There is something bittersweet about leaving your child's province. Hard to put into words, but you feel a little like you are leaving something behind. I guess we are. We leave behind an unknown past of a precious child for a fresh start in this world, but somehow it feels slightly sad to leave his birthplace, nonetheless. Luckily, that feeling quickly goes away when you get to the airport.
Yesterday's plane ride was great. First of all, China Southern airline is awesome. This was an Airbus 330 that had so much legroom it was amazing, and we were only in the economy seats. The bathrooms were huge, unlike the cattle stalls we're used to. They served a meal, even for a 2 1/2 hour flight, which was a blessing for the kids especially. We didn't expect that. If we only had such luck on our 15 hour flight! Jimmy held Charlie, and he was so relaxed that he fell asleep. When he wasn't sleeping, he was playing with Daddy. Jimmy has been doing a lot of what I guess I could call "trusting games", like dipping Charlie backwards and bringing him back up again. He also did some peek-a-boo with Charlie's blanket over his head.
Walking into the White Swan last night brought many emotions that I didn't expect. Memories of Daniel last year came flooding back. Shortly after we walked into the reception area, the pianist in the lobby started playing Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" song about the loss of his son. I swallowed hard as Madi took my hand and dragged me around to see fountains and jade works of art. Having Madi with me was a great distraction, because I was able to show her where the red couch pictures are taken, and where the famous breakfast buffet will be every morning, and where we took the group photo with her when she was just one year old. It is really nice to be able to share these things with Madi. I think she'll appreciate her baby pictures at the White Swan even more having been here now.
All smiles this morning from Guangzhou. I have to say that there is something so relaxing about this hotel. You feel a real sense of security, a sense of home. I love the way adoption journeys are staged. For one week, Charlie got to bond with us among a sea of Asian faces. At the White Swan, he will see Asian faces but he will also see families like ours too. By the time we get home, he will be used to seeing more and more American faces.
When Charlie woke up around 7:00 a.m. this morning and saw me peering into his crib, I got a nice big grin. He reaches out his little hand to each of us now--an exchange of trust to make sure he'll get a hand back. He always does. He's really starting to get it. And he's beginning to know his name is Charlie...