Adoption is always a game of “hurry up and wait,” and your time in China is no exception. You get to Asia, and you spend a couple days adjusting to the time change before getting your child; you get your child, then you hang out in province for a couple days waiting for their passport to be ready; you get to Guangzhou and do your child’s medical exam, and then you wait for its results; then you do your Consulate Appointment, and then you wait for your child’s visa to be issued. Right now we’re in the stage in which we’re waiting for the results of our child’s medical exam – in particular the TB test results – so that we can go to the Consulate Appointment.
On Sunday morning we slept in and played a bit. I picked up a new “diaper bag” for our time in China – I’d been so focused on condensing and packing so as to get everything to China that I hadn’t really thought about how I’d carry things around once here. At pretty much all times, I need to have all of my break box supplies, some diapers and wipes and extra clothes for the girls, and bathroom supplies (one should not assume that a public bathroom in China will have toilet paper, a sink, or soap). And sometimes I need to have water bottles, snacks, forks for the girls to use to eat, and some entertainment – but not all of that fits well in my backpack. Saturday night we made a quick stop at the shops near our hotel, and I bought a cheap bag with a fun pattern that coordinates well with our stroller 🙂
Madeleine CaiQun has quite an imagination and has LOVED being able to make up stories and scripts to play with her stuffed animals and toys and involving others in them, particularly her Uncle Danny. As the second child, she’s not often given an opportunity to be in charge, so she is loving this!
Having requested some restaurant recommendations beyond those in the hotel itself, we ventured out in search of a restaurant called “Muslim Chicken” but without an English sign announcing it as such. For those who may follow after us, to get there, you go past the Starbucks and exit out of the hotel near the entrance to the Food Street restaurant. Walk past the 7-11, and keep going until you get to the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. It’s the first restaurant after that – its identification sign (which is not in English) has a green background. I think we could have ordered better, but our food was pretty good, and all of us ate a decent meal for about $11.
Then we headed back to the hotel and got ready to head out for some touring. First we visited the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. I didn’t really know anything about Dr. Sun Yat-sen before that, so it was an interesting introduction to his role in China’s history. Plus it is beautiful!
Next we headed over to the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall / Temple / Academy. It has been a place of worship and a school and is currently a museum of folk art.
We saw beautiful paintings, furniture, and carvings of wood, ivory, and bone.
I got fewer pictures than I would have liked, but that was in part because I spent much of our time there walking around holding FangFang, and she even let me wear her in the Ergo for part of the time!
At times it seems that her preference for Sharon gets stronger by the day, but I also need to continue to remind myself that her tolerance of – and yes, even bonding with – me is also increasing. And she had been with us for less than a week at this point. That’s barely any time. Our time in China can feel so long, but in terms of bonding, it’s really so short. FangFang’s comfort level with all of us has increased dramatically in just this small amount of time, and that’s something for which we can be quite thankful.
We also did just a little bit of shopping, Danny and Sharon more than me. Paying for the costs associated with this adoption has pretty well wiped us out financially for the moment, but it is so important to us to incorporate elements of our daughters’ birth culture into our family’s life, so I came to China with a few specific items in mind that I was hoping to bring home.
One of the fun parts of this trip is connecting with other adoptive families. I’ve been thinking this trip about how I’d talk with people about what it’s like to prepare for an international adoption trip. I think the way I’d describe it is that it’s like preparing to give birth, while at the same time preparing to travel overseas for several weeks to a country in which you do not speak the language, and instead of your child being a baby, you are instead handed an older child with definite thoughts, opinions, preferences, and feelings, all of which they may or may not be able to communicate effectively to you. Whether your trip goes well or not, it is stressful! It is so nice to connect with other families going through the same thing.
After our time at the Chen Family Academy, we went back to our hotel and ventured out in search of dinner. We were looking for a noodle and dumpling place, which we did not find, but we instead ended up at the Macau Street Restaurant, a place at which we’d eaten with our travel group on our last trip! It was particularly memorable because, on our last trip, Miranda had insisted that these individually packaged wipes were “money,” and we brought several of them home with us, and the kids still play with them 🙂 We requested a few extra to bring home from this trip, as well.
For those looking for good places to eat around the China Hotel in the future, head left out of the hotel, past the McDonald’s, past the shops and then the next hotel, go around the bend, and it’ll be soon after that. It was another good meal 🙂
After that it was back to the hotel, where I put FangFang to bed – she hadn’t napped and was quite tired! Daniel and Sharon and I stayed up chatting for a while, and then it was bedtime for everyone!