Friday, April 20, 2012

Last full day in China

April 20, 2012

This morning, I was awakened by a great big hug and kiss from Sam!! Be still my heart! What an amazing gift to receive from a child who has only known me for two weeks. Sam was jumping around, all excited for the day to begin, calling “Qichuangle” in a light and lilting voice (Wake up! Wake up!). Leo also gave me a hug this morning, but that is normal for him, being the clinging one. Sam and Ben are the best of buddies, but Sam still regularly lectures (yells at!) Leo. Sam wags a finger in Leo’s face and tells him that he’s not a baby, stop crying and be a boy; at least that is what John tells us that Sam is saying. We ate our last breakfast in Guangzhou, and we packed up our suitcases. Hooray!! Yippee!! Now we have only seven more hours to kill before we board the bus to Hong Kong. All the toys are packed now too, so it’s going to be an especially long couple of days of travel. Our flight is out of Hong Kong Saturday morning, and our first flight is 15 ½ hours long. Then we have several hours in Newark, NY, followed by our 90 min. flight back to Rochester. Please pray that we don’t have trouble with the kids on the plane, and that we don’t have any delays.

We’ve been away from home for sixteen days now. If it wasn’t pouring rain for the last four days, we might have been able to enjoy Guangzhou more. It is a tropical paradise, after all. The pool is gorgeous, although it is outside and we have only been able to swim a few times.

Both Leo and Sam are already beginning to learn English. So far, Leo can say (and understand) the following: Let’s go; Brush your teeth; Banana; apple; more coffee (he’s heard us say that so often); Uno; blue; yellow; red; one; two; three; four; five

Sam seems to understand quite a bit, but he doesn’t actually speak much in English yet. He does answer and recognize his American name already. Leo sounds quite similar to Liu (six) in Chinese. Leo knows he is the sixth brother too, which was our original intent.

At noon, we met Cheng’s parents (the Liang family) for a last meal together. We walked (in the rain) to a dumpling restaurant and gorged on yet another two hour feast. Chinese food in China bears little resemblance to the Chinese food served at restaurants in America. When you have someone who knows where to eat, the food is simply amazing. The glass bowls etc. were wrapped in plastic wrap, but the Liang family still insisted that we use our hot tea to wash our bowls and cups. (We were taught that we should swish it around and pour it out before we ate off the dishes). Mrs. Liang explained that it accepted is tradition. We are always served first, and if we decline to take a sample of the dish our hosts would be insulted, so we eat everything. Some things were too spicy for my taste, and we NEVER ask what type of food is being served, we all just try everything and eat more of the dishes we like the best. Cheng’s parents know that we are not used to Cantonese spicy dishes, and they order with our tastes in mind. Again, they are an amazing family, and we love spending time with them. We had John translate sometimes, but for the most part we just communicate using body language, the little Mandarin I know, and the little English they know.

Today Cheng's parents commented that Leo is adjusting a little better each day, and we learned that he loves corn congee. Our hotel in Guangzhou only served rice congee at breakfast, and none of the children like rice congee, so I’ve never learned how to make it. Now that I know the boys all like corn congee, I will learn how to cook it. I had to tell the two Chinese Grandmas that Leo really couldn’t eat any more food (after four bowls of congee) because his stomach is small (from having just a small amount to eat each day) and Leo will throw up if he eats too much. They want to show their love by feeding our children lots of goodies, and it was hard to tell them no. They just dote on our children. Through the translation of John, we explained that both Ben and KangChao threw up regularly when we first adopted them, and we were trying to spare Leo the experience. Luckily, I did have a plastic bag ready, and as I predicted Leo threw up on the 3 ½ hour (absolutely, a take your life in your own hands during the pouring rain, car trip) to Hong Kong. We’re in the hotel by the airport now, watching KungFu Panda. Really, really, can’t wait to get home! We miss Austin and Connor, and our dogs. We miss having a king-sized bed. We are grateful for the blessings we have received in China, and we are really, really, happy to be going home!!!!! The memories will fade (as will the bruises inflicted by DangTong on my arms) and we will eventually look back at all this with fondness. That is just how it works. People are amazingly resilient. Thank you God, and thank all of you for all your prayers.

Consulate Appointment

April 19 2012

We got up and out the door early this morning because finally, finally, we had our Consulate Appointment! We went by van (15 min away) and sat in a big waiting room with a bunch of other adoptive families. Our kids were the oldest, other than two 13 year old children. The one boy who was almost 14, kept his head down in his hands (maybe crying) the entire time. I felt terrible for him (and his parents) because I remember how hard it was for John, only two years ago. Anyway, we swore the oath (standing up, right hand raised), signed more documents, and then we were back at the hotel by 9:45am. Cheng’s parents were supposed to meet us at 10:30, but then, since it was pouring rain, they didn’t come to our hotel until noon. John, Ben and I went with the Liang family to a wonderful museum. David stayed and napped with Leo and Sam. They had been awake for 6 hours by then, and needed a rest. Ben really enjoyed the museum, and John took over 300 photos. We returned to the hotel at 4:00pm, and all 10 of us walked to a restaurant for an early dinner. As I’ve mentioned before, after an enormous breakfast buffet in the morning, we rarely eat more than a piece of fruit for lunch. We are always hungry by 4p. We walked across the street to another restaurant and again ate a long and elaborate meal. I’m sure I’ve gained quite a few pounds this trip! At 7:30pm, we were once again playing UNO in our room. By 8:30pm, we were back in bed. Tomorrow is our last day in China, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much we are looking forward going home!!!!