Adoption, FPD, FPD in China

One Mighty Day

All photos on this blog are courtesy of a Nikon D3100 camera that has been provided for the FullPlateFamily in exchange for photo credits and user reviews of accessories.  I have always used a Nikon camera, but never properly.  Thanks to some really great upgrades and proper instruction, my pictures are so much more crisp and I can capture my baby’s faces so much better, before they are no longer babies.  

This day began with so much anticipation.  The FullPlateKids were up at the crack of dawn and dressed in their matching #9 tees.  

They chattered over breakfast about how this was about to be the longest day EVER.  
I told them I would pick them up from school, we’d eat a quick dinner and then drive over to the airport to greet FPD and Mighty.  

At 12:00pm I got a phone call from FPD saying he could get an earlier flight and he would be landing at 2:30pm!!!  

I rushed to the middle school, then to the elementary school, put 8 very excited kids in the van and headed for the airport.  

FPD’s flight turned out to be about 25 minutes late.  So, we enjoyed an overpriced airport snack.  

Waited nervously.  

And tracked the plane as it moved across the sky.  

Then, all the sudden, the arrival board’s status update changed to…
ARRIVED.  

We readied our signs, and as we did, we drew quite a crowd.  

Who are you waiting for?  What is the occasion?  All these children are yours?  One more is coming?  They’ve never met him?!?  

As we answered all the questions, more and more people gathered, then some of the airport employees began to take notice, then some of the airline employees and flight crew from Delta joined our little troupe.  Pretty soon, we had amassed a rather large crowd, which isn’t entirely new to us.  

The kids waited patiently, wondering where FPD could be.  Other people kept funneling down the escalators, one after another.  I explained that he had Mighty and luggage to tote.  I could hear myself explaining it, but I could also feel my own hands shaking.  

Then, he appeared.  Well, they both did.  

Mighty was WAY nervous at first, but it took about until we pulled out of the airport parking ramp to warm up.  Giggles gave him one of her school notebooks and a pencil and he wowed her with his artistic abilities (he has none, his sister just thinks he’s super cute).  

We got home and he looked all around in the same wide eyed amazement that every older child who has entered this house has displayed.  All these things…they’re MINE?  
Well, kind of.  
He and his mei mei (little sister in Chinese) seem to get along quite well.  He shares REALLY nicely.  She doesn’t.  We’ll work on that.  Or, he’ll slap her one and it will work itself out.  Either way, they’ll get it.  

As Mighty and his mei mei played, souvenirs were handed out.  

An all American pizza dinner was served, a joint bath for the two tiny Chinese was enjoyed and we all tucked Mighty into his new junior bed in our room.  He was out like a light.  His mei mei went to sleep in our bed, about 10 feet from him, because she insisted on it.  About 20 minutes later, she sat up and promptly puked all over.  

Such is the life when you’ve got NINE children.

–FullPlateMom,
who lived happily ever after.  Well, AFTER she cleaned up the barf, of course.  

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FPD, FPD in China

God Bless the USA.

FullPlateDad and I have been Facetiming morning and night so he can tell me about the day’s adventures.  The days following the medical exam were low key.

Mighty’s TB test was negative.  WOOHOO!!!  That was really the only thing that could have thrown a wrench in the adoption works. Smooth sailing from here.

FPD and Mighty have been enjoying the sights of Guangzhou.  The visited the Shamian Island a couple of times, loading up on souvenirs for the crew, and for a few special people who helped us out here on the home front.

 Here’s Mighty, just chillin’ on the island next to an elephant that’s just his size.


This statue is pretty iconic when it comes to Chinese adoption.  I wanted so badly to stick Dolly into it and get her pic.  Alas, she couldn’t sit up, let alone stand.  So, I told FPD to look for it.  Look how Mighty fits right in!!!

FPD and Mighty spent a day at the Safari Park as well.  Mighty saw real pandas too, but this was pretty darn cool, and I can almost hear him giggling in this pic.

This one, not so much.  I had to include it, lest we leave you all thinking Mighty is NEVER unhappy.  The baby tiger made him VERY unhappy.

We’re pretty sure he thought he would be eaten.  FPD liked it though, what a neat experience!!!

Yesterday, was the big Consulate Appointment.  The day only day aside from adoption day that is really appointment.  Mighty wore his USA finery.

And obtained his visa to the U.S.  As soon as he lands in the U.S., he will become a citizen  Again, WOOHOO!!!


FPD and I talked for almost two hours this morning as he packed up their room and I did laundry.  Ah, the mundane.  Can’t wait until we’re back to doing that on the same side of the earth.

Almost.

FPD and Mighty are sound asleep right now, but when they wake up, they’ll lazily eat breakfast and pack up some more, pick up Mighty’s passport, visa inserted, and make the trek to the airport for the first leg of the journey HOME.

–FullPlateMom,
who thinks Mighty is in for the adventure of a lifetime.

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FPD, FPD in China

Mighty’s Medical

Mighty and FullPlateDad are settled into the hotel in Guangzhou after some amusing airport antics that you can view on Instagram (check out our link below).  

Apparently, when you fit in the luggage cart’s carry-on shelf, you can go for one heck of a ride.  Mighty enjoyed it.  From where her mama sits in America, it looked vomit-inducing.  That’s our FPD though.  The kids love him for his quasi vomit-inducing antics.  Mighty is no exception.    

Earlier today Mighty and FPD went and completed Mighty’s medical exam.  He has Dwarfism.  I find it funny that they tell FPD this, as if it is a new discovery.  They told me the same thing about Dolly.  Well, not that she has Dwarfism, just that she has a Congenital Heart Defect.  Yep, we knew it.  They couldn’t hear it though, because she screamed LOUDLY through the whole exam.  

Not Mighty.  He thought the medical office was great.  He waited nicely.  

 He sat well for the doctor.  

Then they wanted to draw blood, and they shut FPD out of the room.  In America, that’s practically illegal.  So FPD waited and worried.  He was all set to “yell” at the medical folks so that Mighty would, hopefully, understand that FPD didn’t send him in there to allow him to be hurt, scared and alone.  

No need.  Mighty came out of the room with his characteristic smile on his Mighty face and his bandaged arm held up proudly for FPD and their guide.  He told them he was “brave.”  In so many ways, Mighty.  In so many ways.

After that, FPD and Mighty ventured out guide-less again.  Guangzhou is very easy to navigate.  FPD kind of likes his independence and the chance to just ‘be’ with Mighty.  There is a wonderful subway that FPD will ride later because Mighty is obsessed with all forms of transportation.  For now, they were happy to stroll to the Trust Mart (aka Wal-Mart).  Mighty is a big eater.  They looked for fruit.  Mighty wants candy…or meat.   

No dice.  Fruit it is.  Grapefruit as big as FPD’s head and some other random items.  

Then other FPD style antics ensued.  Mighty is pretty sure FPD is WAY COOL.  

–FullPlateMom,
who is pretty sure Mighty is WAY COOL himself.  

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FPD, FPD in China

From Hangzhou to Guangzhou.

FullPlateDad and Mighty have been enjoying their last two days in Hangzhou with a lot of outdoor activities.  You see, all the sudden, Mighty has become the 3-4 year old he is supposed to be.  The shell shock of meeting FPD and having everything change has worn off a little and he is VERY active.  Not in a bad way, just in a toddler/preschooler way.  So, the hotel room is kind of a nightmare.  

FPD has had to unplug the phone, otherwise Mighty tries to call, well…all of China.  
      
They hiked six miles the other day.  All around the West Lake, into the National Tea Museum, which is actually a tea plantation as well.  

Then they went shopping for souvenirs for the FullPlateKids who currently reside in the U.S.  They went without a guide because FPD likes to get out and explore.  They had this set up going on.  
When guide-less, and looking like this, the people, they swarm.  FPD was doing his best to answer questions about Mighty.  “Yes, we are adopting him.”  “Yes, my wife is American.”  “No, she is not Chinese.”  “She is in America.”  “He is 4 years, we think.”  “No, you don’t need to thank me.”  

He just wanted some panda hats for our kids.  He ended up posing for pictures.  All over Hangzhou City, there are people with memory cards full of FPD and Mighty.  They were very kind about it, very grateful for Mighty to have the chance at a new family.  I love that about China.  

And, then, just like that Hangzhou City became a memory for FPD and Mighty as well.  Mighty’s passport is ready.  And, he seems VERY excited about it.  
Or, at least, to pose with it…on the BUS!!!!  

He’s taking his first airplane ride now.  
FPD, Mighty and the Chinese Robot.  

We’ll see how that goes.  They’re headed south, to Guangzhou, now where they’ll begin the process of making Mighty a U.S. citizen.  

–FullPlateMom,
who hopes that FPD put his patient pants on, because it could be a LONG flight.  
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FPD, FPD in China

Going Back Before Moving On.

FullPlateDad was offered the chance to visit Mighty’s orphanage today.  We had discussed the possibility of this prior to FPD going to China.  We agreed that if Mighty was grieving so badly that taking him back would be a set back emotionally, FPD would politely decline.  

Not a problem.  He loves everything.  So, it seemed like a fine idea to provide Mighty with the closure that would come with a chance to say goodbye.  So, today Mighty and FPD rode the subway to the orphanage.  

Mighty entered the place like royalty.  

He handed out treats to all his friends.  

He’s made some good buddies that he’ll miss along the way.  

He had one caregiver that he used to call mama.  When she asked him why he was calling her by her given name now, he replied “because my mama is in America now.”  

Cue FullPlateMom bawling from across the ocean.  

Not Mighty though.  He walked out without shedding a tear, and straight to lunch.  The boy can eat.  He especially enjoys chicken feet.  

Watch this video at your own risk.  

–FullPlateMom,
who is more than a little grossed out.  

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Adoption, FPD, FPD in China

Making It Official.

FullPlateDad returned to the Provincial Office today following his “harmonious period” with Mighty (which was actually very harmonious considering what Mighty has been through) and signed the paperwork that made Mighty officially a member of the FullPlateFamily.  

Prior to taking the “Adoption Oath,” FPD was chatting with Mighty in Mandarin.  The official was so impressed that she asked FPD if he wanted to take the oath in Mandarin. 

I think this look says it all.  

He’s good, but he’s not THAT good.

So, he took the oath in English.  

And then it was official, even though we’ve known it in our hearts all along.  

On the home front we’ve had some rough waters.  The honeymoon of FPD’s departure is ending and the tough transition is beginning for those who don’t transition well.  

My back hurts from standing, bending and just ‘being mom.’  If I’m going to be real here, I’ll be honest.  It’s tough.  

I did have time to celebrate a little today, by sitting down to finish this.  

This canvas has been hanging in our room for quite awhile, just waiting for a certain date to be added.  It looks good now.  

Even. Balanced. And…complete.

–FullPlateMom,
who feels like the end is just the beginning.  

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Adoption, AJ, Ally, Brady, Cam, FPD, FPD in China, FPM, Jax, Juliana, Tess

And then they were 9.

FPD has Mighty!!!  Yesterday was a long one for all of us.  FPD got up early and went for a run, enjoying the sights of the West Lake in Hangzhou.  

FPD reports that it’s gorgeous and that he can’t wait to explore the sights with Mighty.  

He ran back to the hotel to shower and get ready.  

As he was doing this, I was texting him over and over, probably fueling his anxiety.  I kept pestering him with questions like ‘Did you pack the treats I sent to give him?’ or ‘Do you have the adoption paperwork?’  Duh.  Yes.  And yes.  It’s so hard to be a world away when you’re a total control freak.  

FPD got to the Provisional Affairs Office and another family was meeting their child.  Since the officials take children from all over the province to this city for their first meeting with their parents, not all the kids were from Mighty’s orphanage.  Mighty’s orphanage staff was late.  So FPD waited.  And I texted.  Annoying the crap out of him, I’m sure.  All the sudden my cell phone chimed and this popped up.  

!!!
Then there was radio silence.  

His cell reception is spotty at best in China.  No more texting.  Y’all, I nearly died.  In the middle of the night, I was able to get the rest of the scoop via email though.  

The orphanage staff had prepared him SO well for the transition.  They had told him it would be scary, but that everyone loved him. He came with a toy robot that the Orphanage Director had given him to help make him “feel happy.”  He also had a brand new SpongeBob backpack strapped to his back.  In it was a photo album FULL of baby pictures of him.  Memories from his life in China that he can hold onto whenever he is homesick.  

I LOVE THAT.

Mighty did really well getting his fingerprints done.  
He liked the toys that FPD brought.  He put up with getting his picture taken with the Orphanage Director.  He even smiled.

Then he began to explore a little.  And, he liked the backpacks of the other boys who were meeting their parents.  In fact, he liked some of the other toys SO much that he tried to put them in his own backpack.  He did NOT appreciate it when FPD guided him gently to give the ill-gotten toy phone back to the distraught child he had just taken it from.  

We got this.  

The Stink Eye.  He’ll fit in REALLY well around here if he’s already got that down.  

Then it was time to leave the office.  Then there were tears.  Heart wrenching, soul ripping tears.  FPD picked him up and told him there would be lunch.  

And, there it was, and just like that, he was happy again.  It comes in waves with preschoolers.  We get that.  

He ate the whole lunch.  He is in no way malnourished.  His favorite food…”meat.”  But, he eats veggies very well too.  All of them.  Then he ate FPD’s fried rice.  

FPD let him.  Because while there will be portion control initiated slowly over the next few months, a full belly is important right now.  Mighty even referred to himself as a “piggie.”  That made FPD laugh.  

Then it was off to get passport photos and “family” photos done.  

I love this photo.  I knew it would be a stark contrast in size.  This proves it.  They’re quite the sight, the new baba and his tiny son.  

On the home front this morning, eight children were bribed into getting ready for school quickly by being told they could see a video of their new brother if they were super speedy.  

Y’all, I’ve never seen them get ready so fast.  With hat and gloves on, they gathered around the laptop to hear their new little brother for the first time.


And then, just like that… there were 9.

FullPlateMom,
who can’t wait for FPD and his new Tiny Chinese to hit U.S. Soil. 
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