Sunday, December 16, 2007

Q:How To Make Shabbat Last Twice As Long

A. 1.Go to Beijing Capital Airport at 3 in the afternoon
2.Board flight CO88 for Newark, New Jersey
3.Take off at 5pm
4.Land in Newark same day, 40 minutes later
5.Remember: Steps 3-4 take 13 hours to complete.

We have landed. All our stuff arrived just fine, and....drum roll please! May I introduce the newest citizen of the United States of America, Miss Xiao-Ling Shuchat-Marx! As we officially entered U.S. soil through the "Foreigners" queue as instructed, we were escorted to a special security area where we sat comfortably for almost an hour while they got to her file. As soon as the immigrations officer pronounced her a citizen, her dad and mom broke into a loud "Shehechiyanu" followed by an even louder rendition of "Stars & Stripes Forever."

Harry met us outside the security area with his Saba and Savta, and all present were most enchanted with their new sister and granddaughter, respectively. Xiao-Ling took to her brother like a duck to water. She won his heart by repeating everything he said; by offering to share her Tootsie Pop with a devastating smile; and by saying, "I LUB-you, Gur-Gur." We got home late after stopping for food staples, and I have not been to bed yet except for a short nap. It has been a pleasure to settle in. Xiao-Ling is crazy about her room. She received a huge package of clothes from her Ayeh Karen, who is obviously not planning to send her kids back to college next semester from the size of this gift!

First bedtime at new home was absolutely delicious. She loves the cats. Gingie spent bedtime on Xiao-Ling's bed; he's obviously delighted to have a new baby to look after. We read her two adoption classics: The White Swan Express, which we mentioned earlier, and Rose Lewis' I Love You Like Crazycakes. She enjoyed them but pointed out that the mother pictured in Crazycakes is really an ayeh. Okay, that's her story and she's sticking to it. Also, when she opened the book to the page illustrating the babies being cared for in the orphanage, she sang, "Ohh Mei-Mei, Mei-Mei," for quite a while and pointed at each baby in turn as she did so. Just before Sh'ma I got lots of kisses rained on me, and was told, "I LUB-you veh'mush!" My feet haven't touched the ground since.

It's important to mention that Harry is very excited but his feelings are quite conflicted. He and his sister had fun gabbing in the backseat on our way home and he's enjoying the love she showers on him, but he says that at the same time he feels out of the loop. After being part of our threesome for more than five years, he had to endure three weeks away from us while we forged a bond with Xiao-Ling in his absence. That's a tough one and I wish we could have done things differently but he would have chafed all the way through China. The hardest part of this whole adventure was being separated from him for three weeks. He seems to have grown and aged by leaps and bounds in our absence. I will do all in my power to heal his spirit from any damage we may have caused him in the quest for his sister. Ana Eil na r'fa na lo - God, please heal my boy and help me to mend his hurt.

There is something else - Harry had to go to the ER tonight with what turned out to be a "bend" fracture in his left arm. Apparently he was crawling under something earlier today at his aunt & uncle's house, and fell on his own arm. He was favoring it significantly, but cried in pain at one point and that's not like him. Mark was with him in ER and Xray until they came home at 5am. Harry now has a splint and we'll take him to an orthopedist on Monday for a cast, which he'll have to wear for at least four weeks. Guilt screams in my inner ear. Ana Eil na r'fa na lanu...

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