We met Levi in a Civil Affairs building in Taiyuan, about 2:30pm on October 12.
Levi was there when we walked into a 5th story office flanked by 9-foot couches on either side and with windows as opaque as the Taiyuan skies.
His mouth was stuffed with candy that looked like jelly beans, and one fist was loaded and shoving the candy in as fast as he could put more in.
This little boy I first saw in pictures 19 months ago – there he was, expressionless and chomping, right in front of me.
I knelt down, offered him my water bottle and watched him doing serious business with the candy.
When he was nearing the end of his stash, I introduced myself. “Ni hao, Wo Mama. Mama.”
“Mama. Mama,” Levi repeated each time I said it.
I was smitten.
There were no tears for either of us. It was a stark contrast to Selah’s first sight of us. Levi was calm and attentive.
Below: Me showing Levi a picture of the Love of my Life, his wonderful Baba.
This morning, we left our hotel at 7:30 to return to the same office where we met Levi. We went back today to finalize the adoption. When we arrived, the man from his orphanage was there. He said something to Levi that made his face grow cold and he stepped back away from the man. Our guide was talking to the Official so I couldn’t ask what was said. While I was signing the adoption papers, Levi was on the couch behind me. Suddenly, I heard a child crying and realize it’s Levi. He was having to catch his breath and I thought it must all be hitting him hard to realize what’s going down in that room. Another family was there and noticed the man from Levi’s orphanage had motioned to him as if to say, Come with me. I don’t know and may never know what caused Levi to cry, whether it be him missing his friends at the orphanage, or the thought of going back. All I know is that he has not cried or shown grief with us at the hotel. Sometimes this is not a good thing when children are adopted. So to see him grieve, was actually a good thing. I know he is capable of those emotions, and we hope to foster a healthy attachment with him in the months and years ahead. We ask for and covet your prayers in this matter, as we will not get a second chance and he is already turning 9 next week.
Here are some things we’ve learned about Levi these past 24 hours:
- He is far more articulate (and intelligent) than we anticipated. He talks non-stop, and usually includes “mama” in his sentences; he is trying to communicate with me. He will also repeat anything you say in English, and it is understandable.
- He is just as small as we expected, but he weighs more than I thought he would.
- He has a HUGE personality and some SWAG! As we pass through the hotel, he’s greeting everyone with “Ni Hao” and continues to talk to me and point things out.
- When he realized there were seat belts in our group’s van, he asked me to buckle him in and would not rest until I was buckled up, too!
- He likes police officers, he pointed them out twice while we were driving as confirmed by our guide. This is great! Seth loves police officers and firemen – they have something in common already!
- He is funny! Today I was counting out Chinese Yuan to pay for the adoption at the Civil Affairs office. Levi was standing by me and said, “Mama, (something, something)” and laughed. Our guide was nearby so I asked him what Levi said. He laughed and said, “He’s asking if you can give him ten yuan.” Haha!
- He loves to play doctor; and I pray he’s not too afraid of seeing a few of them when we get back to the U.S. His white nailbeds and exercise intolerance make me wonder if he’s anemic, along with a short list of orthopedic concerns. Whatever the case, he will have good medical care and attention – and nutrition – once home.
I’m off to bed after two big days. Tomorrow’s plan: Isaac walked to a nearby Walmart this evening with an adoptive Dad to buy Levi a stroller. Our group is going to the park tomorrow to see some of the sights in Taiyuan and after an outing today, it’s clear to me that Levi will benefit greatly from the stroller. He was pretty excited about it when Isaac brought it in the hotel room. I’ll post again when I’m able.
And if you’ve made it this far – Thanks for coming along to China with us. :)