feel we should share the entire letter because it is personal and special, and we want to respect his privacy as a child, as our child.  But I do want to share a couple of things that have provoked much thought. One of the first things he wrote was something that was music to my ears, that it was his dream to have his own father and his own mother. We can give him that!! And then there was the line that brought so much comfort to me.  I have been so worried about the long wait, not because I’m terribly impatient, but because I really despise making my child wait!  At 12 years old, I’m sure he is quite aware of the passing days and weeks and months. I have worried that he might wonder what was taking so long, why we hadn’t come yet.  Or that he might begin wondering if we would ever come, or if we’d changed our minds.  (Before I quote him, I will tell you that this is a fairly accurate translation, and it sounds as sophisticated in Chinese as it does in English.)  About the wait he said, ”I know you must go through the effort of the adoption process procedures, but please rest assured that I will patiently wait.”  Reading those words brought such relief!  He understands about the wait.  And if he can wait patiently, then so can I. :) I told him in our first letter that we would write him every month until we came.  He replied that it was okay if we didn’t have time to write each month because he knows we’re very busy taking care of the family.  He sounds so selfless to me.

And the last thing I want to share is his feelings about being adopted.  He said his “heart was so excited” when he found out he had a family, and that it was our family specifically. Yea!!! It would be so rosy to leave it at that, but he continued. “Although I am happy that I will soon have my own family, because of the life I’ve had here for many years and the care and upbringing of my ayis, I am also reluctant.  I am happy that I had a relationship with them for 6 years, and I will treasure the next 6 months I have here.” Wow. I am so glad to have a glimpse of his feelings in all this. I am incredibly grateful that he feels safe enough to share this with us already! Yes, he wants a family. Yes, his “heart was excited” to find out he had one. But he realizes that adoption means he will leave–permanently–the “family” he has had for half his life. I think sometimes as adoptive parents we forget that our children have a real life before they come to us.  (Guilty.) Even if it’s not an ideal, traditional family, it’s what they have and know.  And sometimes (though not always) it’s what they even love. It’s at least familiar and known.  There is loss and grief in adoption. Pre-adoptive parents are taught this, but sometimes I think we forget when we’re waiting. And when most children come home, they’re too young to express this in words. I think this is why it was so different hearing this from Minyu. He is old enough, and comfortable enough, to tell us.

First Care Package!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

[Written December 7th.  Published December 27th.]

Care packages!!!  Sending a care package is so much more than a box of goodies.  In China adoptions, a care package is about the only way of saying, “We love you!” and “We haven’t forgotten about you!”  Especially since our son is older and understands what is going on, I will be sending a monthly care package until we bring him home.

I began preparing a care package a few days after receiving our pre-approval from China.  The kids made artwork, I began writing a letter, we chose pictures to send and picked out some tasty treats from the store.  And then I let everything SIT for a whole 2 weeks.  Sort of.  I had to prioritize.  I could use my spare time on adoption paperwork and hopefully bring Min Yu home a bit sooner, or I could spend my time finishing up our first care package.  I chose the former.

In the U.S. I probably could have done both, but I’m still figuring things out here in China.  Things like how and where to print photos, where to get a box, and how to mail things at the post office.  There was one thing that was much easier this time around–finding someone to translate the letter to Chinese!  Yea!

Well, I’m happy to report that I figured it all out!  First, I put everything in a bag since I didn’t have a box.  Then I gave it to Todd and said, “Could you please mail this today at work?”  Ta da!  (Yeah, I passed the buck.  What would YOU do if you didn’t speak Chinese?!)  But to my credit, I did get the photos all printed!  Really!  There’s a convenient little shop, a 3-minute walk from my front door.  3 minutes!  THAT’S convenient.  They print photos in 24 hours.  So I gave them all my pics and picked them up the next day.

Okay, funny little tangent about my “convenient” little photo place.  A couple days ago I gave them a 4×6 picture (6 little passport photos on one photo) to print, and they charged me 10RMB for the 4×6, instead of 1 RMB.  I was able to communicate what I wanted, but my Chinese was not sufficient to ask them why it cost so much.  (Well, actually I can ask them why it costs so much; it’s their response that I wouldn’t be able to understand.)  So I sent Todd to pick up the finished pictures so he could ask about the huge price difference.  Long story short, the lady got really defensive and then got downright ugly, so Todd told them we’d take our business elsewhere.  He got his money back and left without the pictures.  So…it looks like I’ll have to find another “convenient” photo place that’s only 3 minutes away.  Ha.  Yeah right.  The one part of the care package process I thought I had figured out.  Back to the drawing board.

Anyway, what I’ve been trying to say for the last 5 paragraphs is…We FINALLY sent our first care package to Min Yu!  I wanted to send it by mid-November, but we didn’t finally send it until today.  It contained a letter, pictures of our family (including the ones we took when we were with him), and some snacks to eat or share with friends. I kept it small, knowing that we’ll be sending him Christmas presents soon. :)

I won’t include the letter itself, but let me say, it was hard to write!  I had a bit of experience writing these letters from our first adoption, so it wasn’t as hard as the first time.  There are a thousand things you want to tell them and ask them, and then you remember that you’re writing a child you don’t even know.  And what can you actually include?  And if it’s more than a few paragraphs, will they even want to read to the end, or will it be boring to them?  Anyway, my method for writing letters to my waiting children includes laying out a spreadsheet of every topic I feel needs to be discussed, divided up over the number of months until they come home.

Here’s what I included in the November (but sent in December) letter.

  • We are his new family and are all so happy that he will be our son.
  • We explained how LONG the adoption process is, and that he will probably come home in the summer.
  • We promised to write him each month until he comes home.
  • We asked him to tell us about himself.

The one thing I forgot was to take a picture before sending the package.  Doh!  I’ll try to remember next time.  Instead I can include a few of the pictures we sent to him.  We sent some of the pictures from our time together in Puyang.  And I also included some pictures of our family that are in our dossier.