making things official

In person, Nicholas has only been with us two days.  But we told our kids on Mother's Day last year that they were going to have a new little brother and I just looked back to see that date...May 8.  So maybe since they had a year to prepare themselves it has helped them open their hearts to the idea of loving one more sibling.  Daniel especially feels protective and wants to make sure that Nicholas isn't scared at night so he's declared himself the one to share a bed with him.

Nicholas doesn't seem to mind one bit...

And then Wednesday morning I came out of the bathroom from getting dressed and found this heartwarming sight.  My three boys snug as bugs in a rug...  (I'm pretty sure the girls would have joined in, but they are next door in the room with Mom).

The first major crack in his "I'm going to run with this new life" exterior came before breakfast.  He wanted to play on my phone and we were running out of time to get downstairs.  I told him no, he asked again and when he got the second no he lost it.  Some of the cry was over not getting what he wanted, but Ian and I both suspect that most of the cry was release of all that has changed.  He wasn't so happy with me, but did allow Ian to hold him as he cried.  Eventually he worked through the moment and returned to his impish little self, though experience tells me it won't be the last time we see grief working its way out.

We managed to navigate the breakfast buffet a bit easier and found several things Nicholas was interested in eating.  Extensive buffets are both a blessing and a curse when you have a new child...wonderful so you can figure out exactly what it is they like to eat and difficult because it sets up an expectation for when you return home.  At any rate, it seems if we have yogurt we'll be set...the kid ate three along with several other selections.

From there it was back to the civil affairs office to review our adoption decree information and give our signature and fingerprint one more time.

We walked out of that office with the adoption decree in hand...he is officially an M kid now!

While we were waiting for the decree to be printed Nicholas discovered the balloons we had tucked into his bag.  He has the sweetest temperament and readily shared with his siblings.  Amazing how a $1 bag of balloons can entertain kids for the LONGEST time.

So, his size.  There's not a bit to him.  The athletic shorts he's wearing in this picture are a size 4 and the waistband has been rolled down and he still tugged at them all day.  I haven't put him on a scale yet but I'd say the report of 36 pounds is probably accurate.  Surprising though how much my triceps are screaming from carrying him essentially all day Tuesday on our sight seeing adventures.  While he's easy to carry out in front because he'll wrap his legs around and put his arms over my shoulders, he hasn't quite figured out the "hip carry" yet and leans out too far.  He's strong though and we'll take that.  So far his oxygen saturation has been steady (lower than the average person, but steady) and we've not seen any true cyanotic moments though you can feel that little heart beating rapidly after he walks a bit and then he turns and reaches up to be carried.  We look forward to his first cardio appointment about a week after we get home.

This is our first trip to China in which I've just stuffed suitcases and let the kids decide what they wear when.  (when they were younger I'd dress them in theme colors to make it easier to keep up with them...).  While each of us have our Hokie wear packed, three of the kids chose to represent on the same day.

From civil affairs we went to the notary to apply for and receive birth certificates, abandonment certificates and adoption registration certificates and then on to the police station to apply for his passport.  There was something significant in watching my seven year old son sign his name on his passport application, effectively recording his desire to move ahead with this new life.  We have pictures of him doing so, but they are on Ian's phone and we forgot to bring a cable to upload those pics to my laptop...that will have to be an add on when we return stateside.

Then we came back to the hotel and had some chill time.  The kids watched cartoons, played balloon volleyball, colored, did puzzles and of course, listened to music.

This little duo right here?  I can already sense them plotting against me.

I doomed.  In the most wonderful way...

It was a good afternoon until the phone was requested again and refused.  Meltdown two complete with tears, hitting and emphatic denials of us liking him ensued.

When diner time rolled around we decided we didn't have enough left in the tank to go through the effort and time for a sit down dinner.  We basically tossed a coin (took a kid poll) among our Western fast food options and ended up visiting the golden arches.  It was clearly not Nicholas' first time to dine at MeDongLao (they translate it phonetically) and he animatedly let us know he wanted a burger, fries, Sprite and LOTS of ketchup.

As we began to walk back, Ian decided that overall the kids had shown amazing behavior on a long day of paperwork chasing in government buildings after a week of being in a foreign place, so we stopped at the ice cream window outside of the McDonalds for a cone.  This bought some points with the entire crew, including our new addition.  He watched Daniel throw his arms around me and lean his head back for a quick kiss and then decided imitate what he saw.  He reached up for my hand, offered me a taste of his ice cream.  When I smiled and told him in Mandarin that I liked him, he beamed and then gave me a quick kiss.

We've got a little way to go as we learn the dance of mother/son together, but I think we're going to be just fine...

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