Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 2 - Meeting Cooper

On Monday March 21, 2016 we were finally able to meet our son Cooper. It also happened to be world Down syndrome day which was a fun coincidence. It was a pretty surreal experience but just for the record I’ll attempt to describe it. Brady and I had been anticipating this day so long we were really excited but felt unexpectedly calm and peaceful.

We enjoyed watching all of the people and crazy traffic during the taxi ride to the orphanage. There is always so much going on in this colossal city its a little hard to soak it all in. Our van pulled up to the gates outside a brightly colored building and honked. The gates opened and in we went. We walked quickly through the cool crisp smoggy air into the bright old building. All the walls were white but not bare. They were covered with pictures of groups of smiling children in brightly colored frames. It made me happy to see all of the bright colors and the pride they took in displaying the pictures of the children. Inside the meeting room they had a nice welcome sign for us up on the big screen.

We signed and fingerprinted more papers and then meet the director of the orphanage. He told us our son wasn’t there, his orphanage was actually 40 minutes away from there but they said he was on his way. We had thought we were going to his orphanage but apparently the meetings take place at the main orphanage which wasn’t where he was. The director told us that he knew our boy though, he said Cooper had participated in a dance at a recent festival they had and that now everyone knew him because he stole the show. We had only been sitting there for a few minutes when all of the sudden in walked our boy and his care taker. He was dressed up nicely in a couple layers of warm clothes and looked much older and bigger than I had expected. I bent down in front of him and he showed me his car while his nanny told him I was his mama and Brady his papa. He was sizing us up but he didn’t look afraid so I scoop him up and set him on my lap. He was anxious and willing to let me starting playing with his car with him. Brady tried to join in on the fun too but Cooper wasn’t so sure. It only took a minute of dad running the car up and down his arms and over the top of his head and Cooper thought he was okay too. We sat there and held him and played with the car while we asked questions to the nanny with the help of our wonderful translator.

Again we were happy to hear how well the staff had cared for and loved our son.

We exchanged gifts, took some pictures, and gave hugs to the caretaker and just like that she was gone. Cooper didn’t seem to mind but I saw some sadness in the caretaker’s eyes as she quickly left. The sadness was quickly gone through because as soon as she walked out another woman, the head director of all the orphanages and her assistant walked in. They were all smiles and cheerfulness. She greeted us graciously and told us what a star and a treasure our boy is. She presented us with a plate with a painting on it that represents a drop of the Haihe River which runs though and gives life to Tianjin. She said this is so he can always remember where his life started. She also presented us with a nice photo album that has all the pictures they have of Cooper in it. She wanted to open it and show us the picture of him in the dance at the festival. It’s darling! When Cooper saw the book and all the pictures of himself he got so excited! He took the book and looked at every page just pointing to himself and saying “me, me, me” in Chinese. He made sure everyone in the room saw his book and he was just eating up all of the praise and attention everyone was giving him. It was sweet to see his confidence and charisma.
Again we exchanged gifts with the orphanage directors, took pictures and said good bye. Then we were off for our 24 hour “harmonious period.” First we had to stop at the bank to exchange some money. An hour into it and Cooper was sweating to death in his double layer of clothes so we took one off and he was still just as happy as a clam.

Finally we made it back to the hotel and into our room where it was just Brady, Cooper and I. We thought at some point he might realize how different this was and get scared or sad but the crazy thing is, its not really that different. We feel like we’ve know him forever. We are amazed how much he is like Nash and we can’t stop smiling about that. We had some pizza for lunch, he took a nap, we went to the park, and on a nice walk where he pointed out everything that he thought was interesting. At bedtime he went to sleep smiling and hugging his Idaho potato. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day! We want to sincerely thank everyone for their prayers. It’s been nothing short of a miracle!


Washing away the orphanage life.

Gotta love that smile!

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