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Matthew Chan - Adoption Journey Journal

Referral Photos

Le Hua Cong - -12 months old    

 

Subject:

I'm in China Now - Greetings from Chengdu

Date:

5/8/2005 3:56:17 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time

 

Dear Family, Friends and Loved Ones

As you may already know, this weekend is the date when I'm off to China to bring back our new son, Matthew.  Mae is home with the kids, and I'm braving this trip with Mae's father, who is a great help because of his command of the Chinese language. 

So after a day at Disneyland last Friday, Mae dropped us off at LAX and off we flew on China Southern Airlines direct to Southwestern China to a city named Guangzhou, then taking another flight to the Sichaun Province to a city named Chengdu. This city is large and busy with over 9.5 million people.  After traveling for 24 hours straight we were a bit tired but we forced ourselves to stay up and so I found a great place to take a nice picture.  I'm now about 15 hours ahead of California time.  So while I'm typing out this email...most of you are still sleeping in the early morning hours of Sunday.

 

This picture was taken Sunday  at 4:00pm - Happy Mother's Day !!!!   

I'll be sending you updates these next two weeks.  I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers as the Lord has blessed Mae and I with so many blessing these past years.  This trip will no doubt be another example as to His Great Mercies, Joy and Love as I meet my new son for the very first time. 

Will send you more news soon. 

Love 

Curtis 

 

Subject:

Matthew Chan - I have him now

Date:

5/9/2005

Dear Family, Friends, and Loved ones 

At 10:30a on Monday we went over to the China Civil Affairs Office were we met Matthew for the first time.  In Adoption terms this was "gotcha" day and it all went so very well.  Matthew was waiting at the door as we walked in and he was playing with the deputy director of his orphanage along with a few other people who accompanied him from the Leshan Orphanage which is 2 hours away.  Mae had made a baby scrap book album for Matthew a few months ago and he was able to recognize his new "BaBa" -  He only understands the local Chinese dialect so even Mae's father's Mandarin skills were not able to register with him.  But as soon as I got down on the marble floor with him and started to show him all the little toys that my kids (Michelle, Jonathan, and Grace) packed for him he became so excited.  He loved chasing the ball around and rolling the toy cars.  After about 20 minutes of just playing together on the floor I had a chance to asked all the important questions to the orphanage personnel regarding Matthew's schedule, habits, likes and dislikes etc. Can you believe it that they said his favorite thing to eat is Candy.  They even left for him in his backpack a large bag of his favorite candies.

 

He didn't even cry a bit as we left the office.  I think it was all so new and exciting for him as we took a taxi back to the hotel.  After lunch we played a bit in the hotel and he went down for a nap.   

I was expecting the worse and it is such a joy that Matthew bonded so well with me.  He is so well natured so far and only cried when he needed to complain about something..ie..being put in a high chair for the first time, being placed in his new stroller...other than that he has been a model adoption baby. 

At dinner time we found out that he is an eating monster.  I could hardly eat any of my food as we went to a nice Chinese restaurant were we had local specialties (very spicy)...Matthew loved the pumpkin dish that we ordered along with steamed egg, and rice.

  

Thanks for all your prayers !!! Everything has gone smoothly.  Tomorrow we will finalize the adoption and start the process of getting Matthew a passport.  We'll let you know more soon. 

Bye for now 

Curtis and Matthew

 

 

Subject:

Matthew and Daddy - Buddies for Life

Date:

5/12/2005 3:16:08 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time

From:

CurtisChanDDS

 

Dear Family, Friends, and Loved Ones 

Matthew and I are doing great !!!  We have been together for 4 days straight  - 24/7 and we are getting along well.  Today he is starting to let his guard down and is smiling and laughing more.  The first 2 days he was so very serious and it was difficult to get him to smile. But you can only imagine what confusing times he must be going through as he has gone from living in an orphanage with a bunch of other children, to living with some stranger in a 5 star hotel for the past 4 days. We've been playing together a lot.   He loves to throw balls and hit balloons.  This morning I got him to laugh a lot as we played air hockey at the breakfast table with his sippy cup.   He is behaving more like a normal 18 month old, and also getting into a bit of trouble...like throwing his sippy cup as if it were a ball.  He eats well and hasn't refused anything I've offered to him to eat.  He loves "Cheeze-Its" and French fries.  But don't think that I've been giving him only junk food...He predominantly eats a Chinese rice soup dish called "conji" which I feed him every day. 

Dinner Out at McDonalds - Chinese Style                The Panda Reserve 

Today we went and visited the famous Great Panda Reserve near Chengdu...we were able to get pretty close to see them.  We had a fun time !!! 

Yesterday was a bitter sweet day for both of us as we had an opportunity to go back to visit Matthew's orphanage that was 160 km away from Chengdu.  We traveled for 2 hours by taxi to Leshan where we were greeted by the Leshan Social Welfare officials.  We met the director and she introduced all of Matthew's caretakers.  They actually all came running out of their buildings when they heard that "Zhong-Zhong" (Matthew's Chinese nickname there at the orphanage) had arrived.  More than 15 of the workers came out and hugged and greeted him. It was a big relief to me to see the tender loving care and kindness which they have been giving him these past 18 months.  Matthew had a totally changed  temperament when he realized he was back at his old surroundings and began to jabber in his local dialect to all of his helpers.  Even the elderly people who also live at this institution perked up when they say him and they all waved and greeted him.  After 45 minutes we had to go and I new it was going to be tough.  His teacher came up and held him and spoke to him to say good bye.  She told me that he was one of her favorites and that she knows that better things we in store for him.  She told me how smart and intelligent he was but warned me that he is very strong willed (I've already discover that).  The rest of the caretakers said their good byes and I got into the car with him and then Matthew really broke down and cried.  I noticed several of the caretakers were crying too, but you could tell they were all happy for him.  Before we drove off, I was able to thank them for their care and I reassured them that Matthew would be fully loved by my family and that he would have a fantastic future and life.  They were so overjoyed to see  the pictures of my family and couldn't believe how much I looked like him.  Anyways...it was emotionally tough for all of us, but I know that in Matthew's future it will be of some comfort to him that he had some very loving people take care of him in his younger years. 

Matthew with his caretakers and helpers at the Leshan Orphanage

Today we got to do more bonding by traveling to other attractions in the area.  The final adoption papers will be ready tomorrow morning (Friday) and then we'll get on a plane to travel 2 hrs to the city of Guanzhou, where we will get a travel visa and passport for Matthew at the American consulate there.  We still plan to return next Wednesday.  Please continue to pray for us.  God has been so good to us during this journey and we thank Him for His Care and guidance in all we do. 

We'll keep you posted when we get to our next destination. 

Curtis and Matthew

 

Subject:

We're Now in Guangzhou (Canton), China

Date:

5/15/2005

Dear Family, Friends, and Loved Ones 

It's late Sunday evening here at the White Swan Hotel, Guanzhou, China 

Matthew did great on his very first plane ride (2 hours) as we flew from Chengdu to Guanzhou.  We were met by another guide from our adoption agency at the airport.  It took about 1 hour to get our luggage due to the severe lightning and thunder showers that fell over the airport right after we landed.  The lightning was spectacular and the thunder was ear piercing as we got off the plane.  Needless to say by time our bags were finally placed in the baggage claim area they were totally soaked.  Matthew kept repeating what I said as I said "boom" every time the thunder would sound.  He thought it was pretty funny. 

The adoption process is going very smoothly.  I have full custody of him along with his official passport.  Each day we bond more and more.  He is less serious now as he was 5 days ago.  He has a very sweet smile and a funny laugh.  It took me 3 days to get a laugh out of him  We have almost been together for a full week.  It's hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly. I'm sure Mae could say the opposite.  But when you see his temperament  going from one extreme to another you'll be totally amazed.  He is so playful and outgoing now and loves to entertain people.  His language skills for a 18mo child are quite extraordinary....but I better not brag too much about my new little boy. 

My very first place ride with Daddy 

Yesterday we had to get a medical check up in preparation for our American consulate appointment on Monday.  Matthew passed with flying colors and cried only when they tried to weigh him on this big automatic weighing machine.  But he calmed down quickly when I offered him a cracker.   We and about 75 other families from all over the states are here processing our newly adopted Chinese children to get our visas to come back to the USA.  At breakfast time, it is totally breathtaking to see all the new parents and children.  The majority of kids are all girls and most of the parents are first timers. There are a few families who are doing their second adoption.

 

Matthew has been getting more and more used to his new daddy.  He looks for me whenever I have to leave him and calls out my name.  Mae's father has been a great help and notices how Matthew and I are really bonding well.  

The past day or two have been filled with sightseeing and shopping.  This city is known for shopping...Matthew and I have had fun just going out and about.  The weather here is hot and very humid (95 degrees).  We take refuge in any air conditioned store when ever possible.  In a few days we should have all our appointments done and paperwork complete for our trip home.   

 

Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.  Mae and I talk with each day by email..and we accidentally found out that my cell phone works all the way here in China.  My father, Claude Chan, accidentally speed dialed Mae and somehow got me.  I had my cell phone on in the hotel room when it unexpectedly began to ring..I answered it thinking I would have to tell some Chinese person that he got the wrong number..when all of a sudden..my dad was talking to me.  The reception exceptional and it  was as if I was back there in San Diego. 

Will update you all again in a few days. 

Love 

Curtis and Matthew

 

Subject:

We're Almost Home ...we leave Today !!!

Date:

5/17/2005

Dear Family, Friends, and Loved ones 

Matthew and I are all packed and ready to make our way back to the good old USA.  We are so excited to leave China and get back into a regular schedule.  These past 12 days have been full of adventure, high emotions, and a bit tiresome from all the traveling.  We are looking forward to getting into a normal routine.

Can you imagine the mental trauma our little Matthew has endured these past 12 days with his new Dad.  First, he was handed off to some stranger (me), then he is living in a 5 star hotel, and going out to eat every meal.  Then it probably seems to Matthew, that all his new dad does is feed him, take him to sightseeing places, goes shopping for hours, plays with him, gives him a warm bath each evening, brushes his teeth, then puts him to bed.  This has been his routine for 12 straight days.  Now he's going to be facing the real world back in San Diego with his new mother, and 3 siblings.  Mae and I have termed it that he will be coming to "Baby Boot Camp".   

We really appreciate all your kind thoughts, emails, and prayers as I have made this trip.  My plane leaves this evening and I will be checking out of the beautiful White Swan hotel in about an hour.  We will send you  a final email when we get back to San Diego. 

A big thanks to my father-in-law, Robert Lee, who helped accompany me on this trip. He left this morning to Japan to visit his family there.  And a real big Thank You to my dear wife, Mae, who has endured the tough job of watching 3 little ones.  My part in this trip seems to be just a piece of a puzzle in getting our dear Matthew to his new home.  It brings tears to my eyes to realize that such a loving little one has been without a real loving home for 18 months and now he is coming home !!!  Thanks again for all your support!!! 

Love 

Curtis and Matthew and the Chan Family

 

Subject:

A messgage from Matthew Chan - I'm Home !!!

Date:

5/20/2005

Dear Family, Friends, and Loved Ones 

I'm writing on behalf of my daddy who is jet lagged, and tired....he has been getting up at 3 am to play with me since I'm still on China time.  Just to let you all know we came home safely.  Daddy told me that I was a good boy on the long flight and that we were very fortunate to get a bulkhead seat so I could lie down on the floor by his feet and sleep.  I slept most of the way.  After we went through customs and immigration, the man in the uniform told me "Welcome Home to the USA"  I don't know what that meant, but my daddy surely was very happy to hear the man say that.  After we got our luggage, we were greeted by some happy people...my new mommy, brother and sisters....I was so excited to finally meet and be with them. 

I'm so happy to be in such a loving family.  Everyone wants to play with me and help me get adjusted to this new life I have in front of me.  My brother was so willing to feed me since my daddy has been doing the feeding for the past 12 days. 

 

My new grand parents on my daddy's side of the family came to visit me too...they were very happy to see me.

 

 

Overall...my daddy says that our China Journey is now over...but a new journey is just beginning as I've been told that I am now in baby boot camp.  It's going to be so much fun.....My daddy says that God has blessed our family and has carefully watched over me since my birth...and it is so new to me to have a mommy and daddy around with 2 sisters and a brother all the time...I can really used to this new family thing.   I overheard my daddy tell my mommy that it's hard to believe that I came from such a hard life because my face is full of joy....I'm so happy to be finally home !!!!!! 

 

Keep praying for my mommy and daddy and family as I need time to adjust to my new situation.  But I'm sure as the weeks and months go on, that my adjustment will be fully secured.  Thanks for all your support.  My daddy keeps saying what a wonderful and safe trip we had together!!!!  I better go wake him up now....I'll tell him to email you again. 

Love 

Baby Matthew

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