Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dinner with "friends"

We have a friend of a friend who is an ENT specializing in facial plastic surgery. He does a lot of international work repairing clefts for organizations such as Smile Train. Back in 2004 he spent some time in Lanzhou and met the local craniofacial surgeon. They have since worked together several times in other parts of China doing cleft repairs for smile train. Our friend contacted this local surgeon and told him that we were coming to Lanzhou to adopt our son. We had been corresponding by email hoping to meet up with him while we were in town. We thought maybe we could have a quick lunch and visit about his work and his city. We were very under prepared for his level of hospitality. He found us at our hotel on Sunday night and suggested that we have dinner with him on Monday. We agreed to meet him in the lobby at 6pm thinking we would be having a quick dinner at the hotel restaurant. Wrong. He had arranged for an interpreter to go with us. He does speak English, but doesn't feel that he's fluent so he wanted to have someone there to translate. Her name was Karen and she works for Holt International Adoption Agency with their foster program in Lanzhou. The bonus of this is that Max was in their foster care program so she had been doing monthly visits with him at his foster home and was able to give us additional background information on him. Dr. Lu (the local surgeon) then told us he had arranged a celebratory dinner for us at a local noodle restaurant. He took us in taxis to the restaurant where we had a private room for our dinner. His wife met us there as well. She had brought a cake as congratulations for our family and our new son. It was beautiful and we all started by having a piece of cake. They then brought in about 10 different vegetable dishes for us to try. We had celery, radishes, green beans, mushrooms, and several other dishes that were all very good. We also had a couple of meet dishes. Then the restaurant staff came in to demonstrate how they make the local noodles. It really is amazing. They take a big lump of dough and pull and pull until it turns into one long noodle. We then had giant bowls of the local beef noodles. We were all so full after this, but then they brought in a second huge bowl of thicker beef noodles. They were quite good, but we didn't even make a dent in our second bowls. While we were eating Max was a little bit fussy. Dr. Lu's wife was a very traditional Chinese grandmother and had Max on her lap the whole time, feeding him, talking to him, and whisking him out of the room when he would get upset. (Don't flame me, I know this isn't ideal for attachment, it just was what it was.) At the end of the meal she "took him to the bathroom." We walked outside to meet them and saw him squatting at a tree in front of the restaurant taking a poop and a pee. She just wiped his poop up with a tissue and tossed it under the tree. I know that this is not uncommon in Chinese culture, but it's a little bit shocking to walk out of a restaurant and to see your child copping a squat in front of a tree. The good thing is that she had figured out that he was fussy because he needed to poop, which we were completely missing. That's really helped us these last couple of days so we owe her for that one. It was a wonderful experience meeting Dr. Lu and his family and they completely overwhelmed us with their generosity. Thanks Travis! And thanks Marci for hooking us up with Travis!

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