So, today was the day.
We met Hang, our Vietnamese contact person, in the lobby at 8 a.m. and we left immediately to go to the institute. After a 30 minutes drive we arrived and waited in a space that looked like a conference room. Hang told us that the staff at the institute were in a hurry, because they had to go to a funeral. So, after a few minutes 4 people came in the room, one of them carrying little Phuc.
It is quite hard to remember how things went, we were all so emotional and also a little scared. I think the best of us was Dao, she was super excited, but also very warm, she looked like she knew exactly what to do. The institute’s director and his colleagues left after 10 minutes and then Hang brought us to the house where Phuc had been living. The institute looked like a pleasant place in a way, full of flowers and little houses where children live with their nannies or sometimes foster mothers. Hang told us that the institute was founded by Marina Picasso, who adopted 3 Vietnamese kids in the late 80’s. Phuch’s house was full of little ones, all under 3. It was difficult to understand how old they were, because some of this children are just really tiny. Hang told us to leave our bags outside the house because the kids open the bags and take everything out. They are like little monkeys, she said. So we are at home, I thought.
I think we stayed there about one hour and a half, surrounded by all these tiny kids crawling and walking around in the little porch outside the house. Dao was making sure that Phuc didn’t fall down or that the other toddlers didn’t steal stuff from our bags. She gave Phuc a teddy bear that he didn’t let go until he fell asleep much later in the hotel, at one point a little boy was trying to steal it from him and he held on to it so strong, that Nicola had to separate them. The nannies were feeding the children with a communal spoon/bottle. All the babies wore washable diapers, like a piece of white fabric held together by a safety pin, what we probably wore as babies. At the end of our visit we left some old clothes and shoes and then took off to go back to our hotel, with a new little person in our family.
In the ride back to the hotel Phuc was looking out of the window, hypnotized by Saigon traffic. We stopped somewhere to took some passport photos and then arrived back at the Hotel at about 11 a.m. We booked our tickets to Hanoi and then Hang left us for a couple of hours. Dao fed Phuc some apple puree and then wanted to swim a little, so we all went down to the pool.
It is so strange to be in 4, I feel very different from when we adopted Dao, very happy, but not so close to him yet. One thing that I know though is that today I love Dao even more (if possible). She showed to be the warmest, sweetest, best loving sister in the world, it was so amazing to watch her.
Now we are all exhausted. Phuc finally sleeping i his cot, in this hotel room with 3 complete strangers, and the 3 of us unable to sleep, tired and yet excited about what tomorrow will bring.