Thursday, November 10, 2011

Matthew, Day Four

Matthew sure came out of his shell today!

After the usual breakfast this morning – where Sarah and I both branched out and tried a “Chinese dessert” as one of our meal items, which tasted exactly like raw bread dough – we SKYPEd again with Sarah's parents and our kids who were about to take baths (it sure was good to talk with them again – we miss them so!) and headed off in the van. Our guide had arranged for us to see the orphanage that Matthew was associated with – not many people are allowed to see the orphanage, so we felt privileged to do so – and we were able to see firsthand where Matthew lived (which we learned only today) the first six months of his life. The orphanage itself was well-kept with good facilities for the children and the children we saw seemed well cared for, but it was hard to see some of the kids lying in beds with IVs attached hardly moving at all. We did meet a lady who was there with one of her foster children receiving medical care who happened to be friends with Matthew's foster mother, and the lady shared that Matthew's foster mother had come to the orphanage hoping to see him every day for the past week – except for today. The director asked the lady to share with Matthew's foster mother the fact that he was being well-loved by us and we hope that will assuage some of the pain she must feel with giving up such a precious jewel of a boy.

Matthew definitely opened up at the orphanage, climbing on a basketball goal outside and wandering around, in and and through various rooms and corridors as if he knew the place (and we in fact learned he probably did know it well, as he had been taken there weekly by his foster mother for checkups and vaccines). It was when we got back in the van and were met by our guide's mother and daughter for a trip to the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan where Matthew's personality really opened up. He squirmed to be let down whenever we would hold him and take off running, his shortened arm hindering his balance as he would hurl himself pell-mell towards a staircase here or a short fence there around a pond full of exciting (to him) multicolored koi. When we climbed the tower itself he became obsessed with a bridge crossing the Yangtze river in the distance and said the Chinese word for “bridge, bridge, bridge” repeatedly as he struggled to reach for the structure despite our best efforts to explain the futility of such an attempt. He declared our guide's daughter to be his big sister and followed her everywhere, holding her hand as much as possible in a profoundly cute gesture. And he ate everything he could get his hand on.

After saying good-bye to our guide and her family we decided to eat lunch at our hotel in a “Western Restaurant”. At first glance the restaurant appeared closed, but we soon found ourselves the only patrons in quite a large room with at least four people standing around doing nothing in the middle of the lunch hour. We waited what seemed an eternity for our food which consisted of a plate of two small ham and cheese sandwiches (not bad), an extremely spicy-hot “Sicilian Pizza” and a plate of vegetables swimming in butter. After eating as much as could stomach we returned to our room and struggled to help Matthew fall asleep, as he cried for at least thirty minutes before his nap. He woke up earlier than usual, after only about an hour and a half, and has been crying for his foster mother for the past two hours. We love the fact that we're seeing his personality come out more, we're a little concerned about how we'll be able to handle his energy when we get home, and we really, really hope we can get to sleep tonight.