I know I've posted with the exact same subject line at least twice before. But I gotta tell you, the China Hotel in Guangzhou is my favorite place in all of China (not in the world, of course - that would be home - but in all of China).
In Guangzhou, it starts to feel like vacation. Not just because the hotel is so nice, tho it is, and not just because the area and the weather are so nice, tho they are, and not even just because of the shopping opportunities, tho they're good. Really, it's because by the time you get here, you've been together for a week or so, and you're starting to feel like family. Each day the child opens up a little more, sorta like a flower blooming… just a little more open to you, trusting you, exposing their vulnerable heart, coming out of their shell, just a little bit more each day. It's really a beautiful design that God has created in adoption and I'm oh so very grateful!
Our "day off" turned out to be a blessing, because that morning, I hurt my knee somehow - don't recall doing anything to it, or turning it funny, but my knee was really not a happy camper. So I sat for most all of the day, using ice and Advil as appropriate, but it got no better and wasn't any better even the next day.
So, leaving Lanzhou was slightly stressful, not just because of my knee (airports = walking), but also because after just one day - ONE DAY - in our hotel, David decided he just didn't want to use squatty potties (Chinese toilets) anymore. Absolutely, positively would NOT use them anymore… and of course, as soon as we got to the airport, he needed to go. We tried a few times, Bill found a handicapped bathroom, but by then he wasn't having any of it, so we tried to hold out until we were on the plane. Anyway, suffice it to say that by the time we got to GZ, he was dry.
Andrew was a trooper on the plane - I remember Sam crying the whole time during that flight when we adopted him. We were all split up on the plane - Faith and Sam, Bill and David, Andrew and I… and Andrew and I were stuck between 2 business men, but thankfully, they were not too bugged by us and Andrew was pretty calm the whole way. Bill said David was fine too, once he didn't need to go to the bathroom anymore, and Faith said Sam slept the whole way. :o)
First on the agenda in GZ is the medical exam, so they can get the visa started. Because David is more than 3, he also had to have a TB test, which thankfully he passed with no problem… but of course, didn't like the needle stick one little bit. Neither of them particularly liked any of the whole ordeal, but our group was thrilled that we'd gone early, because we were the first ones there and done pretty quickly. That was pretty amazing since it's the first week anyone would've been here since the Chinese New Year holiday - meaning big crowds. TYL.
Second on the agenda for GZ is of course, Shopping. :o) We've certainly partaken in that, but the last 2 times we were here, we thought it was our last time, so there's a lot of stuff we already have. I've learned not to say "We're done" anymore, but I do at least have a sneaking suspicion that this is our last time here. If it's not, and given our last week "in province', I think I'd be looking for a child from Guangzhou. :o) (can't believe I'd say such a thing!)
The weather the 1st day (Mon) here was pretty chilly and Sunday too, but not too bad. On Sunday, we went to church on Shamian Island (very interesting, btw) and then shopped or strolled until 5pm when we met the group at Lucy's for dinner (tho we'd seen everyone as we strolled too… or strolled together). Lucy's is for the homesick, with real burgers and fries, grilled cheese, even fish-n-chips, and such. Faith and a few others in our group still ordered Chinese, tho. And on Monday, we went to the park for a wonderful stroll (70 degrees!) and then to Danny's Bagel for dinner as a group again. Danny's Bagel is an Italian restaurant, also for the homesick, but used to be mostly a delivery place, and now a pretty good Italian joint, complete with red/white checked table cloths… and pretty good ravioli, I must say. Thankfully, they also had a few Chinese dishes, so Faith wasn't left out.
Today, Tuesday, most of our group headed for Hong Kong to spend the night in the airport hotel for an early flight on Wednesday. They had earlier US Embassy/Consulate appts, but we had to wait for David's TB test results (planned) for ours, so we head for HK on Thursday, for the flight home on Friday. Pretty cool that we take off in HK, and then land in Chicago exactly 16 minutes later… minus the time difference, that is. We so miss the kids at home tho… and certainly would've LOVED to be headed home tomorrow too. In the meantime, there is one other family here and another AW group too, so we'll hang out and make the best of it.
In the blooming flowers department, David's definitely blooming in the brother department… asserting himself with Sam more and more, but also playing and giggling and running and general boy stuff, as well as the bath tub. The hotel in Lanzhou, of all things, didn't have a bathtub, only a shower, so of course that was traumatic, tho it got a little better as the week went on. But here, there's a huge (wonderful) tub, and we started by dumping all the plastic toys in it. David still cried the first time, tho he'd resolved himself to the fact that he'd have to do it, so he tearfully complied. The second time, he started off crying, but after a few minutes (thanks to the squirty toy) he was actually laughing and smiling. After each time tho, he loves having lotion put on him and I've been using that to make all things ok again.
And Andrew - his blooming has been in eating. I'd been sneaking bits of egg or egg yolk or whatever when we ate, and pretty much each time, he'd cry. But this week, he's taking rice cereal, smashed banana, scrambled eggs, etc and even enjoying it. He's still not sitting up without holding him, but when laying on the bed or in the stroller, his little legs are just-a-going. The other guide suggested his age of 20 mos might be a little off, and perhaps he's barely 12 mos (he only has 4 teeth too). And come to think of it, he definitely reminds me of Theresa at 12 mos. We certainly weren't expecting a baby - both Alex and Sam were the same age - but we're certainly warming up to the idea. He's a sweetie, that's for sure.
Sorry I've been such a lousy blogger - something to do with all these cute little boys running around, I'm sure, but still. Thanks so much for praying for us and for the kids at home - as I said, God's been so gracious to us. Please pray for Alex - he has a sinus infection and AMC had to take him to the doc's yesterday. Can't wait to get home and hug them each tight!!
Love you guys,
Toni for the Benton bunch