Friday, December 18, 2015

Airport Arrivals Is the Happiest Place On Earth!

I beat the sun to the airport yesterday and flew to LAX. There, I met the GWCA coordinator (the hosting agency, which is also an adoption agency) and other host families. Twenty-three children are participating in the Chinese Winter Hosting Program. Seventeen of those children were coming into LAX (7 met their host families there, 10 others had connecting flights to Chicago and Nashville).

Three women brought 17 children from China.  One of those kids was in a wheelchair, two of the kids have significant visual impairments. The youngest was 5 and the oldest was 12 or 13.  Not one of those kids had ever been on a plane before. Talk about a labor of love and these chaperones are volunteers!!

GWCA asked each host family to make a poster with our host child’s picture on it and to wear red, so there was a little group of us all decked out in red and toting posters. We stood in arrivals and waited for the kids. The kids were also wearing red GWCA shirts, so we were all looking down the tunnel, trying to see red. At one point, the coordinator said she’d spotted them. Cameras were poised, posters were waving, we all held our breaths and out walked a little girl in a red shirt … holding her mother’s hand. We almost boo’ed.

Then, finally, there was a sea of red coming out of the tunnel. I knew what Mr. Scientist looked like but as the kids approached and the adults swarmed them, I couldn’t find him. Finally, I realized a short little guy was the guy I was looking for. I walked over to him and he greeted me in English and shook my hand. He was just as pleased as punch to see his picture on the poster. We had a few minutes to speak to the translator and get a few pictures, then he and I were off.

We went back to the domestic terminal where, while looking at a book together, I discovered he knows several words of English (some colors, numbers and fruits).  I used Google Translate to ask him his favorite food, and he told me “hamburgers.” (I texted this right off to Matt, who asked me Chinese hamburgers or American hamburgers. Matt learned there is a difference the hard way.)

Mr. Scientist is a super sweet little guy. He held my hand through the airport and wheeled his own suitcase. Someone (his foster parents I assume because not all the kids had suitcases), outfitted him for this grand occasion. He had snacks in his suitcase, a water bottle, Chinese tea for Matt and me and a toothbrush still in the package and a new tube of toothpaste. The only clothes he has are the ones he’s wearing (although he’s well layered and has a parka fit for an Antarctic expedition) and someone bought him a brand new pair of yellow kicks.

Although it’s too early to have seen his full personality, we do know that he’s polite, well-mannered and tidy. It’s pretty clear that he’s been well-cared. He’s curious and was especially fascinated by the dishwasher, which he called a “robot.” We’re able to communicate pretty well, but when we asked him at dinner if he was full, the i-Translate response back was “It’s a lucky day.” We’re not sure if that’s what he actually said or if something was lost in translation. We’re meeting up with a Chinese speaker today, and we’ll get a few kinks ironed out.

When we pulled into the garage tonight, my three excited kids were out there waiting for Mr. Scientist.  So far, everyone has gotten along really well (although we are MUCH louder than he is). I sense much fun in our future.

(I know there are questions about Mr. Scientist and about how to host, I’ll answer all of these over the next few days.  If you have a specific question, please let me know. In the meantime, to learn more about Mr. Scientist or orphan hosting, contact GWCA.)

1 comment:

  1. Exciting times! The adventure begins. Can't wait to meet him. Xoxo.