While we were in China, I found it much easier to update Facebook than to blog here. I apologize for not updating here as well. But I do want to write a couple blog entries to catch up. This one we go through approximately the first week.
May 28th – We left our home about 4:30am to catch our flight. The feeling was so surreal. So many details floating through our minds. It is almost like you just can’t let yourself think of the reality because there are too many what ifs.
May 29th – After a flight delay in Shanghai, we arrived at the airport in Guizhou province at 2:30am. Our guide picked us up at the airport but let us know that we would not see him again on Saturday or Sunday. This was a shock as we were certain we had paid for guide services for these days. We had not been able to sleep on our flights so we were so tired. We then slept for about three hours and were wide awake. Fatigue and culture shock were so strong. But it is incredible to look out our window and realize how much closer to Lydia we were. We had a sweet bed in our room ready for her. Despite all this, we were excited and ready to start the day.
Breakfast buffet looks very doable but more like lunch buffet. The menu remained pretty much the same for the entire stay at the Novotel. The hotel was lovely and our room was great. We had a corner room that gave us a big window area to look out upon the city. The only thing that was really hard about the hotel was it was somewhat rare to find someone who could understand English. It was better during business hours but hard in the evenings or weekend. This made any room service needs or ordering food extremely difficult. Honestly, it was humbling. We take so much for granted in our ability to communicate through verbal and written communications.
After breakfast, we took the crudely drawn map we had been given and found our way to Walmart. We were in search of clothing and shoes to donate to the orphanage. I didn’t take pictures but Walmart in China only resembles Walmart here in logo and name. The smells alone are enough to put an American in shock. But I can’t tell you how thankful we were for being able to shop there. We found the cutest leather shoes for about $10 a pair (nothing like you would find in Walmart here) and stocked up on them in various sizes. Then we added outfits in various sizes (they were mostly Carters but had the option to cut them for split pants which are common for potty training in China). Found a few other supplies. We had our backpacks and sacks full and heavy so we took the trek back to the hotel. The walk was probably about a mile and half (total guess). We got lots of strange looks. I did learn quickly that when someone was looking hard to say Ni hou. Almost every time they would return the Ni hou with a big smile. The walking was a good opportunity to see the city and the people in their daily lives. Truly. . .God has given us such a deep love for the Chinese people. We greatly enjoyed the day. The only thing we quickly realized was of concern was food. Chloe and Jim were really struggling so we headed to KFC which was connected to our hotel. BIG MISTAKE! It truly only made the situation worse. Rather than American food, it was more like bad Chinese food made to seem more American. The fries were the only thing that was edible.
May 30th – We took a taxi and went to meet a friend. She helps with some orphans and was in need of medicines. It was the most lovely visit. We were then dropped off at a mall area so we could shop for more clothing for the orphanage. There was a Pizza Hut there and we were assured it was good so we tried it. It was amazing! Much better than Pizza Hut here. A perfect crust that was tender crisp and loads of cheese. So onto a department store and Carrefour (a little like Walmart but cheaper quality). There were both a bust. So we began the walk back to the hotel. We didn’t like walking through this area as much and in fact had our only uncomfortable moment during this walk. A man was cornering Chloe and I saying something. I finally pointed to myself and said Mama. That seemed to stop the barrage of talking and cornering momentarily and we took off. Perhaps he only wanted to know why a Chinese little girl was with me but it was not a happy moment. All other times we always felt safe there.
Once back at the hotel, we were tired but knew that we had to finish shopping for the orphanage. So we made a plan to wait until morning and head back to Walmart. We were to leave to get Lydia at 2:30pm the next day so that would allow time.
June 1st – The day we had been waiting for so long!!! We were up and showered early. Had breakfast and headed to Walmart. This time we bought as many clothing items as we could in all sizes. We again filled our backpacks and the bags we brought back (you buy your bags in China). Loaded down we headed back to the hotel. We tried to stay busy organizing the room, the clothing and shoes for donation, paperwork, items to take for Lydia etc. But the day went so slowly. At 2pm we could wait no more and headed to the lobby to meet the guide. He was late!!!! Then traffic was horrible! We were late! When we arrived at the office, she was already there. We saw the back of her head and instantly knew it was her. We were so excited. . . she was not. The beautiful lady from the orphanage tried to gently guide her toward me and hand her over but the tears came hard. Finally, she just gave her to me. She sobbed until she fell asleep while we took care of some paperwork and ask some questions. We also had an opportunity to show pictures and videos from two families that had previously adopted from this same orphanage. They were so excited. They said they want to see more of these and want to stay in contact. It was such a sweet time. Their concern for the children was very evident.
Back at the hotel, we changed Lydia as she was soaked. Our guide came back to take care of some things and we begged him to help us order some dinner. After trying a couple restaurants that were either no longer there or way too busy (read hot, tired, emotionally drained, carrying a shutdown toddler around in a very big circle containing lots of stairs and distance) we ended up order at one right behind our hotel. We took it back to the room to eat since we were spent. It was AMAZING local food.
Lydia went to bed easily. I think it was an escape from the strange people and environment.
June 2nd – Again, up early. Showered, dressed and breakfast. The off to finalize the adoption. Lydia is much better today. She is talking but we unfortunately don’t understand what she is saying. She is enjoying a few of the toys.
June 3rd – Although the adoption is final, we need all the documents and her passport before moving on to Guangzhou. So we spent Wednesday and Thursday sightseeing a bit. We loved Guiyang. Truly our only issue was being able to order food.