Today was a great day! We decided not to go to the Oriental Pearl Tower, as the kids were wiped out and sick of being stuck in traffic. After our awesome night out on Nanjing Road, Tom and I were wiped out as well. We slept in, ate a late breakfast and lounged around the room for a few hours. We have not shopped at all for any souvenirs.....that is how pooped I am. Last time I was in Shanghai, I spent a fortune (well I guess I did this time too....different reasons). It was nice to eat at local restaurants, even though we did not know much of what we ordered. Seriously......10 bucks for a family of 5 to eat/drink. It was great. So...Henry...he is amazing. There was a little note from his foster mom that he had given me when we first met. I had our facilitator translate what she could for me. Basically, she told us what a caring and kind kid he is. When he was 5, she broke her ankle and Henry went to the hospital and stayed with her each day to feed and take care of her, never leaving her side. She told us how kind he is to old people and to everyone in the village. She felt very guilty because his Mandarin is not good (he speaks Shanghaiese) and hoped that we would be patient with him in his studies and never hit or yell at him....well I was just crying at this point. She also requested that we allow him to call home during Spring Festival each year, as this is very important fort families (of course we will). What many of you do not know is that I have been in touch with her for over a month now...before we even came to China. I was determined to find her and did. I had to keep it quiet. However, Henry is legally ours now so I feel OK to share. She is an elderly woman who loved and loves him very much. Henry is who he is because of her. When we return home, we are going to send her a letter and gift. We feel like she is the one who saved his life.
At dinner tonight, we saw much of what the letter spoke of concerning Henry and his thinking of others. He knew Tom was trying to order rice (especially after last night's debacle, Henry was on high alert as far as his BaBa ordering food) so he interrupted and ordered for us. He then ran over and told the waitress we needed chopsticks, bowls and Sprites. He handed out all of these things to us and made sure we were taken care of before he began to eat. We then wandered over to a movie store and managed to buy a ton more movies to bring home. Henry told the guy who owned the store the movies he liked, so we bought some for him to help ease his transition once he is immersed in English. He speaks the local dialect very well and Guangzhou might be a challenge for him. He is learning English very fast....he loves answering us in English...We try Mandarin with him, but much of what we say, we don't say correctly and he just repeats it thinking it is English. We are trying to bridge the communication gap as best we can but it has really gone very well. He laughs and plays and has a kind heart. He LOVES Tom to pieces...it is so cool to watch.
The kids are all snuggled down watching Tom and Jerry cartoons.
After translating the letter from his foster mom, Ming Ming explained to Henry that we would be getting on a plane tomorrow to go to GZ then onto Hong Kong before going to the United States. He started talking rapidly to her and I only caught the words, mama, baba, gege and jiejie (brother/sister) I thought he was talking about the foster family and started to panic a little (for him) but it turns out he was very worried that we all would be separated and he would not be with us anymore. She assured him that we all would be traveling together and that we will not be separated from him or leave him. Ever.
After that, it was OK for us to pack our bags. We made sure to pack all of the food his foster family sent (and the food our guide from BJ sent for him) along with all of the mementos we received that are really like small pieces to the last 8 years of his life. We feel so blessed that we have contact information for his foster family and he will forever have that. We also found out that one of the ayi's at the orphanage is related to the foster family. Unlike Leah, he has a strong connection to China that is tangible. That is very good. The first day was tough but it is getting better and better. I am amazed and relieved. Tom and I are just stunned that we somehow ended up with such a wonderful gaggle of kids....biological, adopted, step...it is pretty amazing. The next post will be from Guangzhou. Thanks to you all for your support!!!!