It’s 1:40 in the afternoon there and 1:40 in the middle of the night for all of you. It’s so strange knowing that you all are sleeping while we are awake 🙂
Jude is sleeping peacefully though after a long morning of sightseeing. We left at 9:30am and returned at 1:15. This was one of our longest outings and he did fairly well considering. He got very upset a time or two, but we made it through pretty well. We do these sorts of outings almost everyday. The first week of our trip consisted of mandatory meetings and appointments for the adoption. This second week has been more shopping and sightseeing with our group and guide while we wait for our consulate appointment (which is tomorrow.)
We typically travel in a large van that seats 3 families. A few times we had 4 families and those days we would ride in our own bus, which was so nice. We have a driver and our guide Helen who takes us everywhere, helps us, and kinda babysits us. Before going it sounded sorta weird to travel with a guide all the time, but we have really loved having Helen with us. She loves to joke, so she and Michael hit it off right off the bat. Helen (which she goes by for our sake, but isn’t her real name) has lived in this area for most of her life. She knows just what she is doing and knows the ins and outs of the adoption process. She carries us through all of it and tries to teach us about Chinese history and culture whenever possible. It has been really great working with her.
The other families on our trip also adopted from the special needs program. There is a sweet baby (Shaun) with a partially missing ear, 3 year old (Hayden) who has had a repaired cleft lip and palate, and also an almost 3 year old little girl (Hadley) who is mostly deaf. All of the children are so cute and doing very well. It is neat getting to know these children and families and knowing what a wonderful life these kids will have.
Yesterday we went to a big indoor store that was several levels. It was very much like a flea-market in the states. Much hustle and bustle, noise, sights and sounds. We thought Jude would love it, but he struggled the whole time.
Today we went to a Historical Museum that was cool to us but would be very boring for a toddler. It was quiet there, with low lighting, not crowded at all.. Jude did great there and was very peaceful. We are beginning to see that over-stimulation is not a good thing for him.
As far as language goes, until today we had yet to find anyone who could help us. Our guide has recognized a few words he has said that are interchangeable with Mandarin Chinese, but since he speaks a rare dialect, she has told us she isn’t able to offer much help. There is no google translator or apps for Shantonese 😦 Today while visiting a silk shop, Helen found a woman who speaks Shantonese. She was able to teach Helen “yes” and “no.” Then when Helen was teaching us, our driver piped in to say that he also knows Shantonese. He taught us “sleep” and “stop crying.” I think these 4 words/phrases will help us a bit 🙂
Last night we found a cool restaurant that was a little like Panera Bread. It was so good! Jude got pasta and loved it. When we got back to our hotel they were doing a tree lighting. Since Christmas isn’t celebrated here, we assumed it was just a very nice gesture for the many American and European families staying here. Is was very cool. They even had a choir that sang Christmas carols. I of course cried because it reminded me of home (the kids) but I also loved it and was so thankful for it. Michael belted out the carols (one of his very favorite things to do.)
Tonight I will have Michael upload some photos and videos.. As the days get closer to coming home, we are doing much better. We are able to enjoy our time in China much more knowing that we will be seeing the kids soon. Two weeks felt like forever to be away, but 3.5 days seems totally do-able. We feel more like ourselves and are finding a better groove with this little guy. I think he is gonna really love being with his new big brother and big sister and being able to spread out in a home rather than a tiny hotel room. As always,thank you for the prayers and kindness. I have been reciting a passage over and over for the past couple weeks, and it has been cool to see that a few friends have sent the same passage as encouragement.
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Cor 12:9
We. like Paul, will continue to share our weakness 🙂 We continue to let Him carry us with His strength, and He is and will continue to do so. It’s hard to feel so weak, but also so good, as it keeps us dependent on Him.
Again, we post these details to remember this journey and to someday share it with little Jude. We want him to know how much we have always loved and wanted him. We want him to know that the Savior hand picked him for our family and it was He who made it all happened, and provided the resources and strength to carry us through.
Love to you all!