China National Museum

Today is our last full day in Beijing. We leave tomorrow morning for Guangzhou. We did not have any adoption related business to take care of so we enjoyed another free day. Yesterday we met the Spanish couple again at the adoption offices and they had suggested we go to the China National Museum. They also joked that they would see us again in China in another two years.  After breakfast we headed out. The past two days the pollution levels have been low but they were high again today so we wore our masks. We walked down through the pedestrian shopping area of Wangfujing. There are a lot of red and gold decorations out for the Spring Festival. This will be the year of the monkey so there are a lot of monkeys as well.

Once past the shopping district we walked toward Tiananmen Square. We picked up another helpful English speaking companion who made conversation, eventually inviting us to her painting shop. We shook her off, then came to the Tiananmen intersection.

You will surely die if you try to cross the road. Fear not, we remembered from our last trip that you can cross underneath using the subway tunnel. Crossing under required a security screening but that was quick. On the other side we made our way into the museum. Admission is free, though you have to show your passport. Coming inside the museum you are immediately faced with a wall of a dozen black suited security guards. The screening here was more intensive. We had to send our stroller through an X-ray machine, walk through a metal detector, then get wanded. But finally we were free to explore the museum. It was a beautiful building with a large interesting collection. We viewed porcelains, jade, ancient coins, and a few other areas. No matter where we walked the docent would immediately walk over to follow us around because of August. One spent quite a bit of time looking from August to Vincent, kind of squinting at Vincent trying to see a resemblance. None of them asked any questions although they clearly wanted to. When people do ask us about him, they always say “He look a little Chinese?” No one ever comes out and says “He’s Chinese.”

August fell asleep in the stroller after a while. I guess appreciating all that cultural heritage is hard work. We walked back to the hotel for lunch and nap.  Afterwards we packed up for tomorrow’s trip. August was apprehensive as we packed. He has been coming out of his shell in the hotel room but his main defense is still to withdraw. Yesterday he sat solemn and motionless on our lap for hours as we traveled around the city for our appointments. Our guide asked how he was doing. When we said he was running  around and talking in the hotel room she said “He talking?” Politely skeptical. She did hear him say “all done” in English after lunch.

These early days are hard. It’s hard to see him flinch when I sit down next to him. To see him upset and not be able to comfort him. He sits stiffly if you try to cuddle him. There is nothing which will help but time to build trust. The first two days he refused to drink anything. Yesterday and today he refused to eat much. Both days he accepted soup so we were able to get both a good meal and liquid in that way. However, when he is happy we can see that he’s going to be quite a troublemaker. He and Vincent are getting into arguments over toys. August will yell at Vincent in Chinese and Vincent yells no back in Chinese. Once when Matt told August no, August told him no back in Chinese. At one point when Vincent called him August I heard him correct Vincent by saying his Chinese name. He is very curious about things. He’s constantly digging through the luggage or grabbing a things from our hands. He likes to show you that he knows what to do. He helps me get himself dressed. If he thinks we are going out he will run to get his shoes and coat. He might bring you his hat and point to his head or pull the stroller out. He collects dishes from around the room to put up on a shelf. He gives you a mischievous grin right before he does something he shouldn’t. I think he’s going to fit in just fine with our family!

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