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Gotcha Travis!

Photo album of the day we met Travis aka "Gotcha Day"
Video of meeting Travis

(no time to proofread or edit)

A little before 4:30pm, we headed down to the 3rd floor to see if Travis had arrived. They had indeed arrived and were waiting for us. The room was a steam/sauna room!!! (Added by Ken)

I heard severe screaming as I walked in, but when I saw the crying child, I knew that wasn't "EnEn."  I looked around an immediately saw Travis, smiling from ear to ear.  He started to run to us, but as he got closer, he began to slow down and cry.  He did NOT want to come near us, but was forced to do so anyway.

Before we could even get down to his level, the guides began to say, "Just let the kids play with him. You need to sign paperwork."  Ooo-kay.  So that's what we did.  The other child was screaming at the top of his (her?) lungs while we visited with the orphanage director.  He was very kind.  Another orphanage worker presented us with a photo album full of captioned (in English) photos of Travis.  Many of them we had seen, some we had not.  There were several pictures of him with Madelyn, so we let them know we had connected with her family and planned to let them meet some day. They seemed happy about that.

The feeling in the air was stress.  With information being thrown at us left and right, trying to sign documents and look over our shoulder as the kids attempted to entertain Travis while still many others gathered around them all, taking pictures in this hot room with at least one screaming child at a time, we felt very uneasy.  

That being said, the orphanage workers were so sweet.  They looked at us happily, took a TON of photos, enjoyed giving us the photo album, and shared with us their email address and skype information.  We so appreciated them and would have loved to chat with them more.  We didn't get to chat because once the papers were signed, the entire group bolted out the door, I'm sure in an effort to not upset Travis, but this backfired.  He saw them run out the door all at once and began running after them and crying.  My heart broke for him.  He clearly had no clue what was going on.  Ken and I were both confused, so asked our guides if that was all.  They let us know that we were finished and could go to our room.  Again...Ooo-kay..  As we walked out the door, someone mentioned, "Oh, and he has a BM every morning."  Have I said this yet?  Ooo-kay..

We wanted to stay put and let him get used to us in that room, but it was SO hot and there was another family (with an understandably screaming child) signing papers, so we gathered our belongings and headed to the hall.  We sat in the hall for a few minutes.  Travis stayed in Ken's arms, but was very unsure about us.  He didn't cry much, but would frown and whine.  He would occasionally kick and flail around while crying. We signed, "You're sad. We know. It'll be okay." 

After quite a bit of traffic passed through the hallway, we decided we'd be better off going to our room. It was at that point that I realized we were given no schedule, no favorite foods list, no real info about him.  The day before we got Tian, we were given a list of answered questions about his daily schedule, sleep patterns, likes and dislikes, favorite foods, formula names, etc.  We were walking away with Travis not knowing much of anything except that he poops in the morning. (We hope to get some answers tomorrow.)

Once in our room, Travis only wanted to look out the window at the beautiful view I posted in earlier Picasa albums.  I'm sure he was trying to process everything.  After a good 20 minutes at the window, refusing to eat any of the treats and snacks we offered, Ken sat him on the bed to show him the camera on the iPad.  Success!  He loved it!  (We'll post pictures later.)  He laughed and laughed at photo booth.  He didn't mind me or the birth kids coming close to him, but he didn't like Tian to get in his space.  Right now, he prefers Ken.  

We noticed immediately: the boy is deaf.  We called his name, clapped, and made other loud noises and he wasn't phased a bit.  Although he is three, he sounds more like a baby, only saying "ma ma" when he cries.  And I don't think he's calling to a specific person, I just think he moves his mouth and this is the sound that comes out.  We can tell by how he interacts with us that he is not used to understanding or being understood.  Looking at a book with Ken, Travis began turning pages quickly and roughly, pointing and laughing at different photos.  He was holding a Hot Wheels car and when he saw another car, he would sit his car on top of the photo.  He also tried grabbing at the car in the book, which tells us he may not have been read to often if at all.  Developmentally, he seems younger than Tian even though he is one year older.  That's the product of being in an orphanage compared to a foster home.  We know he will catch up quickly, but it will take patience and work and more patience.  He's worth it!

It was soon dinner time and we decided we were pretty tired of Chinese food, so made the trek across the lake to Dicos, where we were told we could get hamburgers.  Nope.  It was chicken.  Fried chicken everything.  Oh boy, the stares we got!!  People came inside the restaurant (picture a McDonalds as an open storefront, like in the mall...but it's open to the street) and sat down just to watch us. 
1. Big family 
2. White 
3. Two Chinese boys 
4. Sign language 
5. Very tall husband.  
We totally rocked their world.  Everyone was pleasant enough, but it's SO hard to relax when all eyes are on you.  We just reminded ourselves to take it in stride, looked into their eyes and said "ni hao."  We got smiles back, some giggles, and a lady who even copied some of our signs.  I wish we had an interpreter with us so we could answer their questions.  They had no problem sitting around us, all talking together about us.  Oh well!  Although it gets a little tiring, we look at it as a chance to be ambassadors.  We can show the Chinese people there is nothing sad or scary about being Deaf or having a "deformed" body part.  We can show them that these ARE wanted kids. 

Travis finally accepted food from us: rice, chicken and a boiled egg.  Tian took everything in stride, turning on his charm in front of the crowd. 

On our walk back, it began to pour rain.  Although our guides reminded us often, we totally forgot umbrellas.  So we walked back in the rain, getting soaked.  I can't wait to go back out tomorrow night to get more photos of the dancers in the park.  It's such a fun thing to see.  Several older couples were still dancing, despite the rain, under one umbrella.  So romantic!  When we stopped to watch them, they danced up to us, smiling and giving thumbs up toward the boys.  Okay...we'll put up with the stares for that.  

Back at the hotel, soaked to the bone and freezing, we got the kids dried off and Ken undressed Travis to prepare him for a bath.  Ken called me in to the bathroom and, for the first time since we got him, I began to cry.  We had noticed his black teeth, but hadn't noticed the scratches and scars on his body.  We will find out what it's all about tomorrow, but the sight of him just made me overwhelmed with peace that he's now with us.  I know the orphanage workers do all they can for the kids, but one person can only do so much.  We are just glad Travis is with his forever family.

After his bath, which he immensely enjoyed, and a tooth-brushing, which he did NOT enjoy, but finally gave in to once he saw that the toothpaste tasted pretty good, Ken sat down with him and a picture book. (I need to add...when we first tried to brush his teeth, he pursed his lips tightly and looked right at us.  We wondered if the workers simply didn't have time to fuss with him about his teeth.  Ironic, because we have at least 3 photos of him either getting his teeth brushed or holding a toothbrush.  Maybe it's the water where he has lived? Not sure, but we'll be making a visit to Dr. Patel in August or September for sure.)

This time, Travis was more attentive while Ken signed many words to him.  Travis wouldn't mimic the signs, so Ken took his hands to guide him.  Before they were finished, he was beginning to copy Ken a little.  He did a LOT of laughing, which was a joy to hear.  He still didn't really want Tian coming near.  Although, I forgot to add, while walking back to the hotel, I realized I had left my backpack in the restaurant (I didn't worry, we heard that Chinese people typically aren't thieves and we should be more worried in the USA.  In our experience, that's true.) so ran back with Hannah to get it.  Tian began crying for me while I was gone and when Travis saw him crying, he walked up to Tian and gave up his own Hot Wheels.  Sweet.  Again, it'll just take time.

TJ had been feeling a little sick, with sore throat and headache, but was feeling much better.  By bedtime, Mackenzie began running a slight fever and feeling a little "off."  We would love your prayers for continued health for all of us.

Ken was able to get Travis to sleep after some time spent lying with him in bed.  Tian seemed full of energy, but after a few Skype calls, some milk, and him taking it upon himself to tidy up the room (he folded clothes, put items in drawers and suitcases, etc....all on his own), he eventually drifted off.

Now I'm the only one left awake, but not for long.  We meet with our guide tomorrow morning at 9:15 to go sign our adoption paperwork and go to the notary office.  

After the kids were asleep and I was washing some clothes, Ken and I were able to visit about the day's events.  We both agreed that we are SO very thankful for the past two weeks.  God has blessed our time here and we are trusting Him to continue covering us for the next two weeks.  These boys are ours. They are Brownies.  They were meant to be in our family.  We are sad for some of what they've had to endure in their short life and pray for the wisdom and strength to guide them through from here on out.  

We are The Brown Seven!
I had typed this in the morning and forgot to add it

It's now 1:05pm. 3 1/2 more hours until we meet Travis!  We will head down to the 3rd floor conference room to meet him.  Getting those butterflies like I did before we met Tian.  This time, though, we don't have 13 other families with us for support and comic relief.  It's just us!

At the moment, I can't imagine what meeting Travis will be like.  It was the same with Tian.  I couldn't even imagine it, then there he was!  We don't know if Travis will be quiet and shy like Travis, lively and ready to play, or screaming with fear.  We will know soon enough.

This morning at breakfast, Mackenzie said today will be her favorite day because it will be the first time our complete family will be together.  I couldn't agree more.


  1. Praying for good health and an amazing adjustment for all the Brownies!!!


  2. Though it might be tougher to deal with during this transition time, it sounds like Travis has a very sensitive soul! What a blessing!

    Congrats so all the Brown Seven!

    Lisa J.

  3. Oh! So wonderful to read, even though some of what happened probably wasn't what you expected--though I'm sure a lot of it was; you have been thoroughly prepared by the Holy Spirit for every step of this journey! How precious that Travis gave up his Hot Wheels to his new little brother. :-) I will pray for physical health for all of you as well as emotional healing for these sweet boys.

  4. I wonder if Travis cried when he was near Tian because he feared being back in an orphanage. All he ever saw there were other Chinese children. When I saw the photo of them on the bed and Travis crying that is what came to my mind. These posts are amazing. Thank you for sharing them.

  5. Our precious grandsons and granddaughters are such a blessing. May you continue to know God's guidance as your rear these precious children. We are praying for you and loving you as we eagerly await your return home.

  6. Praying for you all! Lucy did not like Sam at first and still has a harder time with him than her jie jie. It is like she doesn't really trust him, probably because he is Chinese and looks similar to the kids that "taught her how to fight." If he was scratched, etc. by the kids in the orphanage, it makes sense why Travis is nervous about Tian. Praying for good health, the Lord's wisdom, and answers to come to some of your questions!

  7. Oh, so much going through my mind as I read your posts. Sometimes I laugh out loud and sometimes I just want to cry and sometimes I'm just feeling your joy! Praying that both the boys will feel all the love that is being poured onto them and that they will quickly understand that you are their forever family. Congrats to the Brown 7!!Must ask--ni hao-- what does that mean?

  8. Just catching up on all the posts of your journey in Fuzhou. So happy for you guys to get Travis -- the pictures show that he's trying to take it all in (I remember that obvious sadness of unfamiliarity on that first night with Madelyn and it still breaks my heart). Getting those smiles out of him must have been incredibly fulfilling! Can't wait to see the progress he makes (and for him to see Madelyn).

    Tian on the other hand looks to be adhering to everyone amazingly well. That's awesome to see.

    I love the pictures with Travis and Tian -- looks like both boys are trying to claim their territory amongst the family already :)

  9. It has really inspired me from your awesome story . Thanks for your share your story.

    1. Thanks, Dez! It's fun to come back and read these. I want you to tell me your stories sometime!


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