Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mazel Tov

We are leaving in eight hours and I guess it will be another night when I don't sleep, whether or not the cherub decides to scream a lot. I know that you are right when you say that part of her stress is traveling; we just have to get through one more big trip, but it's a doozy. At six a.m. we check out and by 9:30 we'll fly from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Then we have a two hour layover, followed by a 12.5 (notice we save three hours this time!) hour flight to Los Angeles. Then we have a four hour layover before our short flight to San Diego. Considering that this sort of travel is absolute hell on me, I can't imagine what it will be like with a toddler and going in already sleep deprived.

Speaking of which, I have a delicate tingling sensation all over and have for days, as if my cells were recomposing themselves to form an organism that doesn't require sleep for sustenance. I am becoming a new kind of being, a little bit each day.

Today was a very big day, but unfortunately we don't have any pictures of the event due to security reasons. Everything we brought to the consulate had to be in a Ziploc bag, and no cameras allowed. But it wasn't nearly the ordeal I'd imagined (or heard about): the whole experience took about three hours door to door. The consulate building is brand new and very swanky, and located in a part of town that looked prosperous and cosmopolitan. The inside was all gleaming chrome and blasting air conditioning. First we had to show our passports, then go through security, and then wait a while in a big room with 55 families (!) who were all taking the oath today. So also picture here 55 babies plus other children and travel companions with each couple, and you have a tiny glimpse into the seething madness of this room. We were sequestered in one area that I renamed "steerage." Well, I guess that had to do with immigration, too! After a while, we were invited to show ourselves at a window, and somehow David and I were the very first in line. A nice young woman smiled and nodded at our baby and said "thank you" and that was it. We sat down again, and everyone got out their snack food stash for some more waiting. All the babies circulated like tiny birds, seeing who would offer the tastiest morsel. I have grown very attached to little Gracie, Maggie, Lydia, Sedona, Matthew and Cole, and I will miss them when I get home. Joy I know I will see, so that's some consolation.

Suddenly David said he thought Jarrah had pooped, so we hustled her around the corner to a dank gray hallway/empty room and proceeded to pull her pants off. We were startled in the middle by the voice of a nice young man with a beard saying, "You know, we do have a changing table in the bathroom." We apologized and said we were almost done (she was only wet) and he said "I have two kids myself so I know what it's like." Next thing we know we hear someone on a microphone welcoming the crowd behind us and it was like a comedy of errors, David and I stuffing Jarrah into her pants, socks and shoes yelling "Hurry, hurry, we're going to miss the oath!" and in fact we almost did. The funniest bit was that when we bolted back into the big room and took our seats we discovered that the man on the microphone was the same one who found us with the dirty diaper. Kind of appropriate, I guess. Anyway, the oath was not quite what I imagined. We all raised our right hands together and repeated after him that we solemnly swore that the information we had provided for the consulate was true and correct to the best of our knowledge and that was it. We all cheered, of course, and there were some smooches, hugs and congratulations, but a bit anti-climactic in the ceremony department. And where was the champagne, I ask you? ;)

The rest of the day was quiet. We opted out of the trip to the Guangzhou Zoo, having just been to the Chongqing Zoo, and with a baby who can't focus on things that far away yet. We had a final trip to Blenz which was really nice. And after the oath, we ordered Danny's Bagel one last time and enjoyed it in the hallway with Paul and Mary just like the good old days in Chongqing, this time with two hungry little rapscallions keeping us on our toes blowing on noodles and shredding tiny bits of chicken.

The nicest part of today is that Jarrah is warming to me some more. I am usually allowed to walk with her, and to pick her up very briefly, and I even pushed her stroller once with only a single preliminary grunt from her before she settled down. She has been smiling, laughing, crawling and exploring up a storm, and has begun enjoying her bath again (though how do you keep the water out of their eyes? She hates that.) I was so happy when, right after the oath, she turned to me and put out her chubby little arms to be hugged or picked up. We joked that she just needed to make it official with the U.S. Government before she could acknowledge me as mama. (David, of course, is not American, so he got an early dispensation to make up for his green card headaches.)

Tonight when we were packing, Jarrah found my necklace from CCAI, the one that says we are adopting this baby and promise to love her, and she put it on! I guess she's seen us wearing them all this time and she wanted to fit in. Anyway, made me all tingly to see her in it, plus we are convinced she's a genius. ;)

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15 comments:

Martha said...

Mazel Tov, friends.

We can't wait to have you home. Please, be safe and try your best to rest up.

Give our little Miss Jarrah a kiss and yourself a big frosty marg for doing sucha bang up job.

Much love.

Anonymous said...

Sam, David, Jarrah:

WELCOME HOME!

Best, Gail

Anonymous said...

Sam & David,

I sneak peeks at your blog from work just to see where you are, how Jarrah is adjusting and whether you have gotten any sleep!

Think of you all the time and can't wait to see you.

Love Lynne.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sam and David,

It is so heartwarming to see such lovely pix and increasingly happy and relaxed posts. Every day seems to be bringing you all closer and closer together.

I just want to say how much I admire both of you -- actually, all three of you -- for your courage.

I can't WAIT to meet the little one, and hope it won't be too long before that happens. She is a real beauty, with a strong mind to match.

Love and xoxo, and wishes for safe travel,
Miss J

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Maybe Jarrah wore that necklace as a promise to love and take good care of you, too. :)

I am so happy you are coming home! I've missed you terribly.

love,
Caroline

lisa Gillespie said...

Hi Sam, David & Jarrah!

Congratulations! Your description of your consulate experience sounds so much like our own that I got a little misty! In Russia it was very similar: big room, lots of couples with small children, even a poopie diaper too (which we did not change in the bathroom either :-)). The thing I found amazing about "steerage" was that I was in a place where everyone's dream was coming true at once. It was kind of an awe-inspiring moment. Here was a room full of people all wanting, needing, and desiring children. Here was a room full of children all needing (and hopefully wanting) parents. With a few words, both dreams were fulfilled. Amazing. :-)

Have a safe journey home!

Love, Lisa, James, & Anton

Alleen said...

It warms my heart to see that Jarrah is becoming more and more accepting of you. She'll be wrapped around your finger before you know it!!

Kim said...

Congratulations! It must be a relief to have what has been official in your hearts for so long finally official with the government. Welcome home, little Jarrah.
-Kim
ps. check out www.onestepahead.com. I think it is there that they sell these watering can thingies that have one mold-able foam side that you press against the kid's head to block the water from falling in their face. cool idea.

Grace said...

Mazel Tov, indeed! Sam and David, I've so enjoyed reading your blog and Jarrah is beautiful, and, i guess WELCOME HOME TO YOUR NEW FAMILY at this point!! What a fantastic journey, and what a fantastic future awaits you.

MUCH MUCH LOVE AND BEST WISHES

Grace

Anonymous said...

You're almost home...welcome back! The trip will be tough - it was tougher on me than Ava and by the time we landed in San Diego I was a weeping basket case.

Jarrah will go through another culture shock when she arrives home. Everything will be new and strange...again. She may withdraw and become clingy to David again. Expect it. It's only temporary. It was my experience that with each move from hotel to hotel to home the tolerance level and capacity to cope lessened. Don't be surprised if it takes Jarrah a few weeks to come around. Just take it slow and don't rush into new situations and new people.

As for the shampoo issues. Take a dry adult sized wash cloth and fold it into thirds... place it on her forehead, tilt her head back and rinse her head with a large cup of warm water.

Hope your trip back home goes as smoothly as possible. I'll be thinking of you comrade.

Hugs,
Lynette

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! Hope the journey is a smooth one. BTW, how is it possible that each new picture of Jarrah is cuter than the next? Is she a magical baby? :) xxx, Lix

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, David & Jarrah -

Thanks for sharing your incredible journey. Have a safe trip home and we can't wait to see you and meet Jarrah soon!

Love, Lynda, Mark & Jillian

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to meet her!

I had a dream last night I was in China with y'all. I was thinking "how cool it is that I got to go to China...but I need to find a diet coke". Jarrah was older in my dream though.

Take care. Welcome to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Carrie

Anonymous said...

sam: when geneva was a baby, i had the tingly thing too. it felt as if my innards were trembling. i actually went to see a neurologist about it ;-) it disappeared when she began to sleep through the night, so i think your self diagnosis is correct. wishing you good travels. love, jalan

Anonymous said...

Dear Sam and David,

*Becoming* parents? Goodness gracious, you were parenting throughout the whole process of discovering Jarrah, this is just the bringing her home part. It's so wonderful to hear how things are going.

Those grueling international flights with a toddler often aren't that bad. People are typically very kind and helpful, and there's so much to see for the child, and the planes make this nice soothing hum that helps the little ones sleep (they, after all, don't have to contort their bodies to make it happen).

I'll be holding you all in the light as you travel home.

With big love,
Marlene