Exactly one year ago today Mike and I were sitting in the airport awaiting a plane that would take us to China to bring home a little brown eyed boy. As I sat in that airport I had no idea what was waiting for me in the little boy I had come to love deeply only through a photo. I had the experiences of our journey to bring Emily into our family although I was confident that this time would be drastically different. Unlike Emily, Joshua was older and we were told that Joshua had spent all of his life in an orphanage. He was described as shy and not liking strangers and the sadness on his face in most of the photos we had received led me to believe that this was one unhappy little boy. I was fully prepared for the worst of reactions but I don't think I could have ever imagined the reality of who this little guy was. You can read details of our journey here.
After spending a year with our boy my curiousness has exploded as to what his life was like before coming to our family. I have arrived at some confident conclusions and a bunch of speculations about his time in China. On the day we received Joshua, he arrived to the civil affairs office with an entourage of Chinese women and one man who obviously adored him. He was confident, secure and definitely was not afraid of strangers. He embraced us with little to no reservations. We were told that Joshua had just been on a shopping trip with these women and it was apparent then and now that this may have been something that he was accustomed to doing with these ladies. Their love for him was so clear as they seemed to have a hard time leaving wanting to make sure that we knew of all the things he liked. For example they really wanted us to know that he liked warm baths and was rocked with a bottle of milk each night. As they left the office there was sadness in their faces and the one man who hadn't said anything stayed behind and as I glanced his way I noticed that there were tears in his eyes (something that I know is not typically of Chinese men). Somehow I have come to believe that this man may have been someone very special in the early life of my son. So does our little guy have a story? I am confident that he does and it certainly is not the typical one written about so many orphans in China. We were given the gift of some photo's of his time before he was with us that further reveal my confident conclusions that he was well cared for, loved and probably spoiled rotten. He came to us very familiar with things that reveal he had definitely spent some time outside of his orphanage with women. Such things as, how to apply make-up specifically mascara, he is quite comfortable in walking around in women's high heels, and I also discovered that he is quite comfortable in nail salon. These are only just a few of the situations that he has shown familiarity. There are situations that my 14 year old who has lived with me all his life doesn't have a clue about that Joshua seems completely knowledgeable. Despite my curiosity as to what took place prior to me becoming his mama I am so thankful that my son had lots of love filling his life before God brought him to me. This face confirms in my heart that he was very happy boy:
All of these photos are taken in his orphanage and he looks so uncomfortable which contrasts with photos of him with his nannies where he looks so happy and content. I have often wondered just how much time he spent in the orphanage. I know that these photos are staged but I get a sense that this was just not a place where he felt "at home".