Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Colin is officially a Rylands!

Well, to say we are worn out would be a bit of an understatement, but we are a very happy family. We started the day with the breakfast buffet at the hotel and saw what a healthy appetite our son has!  It made Tom smile.  Then, we headed out with our guide to the Civil Affairs office to finalize our adoption.  It was a very long process-- not because there were issues on our end, but because there were  three other families (spanish speaking) who were there to adopt small ones from Colin's orphanage.  Apparently they were having some issues and it caused all of us delays.

Dad signing paperwork
Mom signing paperwork

Fingerprint next to every signature- we left with RED thumbs!

                           But, in the end, we have a very nice offical certificate of adoption! 

After leaving there, we went straight to the Bureau of Public Safety--- you guessed it---the Police Station!  (When Colin heard that we were going there, his ears perked right up!  I don't blame him after all he's been through).  This is where the passport photos were taken and passports fees were paid.
Thanks to a very persistent Orphanage teacher, we were served right away and did not have to wait in the long lines there.

A picture of a picture taking!

Then, on to lunch...  I wish I had remembered to take a photo of the outside where the name was.  We had a great meal that the guide helped us order. Fried sweet & sour pork (crunchy), seasoned green beans (Spicy & SO good!), dumplings dipped in soy sauce w/ garlic and white rice.

Enjoying lunch- on right- our driver

We ate very well for lunch, so dinner was KFC in the room! LOL  The funniest thing about the lunch experience was all the Chain smokers in the restaurant.  Those who know me well know that I get really sick around cigarette smoke.  Just a whiff will give me a sharp headache. I have had this issue since I was a little girl. Ok, that's not the funny part because it was nasty.  But, what was funny was all the NO SMOKING signs all over the restaurant. LOL Every wall had one. I am not exaggerating when I say that there was a smoker at least every other table!

After lunch, we decided that getting a hand held pocket translator was of utmost importance, so the driver took us to the "electronics district".  AKA-- flea market for all things that are plugged in! 

It was quite a place. All new items, original packaging in the skeeziest looking building ever. lol  But, our guide negotiated a pretty good price for us, so we were happy!  Now, Colin will be able to answer us with more than a head nod.  Already he is learning to use it quite effectively to communicate with us.

Now, the most entertaining part of the day?  Definitely the driving experience.  I have never seen such a site!  In Shenyang, the bumper ahead of yours is the one with the right of way.  No light, sign, or arrow has any significance whatsoever.  People run in front of moving vehicles, cars go the wrong way, in the wrong lane...  and the horns. BOY do they LOVE their car horns!  It's like music in the background of the city.  We laughed so many times. Tom said he will NEVER EVER complain about meeting street traffic again! (A Charleston reference).  In the US, streets would be littered with bodies if people drove like that!

View from the van

While we were navigating this huge city, we found a picture and letter in Colin's things.  I asked the guide to translate it for us.  Boy, what a blessing it was.  It was a letter from Colin's "Uncle".  The guide explained that this was the brother of his former foster parent.  Apparently, he still had contact with them.  We learned earlier today at Civil Affairs that the family that "found him and raised him" turned him over to the orphanage after the Father died and the Mother became "very sick" and could no longer care for him.  I am unclear if she is still alive, but it would appear that he has kept some contact with the uncle. Anyway, the letter was a sweet one full of "fatherly advice" on how to be successful in America.  I will get a written translation of it later, but in essence and to the best of my memory, he advises him with the following:
  • Do not fight
  • Do not take drugs
  • Do not eat greasy foods: uhoh!(lol)
  • Do not hang with anyone who treats their parents badly
  • Do not put on a lot of weight eating badly as it will give you disease.
  • Since you (Colin) are softhearted and always want to help others, try not to trust that everyone will always have your best interest at heart.
  • Do not look at "lustful" pictures.
  • Do not spend too much time on the computer playing games.
  • Study Hard and work to overcome the language barrier.
  • Always ask why.  Make yourself understand.
  • Basically, be a good boy and honor your parents and take good care of yourself!  There was an email address also, so perhaps at some point we can communicate with him.
When he is ready, we will ask him more about this family that raised him and cared for him for so long.

So now, while most of America is sound asleep, we are relaxing in the hotel room.  The boys watched the cartoon movie Tarzan (voices in Chinese) and Tom rested a bit. 

Tomorrow's plans?  A visit to the orphanage. We are told that it will probably take about an hour to get there because the roads are all under construction and "not good".  But, we are so happy to be able to go see where our son has been living these last few years.  They are going to invite us to stay for lunch so that we can see "a real day in the life" of these children.  We were warned by the guide that it would probably not be "to our taste", but it was what the children experience everyday.  I expect that he is right, but if Colin can live it each day, we can endure it, whatever it might be, for one meal.

We will deliver the donations of clothing and diapers that were given for the children from our Charleston friends and we will take in as much as we can of his environment while we are there. 

More to come....

The Rylands Four


kimjax said...

Angie, that advice made me almost cry. Good advice for anyone, anywhere - just beautiful. He has been with caring people - you know this now - and you know he is soft hearted. :) I am so happy for all of you, and so thankful for such a wonderful view into his history. Love you all! Kim

kimjax said...

ps...the uncle sounds like a homeschooler, lol!

Chelsea Gour said...

Awwww, that letter! What a beautiful thing for him to have. I hope he is able to keep contact with that uncle. So glad you got a translator! I hope it makes communication easier for everyone! Oh, and we LOVED the spicy green beans!!

Stacy said...

Yea!!! Congratulations!!
What a sweet young man!!
You have definitely been blessed.
Thank you for blogging your experience. Keep 'em coming.
What a treasure for him to have (the letter) and it sounds like he had a wonderful family raise him.
It brought tears to my eyes!
Blessings to you!

Sharon said...

Angie.......oh my. What a treasure to find that Colin is so loved by this uncle. He sounds like a wonderful man. Just makes me cry... :)

Looking forward to your videos! You might have better luck uploading them to Vimeo.

Redeemedmama said...

I am crying. This is such good fatherly advice. I can "hear" my China sons' fathers voices when I read the uncles advice. Priceless

Jenni Hester said...

YAY!! How exciting that Colin is officially a Rylands!! I love the note from the uncle - what treasured words of wisdom!! God bless ya'll! Jenni

Dan and Olivia said...

This brings tears to my eyes. I am SO SO happy for you guys

Annie said...

Oh Angie!!! He was truly loved!! God bless that sweet Uncle! I imagine you all are getting ready to go to the CWI. Being able to spend the day there will be such a blessing, hard but a true blessing! Let me know if you see any little ones that need advocating for or who might just need a momma;);) Sigh!!

Anonymous said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the blog! The uncle sounds like a really good guy-I hope Colin lives by those admonitions!

The Chinese food looked great-leave it to Tom, hey man, FedEx me some! I know all of you will be so happy to get home--wait till Hurricane Irene is through tis weekend!

Dixie Bob

Carmi said...

Colin is blessed to have 2 families who care for him. So wonderful that he still has contact with his uncle who apparently cares for him very much!

Heather (fellow RQ'er) said...

I am totally in tears over the letter. Sounds like your son is, indeed, very much loved and respected. What a gift. :)