Our internet has been a little spotty and we've been really busy, so I have a lot to catch up on. We are now in our first full day in Guangzhou. Today we had the medical exam and then a paperwork meeting to gather the paperwork for our Consulate Appointment. I cannot say enough about the amazing staff here who have just taken care of everything and made it go so easy and smoothly. We had an amazing guide, Lin, in Beijing, awesome people in Hohhot, Aggie and Rocky, and now Jack who is just the most organized person to handle the paperwork for 12 families at once!
So, on Wednesday in Hohhot, we went to a souvenir shop. However, when I say souvenir shop, I'm talking about a three story two building shop which had lots of beautiful things from his province with good prices. It was very nice to be able to get gifts for family and friends at home in one place, we bought things to give him on future birthdays, and the last room was lots of food, so he was able to pick out some favorite things that he likes and we could keep some familiar things around for him. Crunchy disks of cheese and little bags of seasoned beef tendons anyone? :) We were able to go to his finding spot and take pictures so I am so grateful that we will have those for him. We also ate at a delicious dumpling place which was so good!
On Thursday, we went to a natural history museum, ate at a hot pot restaurant, picked up his Chinese passport and headed back to the hotel to pack. On Friday, we got up to head to the airport. It was a little bittersweet to know that he is leaving his birthplace, but we know that this will be a new adventure for him. He did well on his first flight after a minor temper tantrum about the seat belt and having to sit alone and not getting to throw tomato crackers. After that, he was happy with markers, snacks, a seriously generous lunch for an airplane, and then Monkey Lunch Box on my phone when it got boring. We arrived in Guangzhou yesterday afternoon and oh my goodness The Garden Hotel is just amazing! We got to walk around Guangzhou last night and replenish our water and snack supply and we ate dinner at KFC-total Americans.
We had the medical exam today, and it was crowded. There are so many families here who were trying to get in and out before the Chinese New Year. Everything went smoothly, though, and everyone was in good spirits and we got to meet some people from other adoption groups. I met a totally nice homeschooling mom who lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband homeschool their five biological children and this is their 5th adoption, so 10 children! She was great to talk to. Tomorrow we get to go to Shamen Island, which is where all of the adoptions used to take place. It's a little more historical and there are shops and apparently everyone likes to eat lunch at Lucy's. Starting Monday, the people in our group who have children under 2 have their consulate appointments.
One thing I really felt called to share with everyone really came to me when we were sitting there waiting for the medical appointments. If anyone out there is considering adoption, you can totally do this! I don't even know you, but, seriously, you can totally do this. While preparing for everything it is just so hard to imagine how this will actually look. There's so much fear and I know it's so easy to just take the safe route, but these children are just beautiful and so happy and there are so many of them growing up in orphanages. They are so excited to have a Mama and a Baba and as God's hands and feet on earth, I would like to encourage anyone thinking about taking the plunge-you can TOTALLY do this. Now that I've seen it all play out, it's totally doable.
So, we're really heading to the home stretch of this part of the journey. We tour tomorrow, have some free time Monday through Wednesday, Consulate Appointment on Thursday, get visa on Friday, head to Hong Kong on Friday night and fly home on Sunday. Thank you again and again to everyone for prayers. We feel surrounded by God and His presence is much needed here.