Wednesday, June 26, 2013

 Today is our final day in Guangzhou. Tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30am we will leave our hotel for the airport. We will fly to Beijing, and then in the afternoon we will depart from Beijing and fly to Detroit, then finally home to Lexington!
Yesterday we had an interesting time. We went to a 7 story building called One Link Plaza. The best way to describe it would be to say it is like a Vendor's Mall, only seven stories and about three times the size on each floor! It was overwhelming! We were able to find some nice souvenirs and some gifts. Emmie was a trooper, especially considering we took the subway to get there. It took a few minutes for us to figure it out, but once we did it was a great way to travel. Very cheap, clean and fast. Last night we ate dinner in our hotel with two other couples in our travel group. One of the couples left today for America. The other couple leaves Friday.
Today was probably one of the best days we have had in Guangzhou. Our family was completely on our own today. We slept in, then ate a great breakfast in our hotel- the last one! Emmie had her usual- watermelon, french toast, ham and corn.....she likes to eat! 
After breakfast, we decided to venture to the Guangzhou City Zoo. Our guide told us the zoo was very cheap- only about $2-3 per person. She was right! We again took the subway to the zoo and arrived about 11am. It was a hot one today- the Weather Channel said it felt like 104 degrees! I would totally agree! Thankfully the zoo was mostly shaded by trees, but I still lost a lot of sweat! We saw lots of animals and the zoo was very beautiful- pictures are attached. Emmie's favorite animals were the bears and swans. She did very well at the zoo- only a couple of grumpy moments when she didn't want to walk the way we were walking and we had to pick her up- she didn't like that! We stayed at the zoo until after lunch and then rode the subway back- it was a little crazier this time- more people. We ate across from our hotel at The Coffee Club and Emmie had one of her favorites- french fries and ketchup!
We took a break for most of the afternoon, then went on one last great adventure.  We had heard from fellow travel members that there was a Mexican restaurant not too far away from our hotel. We were determined to find it, as Mexican food is our favorite! Zack got out the subway map, and he was sure we could get there via the subway. We wondered if we were crazy- we would be trying to find the restaurant right at rush hour. But we thought, why not, and set out on our great adventure. The second we entered the subway we knew that it was definitely rush hour- it was packed! Hundreds of people everywhere! I felt stressed instantly as Emmie is very independent and usually insists on walking on her own. She didn't have a choice this time- crying or screaming, she was going to be held! We did let her down when we had to use an escalator (which she loves) and she did great. I looked at Zack and basically asked him if he ever thought this would be possible a week ago.....when we couldn't even leave our hotel room??!!!! And now we are standing in a subway car packed in like sardines with hundreds of Chinese people and Emmie is happy as she can be, holding my hand!! It is truly a supernatural work of God. He has moved in Emmie's heart and healing has begun! He has removed the fear and sadness from her heart and has made way for love to begin to grow inside her for her mama and baba!! We are so humbled and blown away by God's grace and faithfulness to our family, and by the prayers of so many of our friends and family.  Yes, we have a long way to go, but we never thought we would be this far along by the time we left China.
So, to finish our Mexican adventure. We did make it to the right stop, but once we got there, we weren't really sure where to go. We knew a general vicinity by looking at the map, but no details. We had gotten off in a very nice part of town, by another huge hotel where we knew other American adoptive families were staying. This area of Guangzhou was very quaint- tree covered streets, lots of little shops, Starbucks, very modern. We walked about a block and stopped and asked if anyone knew of the restaurant, but had no luck. We walked another block- no luck. We were starting to get a little discouraged- we had walked a lot today, we were tired and sweaty and smelly :) Emmie was hanging in there, and was thankfully riding in a stroller. We gave it one last chance and asked a police officer- he didn't know either, but went inside a salon and asked the workers. They didn't know either, but there was a Mexican man inside who knew the restaurant and overheard us!! He pointed us in the right direction, and we found the restaurant, named Tekila :) We had fajitas, chips and salsa. It felt like home! The taste was different but good. They don't serve rice and beans with the fajitas, oh, and they don't refill your chips and salsa :) Emmie didn't care too much for the salsa, but she loved the fajitas and especially the guacamole. She will fit right in with our family! It was a great celebration dinner. Pictures are attached.
It was getting dark by the time we finished eating, and we were hoping the subway wouldn't be too packed.
Thankfully, it wasn't, and we had a nice ride back to our motel.  After a bubble bath and story time, Emmie is now asleep and we are finishing packing. 5:30 will come early!
I can't believe I am saying this, but it is hard to believe it is already time to leave China. Our first week here was so difficult, it seemed like it would never be time to leave. We missed the boys and our parents terribly and just wanted to come home. However, our time in Guangzhou has been much more fun and a great time of bonding with Emmie.  Our hotel has been amazing. The site seeing has been super. The food is pretty good, too. But we are ready to go home. We are so excited for Emmie to get to meet the rest of her new family, see her home and her room, and realize that she is HOME FOREVER. I am reminded of some of the lyrics to "When Love Takes You In" by Steven Curtis Chapman. For Emmie, "in a moment what has been is lost in what will be". Her "what will be" isn't far away now. Perhaps more than with any other adoption our family has experienced, we have truly seen in a tangible way the redemptive work of God through the miracle of adoption. It's not that our boys lives were changed any less, or that our lives were changed any less with their adoptions- they are miracles and our lives would not be complete without them, no doubt about it.  But with Emmie we have seen the most sad, angry ( I mean kicking, hitting, screaming, pinching angry) and broken little girl become a happy, strong, fun loving,
and smiling bundle of joy. It is just a beautiful reminder not only of the redemptive power of physical adoption, but even more so of the mind boggling gift of spiritual adoption, and the amazing way that God takes all of our brokenness and redeems us from a life of death, into his eternal family. Praise be to God.
This post also woudln't be complete without us saying a huge THANK YOU from the very bottom of our hearts to my parents, and to Zack's parents. We could not have made this trip without them. They have done a wonderful job taking care of our precious boys- and it isn't an easy job! How blessed we are to have not had to worry about their wellbeing, even for a moment. And to have such amazing support throughout our trip through talking with them on the phone via Viber, or the computer via Skype. We couldn't ask for more wonderful parents. We love you guys!
Well, that wraps it up. This will be all from China. We would do it all again- the long plane rides, eating food that you really aren't sure what it is composed of, visiting Chinese hospitals and getting IV's, being asked to have your picture taken (yes, apparently tall, pale, white women with blonde permed hair is very special in China :) being confined to a motel room for three days with a precious child that rejects everything you try to offer her, heat indexes of over 100 degrees and all the rest. We would do it all again in a heartbeat. No questions asked. It has been an amazing adventure and we are so blessed to have had it. Even more blessed to be bringing home this good and perfect gift from above!!
See you in the USA!!!! Keep those traveling prayers coming!!



Debbie Gilbert said...

Wow! All I can say is WOW! Praying until you make it to Spring Gate!

Bettina said...

I am so happy to read all this good things! Praise the Lord! We keep praying for your travel and health! See you soon! Love