Today is our last day in China. I have been wanting to write another post since Easter, but my only free time is when Caia is asleep. And when she is asleep, so am I! She is napping this afternoon, but I am awake and I have a little time to sit and write before her Visa is delivered, our final document that allows her to travel home!! Home, such a sweet word it almost brings tears!
I am thrilled to report that last night she went to bed without walking the hallway. She has become more and more relaxed with us and I am optimistic that our attachment will continue to deepen with time. I know the next few days and weeks will be an adjustment as we get home and acclimate to the time zone change and to our American family life. We are enjoying getting to know her and have seen spunkiness in her personality.
Our days here in GZ have included some fun excursions, such as a visit to a park where we played hackey sack with some locals and a dinner cruise along the Pearl River. On Monday, we visited the GZ Zoo:
We have experienced the Chinese culture by trying different foods:
And seeing strange delicacies we were unwilling to consider:
Red Bean Green Tea Cheese Pie
Fried Silkworm Chrysalis anyone?
And we enjoyed McD’s because its comfort food in a land of rice and noodles. Even Caia loves the fries:
We have learned a bit of the Chinese language, but have also determined it is very difficult to pronounce the words and nearly impossible to read the letters. Incidentally, we were wondering what “sush-wa” meant as it is how Caia consistently addresses Van. Our guide, Simon, interpreted for us and it means “uncle!” A few months ago we sent Caia a care package with family pictures. We ordered the package through a woman named Ann in China, sent her the pictures which she labeled in Chinese before sending to Caia’s orphanage. (This is a picture we received back in February of Caia looking at the photo album)
I am sure this is how she knew to call me “mama,” Cambria “jie jie” and the boys “ga ga.” If we get home and she calls one of her uncles “ba ba,” (which means Papa) we will know that there was some confusion in the labeling. We did not receive this album back unfortunately. The bear, or “wa wa,” was also part of our gift package and is nearly inseparable from her:
We came to Guangzhou for our appointment with the U.S. Consulate, which was set for April 2. It is here that we applied for her Visa which allows her to enter the States with us. We anticipated this day with excitement, entered the building filing past long lines of Chinese also applying to enter the U.S:
We were allowed one photo opportunity before going through security, where phones and cameras would be checked until after our appointment.
And here is the long awaited Visa that Simon, our guide, just delivered to us:
Now all that stands between us and her citizenship is about 25 hours of air line travel! Even though this sounds dreadful, I am ready. We are all ready. I ask for your prayers yet again as we navigate through three airports, head through customs, and arrive safely home Thursday evening!
Before we left the U.S. I remember feeling the strangest mix of emotions. Happy and sad, peaceful and worried, content and fearful. They are conflicting emotions, yet I didn’t feel conflicted. I don’t know how to explain it other than trying to say it was like being hot and cold at the same time, not one then the other. I wanted to hold Caia, to finally meet her for myself more than anything. The months of waiting and anticipating had been very hard, yet I also had these thoughts: what if she had attachment issues, what if I couldn’t I handle the unknowns, what if her medical issues were worse than we expected, what if her behavior was difficult and it changed our whole family for the worse, what if I didn’t love her, what if she didn’t love me, what if, what if, what if. On this side of the adoption, I can see that many of these thoughts were unfounded. And many were irrelevant. Of course it would be hard, of course there would be challenges and many unknowns. Van and I didn’t go into this because it was easy. Every step of it was out of our control and we knew it. Unlike anything in my life, this has been my most challenging journey of faith ever. I have seen God’s hand at work, I have witnessed prayers answered, I have seen God’s heart for the orphan and in the process more fully understood His love for me. And now, this journey doesn’t end because we leave China with our daughter. In fact, it really is just beginning. She is 2 years old, and we have a lifetime together. I am looking forward to teaching her English, to taking more trips to the zoo and to teaching her to place her banana peels on the table rather than throwing them on the ground!
I will also need to teach her that in America, it is not ok to drop your drawers and pee on the sidewalk!
I wish I could sit down with each of you over coffee and tell you so much more about our trip. I would tell you about the 72 year old man I met in Kunming who retired and moved to China to run a business but was really a missionary, spreading Christ’s light in a land of darkness. I would tell you of the young girl in Starbucks with the pink flat billed hat with SWAG written across it, who pulled up a chair to talk and told us she was a hip hop dancer and learned to speak English by watching Hollywood movies! I would tell you of the mom who was in China to adopt two children, her 15th and 16th, both born with dwarfism. Or the mom we met from Sweden adopting her 4th child from China, who was traveling without her husband and would be in China for 3 weeks with a 15 month old boy born with anal atresia. I could tell you more about the sights, sounds, smells of China if I could and if we had time. I never want to forget all the details, so please ask if you are interested. This is Caia’s heritage and I may never be back. Talking about the experiences will help me remember them!
Again, thanks for reading about our adventures. It’s been amazing, Caia is beyond what I imagined she would be and my love for her deeper than I thought possible. I can’t wait to bring her home and introduce her to America and everyone we know and love!
Next post will be written from Crestwood, KY! Amen hallelujah!
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