Friday, November 7, 2008

New families arrive

Today we went on a tour to the Great Wall of China with six families who have arrived to meet their children. They were excited and scared - I remember that combination!

It's funny to be considered someone who knows much of anything after only six days of hit-or-miss parenting choices, but I tried to share what I wish I had known last Saturday:

- Don't expect your child's development to match his chronological age. Quinn was 16 months old when we picked him up, but in many ways he's still a tiny baby. He couldn't push himself from a laying position to sitting up, couldn't pull himself up and needed us to do everything for him.

- The personality of the child you meet is not necessarily your child's personality. Quinn was so out of it when we met him, to the point that we were quite terrified. What I've learned from all of you is that these guys are going through so much change that they need something to hold onto that they can control. For Quinn, it was eye contact and reverting to bottle feeding only (we're told he ate quite well at the orphanage).

- Don't worry - at least not yet. Quinn showed so many alarming signs when we met him. A week later, they're mostly history.

- Just because your child did something in the orphanage doesn't mean he'll do it for you - at least not yet. Don't compare the child you see in person to the child you saw in his or her paperwork.

- Don't worry about those developmental milestones. I purposely decided to steer clear of the "What to Expect" books until I had Quinn home and adjusted. I'm so glad I did. To me he is a wonderful, funny, brilliant 17-month-old baby. What I don't know right now is definitely not hurting either one of us.

- Bond in whatever way your child is willing. Look for the signs and respond. Quinn is particularly open to us when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap. So we make sure our plans allow plenty of time for snuggles and hugs when he gets up.


Sara said...

Hello, just checking in before I do my prep work for my Sunday School class tomorrow....waiting until the last minute...oh well. Sounds like you are enjoying your trip and off seeing the sights. Are you close to leaving for Guangzhou pretty soon?

Your guide Leah sounds like an are so lucky/blessed to have her :-)

If you don't mind, I have an adoption "business" far as gifts...did you bring some over with you? buy while in China? or give cash to some as well. We will be traveling soon, and have started to buy some gifts. We have read that some just give cash and that is considered just fine. Did you buy for the nannies, cab driver, director of the Orphanage, your guide, etc?? We absolutely plan on doing this, but just don't know if/how we pack these gifts...
We have sent our little boy a few care packages, with various items for the nannies and his foster grandparents. Just recently, he celebrated his birthday. We used Red Thread China...awesome site and Ann is so sweet!! Anyway, we sent him a birthday care package, which included a cake... we also sent candies for the nannies, tea for the Orphanage director, and oatmeal &tea to the grandparents. To our complete surprise, we received pictures of him at his special birthday dinner/party. What a gift!! Oh did we cry!

Take Care!

Jill said...

Hi Sara, I'm not sure my answer will help you because our agency and our orphanage are different. Holt does not allow families to send gifts to kids before they pick them up - I've heard it's actually against CCAA rules - but they did suggest that we bring six gifts for the workers - fancy chocolates, nice soaps, etc. (but only light citrus and floral scents) and also a set of clothes to replace those your child comes with. Holt workers are not allowed to accept tips, so that's an issue for us.

I brought three nicely wrapped boxes of chocolates from See's (presentation is important) and three gift bags from Bath and Body Works with body wash, lotion and a pretty net sponge in a clear bag tied with a gold bow. Both traveled very well. When you present it to the orphanage director, do so with both hands. I didn't wrap the clothes; I just gave them to her.

At our orphanage (Beijing CWI) gifts that arrive for children are put aside unused and given to the families when they arrive. I've heard that some parents were upset that their gifts were shared among all the children when they intended them for their child only, so now the rule is no gifts.

Holt makes all our arrangements and we pay for everything in advance, including tips. So we didn't have to worry about our tour guides, drivers and others.

In general, taxi drivers, waiters, etc. are not tipped here. But exceptions are made for exceptional service. And considering how many waitresses take Quinn away and play with him while we eat, we are certainly tipping!

I hope that helps - sorry I don't have more info for you!

Happy packing!