M8 day

Sunday night was a restless one for both Ian and I.  We were so very ready to finally have our son go from the flat, 2D picture version to a walking, talking, breathing part of our lives.  But this wasn't our first rodeo and therefore we knew that things weren't going to as simple as a quick hello and seamless grafting into our family.

Mercifully for us, we were to meet Nicholas at his orphanage at 7:30 am, much earlier in the day than we've met any of our other children.  And while his orphanage is relatively close to our hotel, Beijing traffic is so unpredictable that we were leaving the hotel at 6 am.  That meant our kids were rather exhausted but we got to stop "pretending to sleep" much faster.  

At 5:50 we headed downstairs and collected our boxed breakfasts (leaving before the rather amazing buffet even opened) and met Candie, our guide.  As luck would have it, traffic was extremely light and we pulled into the orphanage compound by 6:40...which meant sitting for about 30 minutes in the van waiting for the administrative assistant to come and usher us into the main building.

We were asked the "usual questions," including why we wanted to add to our family yet again.  (So, so difficult to concisely answer that question as faith doesn't translate well here).  Next came signing and fingerprinting the official documents followed by Ian asking the orphanage representative some questions about Nicholas' health, basic routine and personality.

I was videoing the interview when suddenly I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and there he was.  After all this time...he was finally standing in front of me.

At first he put up a brave front and seemed ready to walk seamlessly into our arms.  Then I suspect the reality of the moment struck him and he hesitated.  There were never full blown tears, but he stepped back for a few minutes and composed himself...even asking for a tissue to dry his eyes and blow his nose.  

I think it was the act of bravado that tore my heart even more than the tears.  That moment where he sized us up and decided that he was going to "go for it."  It was a moment of him showing strength well beyond his seven years, almost being able to see him make the decision that he'd been told a family is a good thing and that he'd "fake it until he'd make it."

anyone who knows our family well can see "the kylie" sideways look here as he's sizing up the situation
Then my brave, brave boy took a few steps forward.

No smiles yet, but he allowed Ian to pick him up for a few family pictures that the orphanage assistant requested.

And then we walked out.
More importantly, he walked out of those doors for the last time.
Oh, sure, we hope to go back one day to visit and see where he spent most of the first seven years of his life, but if and when we do, he will be just touring, not going home.

From there we stopped to take our official father/child/mother photo for the adoption decree.  The photo shop was conveniently located in a super market and the solemn look on his face gave Ian an idea.  We weren't above buying a little favor with him, so while we waited for the picture to be ready, we had Candie ask Nicholas about his favorite snacks.  In a quick minute we had purchased rice crackers, roast BBQ potato chips, Kinder eggs, chocolate biscuits and M&Ms.

We may have bought a few smiles...

Our next stop was his finding spot.  He seemed intrigued by the location.  I knelt beside him and spoke in English to him pouring out my heart to him as he looked around and listened to my voice. All I could think of was the desperate choice his birth family made there.  This is a piece of his story that is his to tell when he's older if he chooses, but I will say that it clearly was a carefully chosen place.

From there it was on to the civil affairs office to apply for our adoption decree.  Ian and I were again being interviewed on why we chose to adopt a child from China and why we were adding to our family yet again and he began to blend in with his siblings.

First a fidget spinner battle with his brothers...

...and then learning to play Temple Run and Angry Birds.

We stopped for lunch where we learned he likes pork and eggplant but not rice or noodles?  Or maybe he just wasn't hungry?  We'll have to revisit the rice/noodle thing on a day that isn't quite as monumental.

From there we came back to the hotel room to have some quiet time before dinner.  Those pics are still on the camera which got left in Mom's room for the night, so I'll have to create a post about our first afternoon as the M8 after tomorrow's sight-seeing adventure.  (Tienamen Square, the Forbidden City and a hutong tour)

Things are going amazingly well.  Not perfect mind you...he pitched a fit in the hotel lobby last night as we were deciding what we would have for dinner...but that's a story for the post about the second half of our day.  I will say though that he is sweet and snuggly and trusting and we are counting our blessings yet again.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...


Tina Chen said...

It melts my heart reading your post, and what an amazing journey for the Miller's!! Please tell DQ I miss her and her weekly sweet notes, and I want to meet the little brave boy too in person too :)

Melissa said...

I did not realize he was at BCWI, that is where Matty was. Have those same photos in the same room when he walked into us. What a brave brave boy Nicholas is, and my heart is bursting knowing all the love you will all be showing him ❤❤❤

Sharon said...

Ahhh....sweet, sweet day! Those eyes so sad but we know will soon turn into bright and happy eyes! Following the transformation and praying for the m8!

Wendy Burke said...

This is so joyful, full of love, and wonderful. We love following your story and you write beautifully. This is such a gift to share your story with such a pure spirit, grace, and testimony. I wonder if he did not want the rice of noodles because he has had lots and lots of rice and noodles, and less of the other foods that may have been more special for him. We are praying for all of you, and holding you close at heart.

Laura Coleman said...

You are making my heart smile and cry at the same time! What a cutie! I'm sure you are in love as well as your mom!

Laurie said...

YEAH!!!! I have done nothing to get ready this morning- got up and headed to the computer 1st thing!!! He is PRECIOUS!!!! I can't wait to see how things unfold over the next few days. My guess is that it will take little time for him to realize he hit the jackpot with his new family!! :)

Kimberly Ann Lanier Barnette said...

Wonderful to read! I looked at the happy smiles of your other children and compared to the scared look on Nicholas' face. I thought.... just wait buddy.... you'll get there. You are part of an amazing, loving and huge family. Kristi- thanks for sharing. So cool to think that I got to hang out with you and Ian the summer you realized maybe he's not just a friend. Look what happened because 2 people fell in love. I am encouraged by your faith and obedience in growing God's kingdom. I am enjoying the blog so keep posting. We are fostering and currently have 5 including our 3 biological children. It is a circus- I cannot imagine getting on an airplane with all of them. Props to you. Congrats on the new addition! He is precious! I cannot wait to see him in a picture with a huge Miller kid smile.