Meet Owen

Family Day has finally happened, and we are excited to introduce you to Owen. But first, let’s set the stage. We took a train from Hong Kong and arrived in Guangzhou on Sunday afternoon. We checked into the LN Garden hotel, which seems to be a very common place for adoptive families to stay as they are finishing out their adoptions. When we got to the room, they had set up a crib. Things were starting (more like continuing) to get real!

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Owen’s crib the morning we left for the Civil Affairs office

The hotel room

The hotel room

We got the room ready and headed down to the lobby to meet Aron, our guide. This is the last picture we will have as the “Brown Family of 3”, in the hotel lobby.

The last picture of the "Brown Family of 3"

The last picture of the “Brown Family of 3”

On the way over to the Civil Affairs office, Stella was all prim and proper, ready for the big moment.

A quick sidenote that is somewhat related to this picture: On the way over to the train station in Hong Kong, we took a taxi. When we got in, she looked up at us and said “they don’t have a carseat”. On each van ride we’ve taken  since, she has been sure to buckle up!

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We arrived at the building and went up the elevator, which let out into the room. The next picture gives you an idea of what this looks like. The room is filled with different families who are meeting their children for the first time! These families (at least the twelve families on this particular day) are families from a variety of agencies and countries, but we are all there for the same purpose.

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The main room where families wait to meet their children.

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Our guide, Aron, preparing things. I thought the big sign was cool too.

In the far corner of this room, there is a play room behind a colorful curtain. The kids that are about to meet their forever families play in this room until it is their turn.

As we were waiting, Aron told us that there were three children being adopted from Maonan Social Welfare Institute (Owen’s orphanage), and they were a little late. The journey for them was five hours long. Since they were a little late, we actually got a glimpse of Owen as he walked in, which I think almost melted Nikole’s heart right there on the spot. He was super calm and chilled out.

After a short wait, it was our turn! We went toward the curtain, and the deputy director of the Maonan SWI came out with little Shun Feng (Owen’s Chinese name)!

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Stella has been so excited about this day that she has hardly been able to contain herself. She loves stuffed animals, so before we left the States, she picked out two stuffed turtles. The first thing she did was walk up to him, extending his turtle (named Spot) to him. So adorable.

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Stella showing her love with a turtle stuffed animal

All seemed so calm at the very beginning. Oh, and he was the one kid with “squeaky shoes”, which was kind of hilarious because it squeaked through the entire room. Once his orphanage director and her assistants went back into the other room, another sound filled the large waiting room, and that was Owen crying his lungs out. It was becoming clear that he was *very* attached to his orphanage workers, and he didn’t want them out of his sight. He pushed us away and screamed his discontent into our ears (and everyone else’s). We also were told that his orphanage is very small {only about 40 children} and with the exception of seeing medical staff during a transfusion, he really never had seen strangers before this day. Poor little man was overwhelmed, scared, confused, etc. Here’s a picture to commemorate the moment:

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The unhappy Owen

I went into the play room to talk with Aron and the orphanage director while Nikole kept Owen and tried to calm him down. Water did not work, neither did a sucker, his turtle, Stella’s silly faces, or simply walking around. By the time we were done, this is what I came back out to.

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The happy sleepy Owen

By the time we left the building, he seemed content enough. We went shopping for some necessities at the amazing Aeon store (kinda like Super Walmart, but instead of being one floor, it is four floors), and then returned to the hotel.

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Stella is so excited

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Our little Owen

As the day progressed we began to see glimpses of Owen beginning to trust us a little bit. He took his own shoes off–no prompting on our part–shortly after the above photo was taken, which is a huge step for many adoptive children. He has no interest in trying on the shoes we brought for him and it’s not a subject we are going to push. Instead, we continue to velcro on his squeaker sandals and laugh at the fact that everyone knows he’s coming. Another positive sign of bonding & trust came when Nikole began to step out of the hotel room to drop something off next door and he began to reach out for her, as he shed crocodile tears.

All in all, the day was a success, albeit an interesting one. We had prepared our hearts for initial rejection. And you may remember from Stella’s adoption, her orphanage helpers pointed to Nikole and said “Mama” and Stella just looked at Nikole and shook her head “no”. Owen was a little (okay, a LOT) more dramatic than that, but we like to think that this means he was really well-loved by his orphanage’s staff.

Another final thought/observation: I hinted at it before, but I wanted to reiterate how amazing Stella was when we first met Owen. As he was struggling, she was ready to help in any way. She offered him his stuffed animal, she offered him a sucker, she wanted to be near him and comfort him. It was like I could just see her growing into her “big sister” role immediately.

Again, thank you for your prayers for us as we walk through this journey. It has just started, and we are adjusting to a new normal. Well, as normal as being in a huge Chinese city in a hotel can be.

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2 thoughts on “Meet Owen

  1. What a testament to your children- now two! It won’t be long before Owen ‘feels’ comfortable. With the two of you as parents all will be well. Thanks for the update- and good Job Stella- big Sister!

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