It is hard to believe that across the world our son turned five on September 16th, and we missed it. I love him so much, and it hurts to think about it..he is such a Mama’s boy. I really, really miss the kids. No one said this would be easy...I'm not sure any major leap of faith comes without struggles, but we know it is all worth it. We are so thankful that our village has stepped up to celebrate with Charlie in so many ways…a grandmother who treats him like a prince, a trip to Lion Country Safari with Grandpa and Miss Suzanne, class parties, special playdates with best friends, gifts both delivered and mailed, and the gift of prayer intentions. That is more than we could ever, ever ask for.
Of course, we are focusing on all things good here, and on Charlie’s big birthday, something else BIG happened…our adoption became official in China, and Joseph is now a full-fledged Murphy! So, Charlie has just received the birthday gift of a lifetime—a brother.
We headed back to the official adoption affairs building at 9:00 Tuesday morning. It was a full house when we arrived, since most of the families had already arrived at 8:30. We were allowed to come later because our passport photos were done the day before, which, by the way, they had to take several times because Mommy was looking quite Chinese again, and they couldn’t see my eyes. Sigh.
Shortly after our paperwork process began, other families headed out, and it allowed us some alone time with the four orphanage officials from Xuanwei. We were able to ask questions about Xiao Xiao and the orphanage. We requested additional photos from his younger years. It was our chance to find out as much as we could.
We signed our names on numerous essential documents to make the adoption official, and then stamped our red-inked thumbprints on top of our signatures. We were asked why we wanted to adopt from China, and we told them all about our family, about our beautiful children back at home, and about our angel, Daniel.
When all was completed, we gathered for some pictures for Joseph to remember these people who spent the first five years of his life with him—the orphanage director, an administrative clerk, the orphanage teacher, and we’re still not sure who the other man was, but he seemed very kind. We took the opportunity to give our heartfelt (and tearful) thanks to all of them. We conveyed, through our guide, that we are grateful for the care they gave Xiao Xiao. We told them how wonderfully adjusted he seems and that it is apparent they took good care of him. I also wanted to let them know that I could understand how bittersweet it must be...joyful for them to see these children find families, yet sorrowful to miss their presence each day when they leave. At that, both of the women began to cry, too. I am not sure it is culturally commonplace to show emotions in China, but they did. I hugged them tightly and thanked them again, so did Jimmy. They wished Xiao Xiao well, and I could tell they were offering him words of encouragement. Then we walked our son out of the building, and climbed into our van.
I saw him turn his head and stare at the building. I could only wonder what he was thinking, and it broke my heart. As happy as he was to leave with a family, I know he must’ve felt some pain and confusion leaving those familiar people behind. His Chinese name, remember, means “extra brave.” And, God bless him, he was. We gave Joseph a few quiet minutes to digest it all, and then Daddy was able to divert his sadness with play and it all turned joyful again.
Back at the hotel room, we ate some lunch, took our family nap, and then took a walk through the park. Joseph loved the bubbles we brought him, and he enjoyed getting outside a bit. I can hardly wait to get him into the Florida sunshine. This boy needs some Vitamin D in a big way.