Thursday, October 23, 2014

One more day!

What day is it???   Shew, whee! 

Yesterday we had the all-important appoinment at the U.S. consulate.  It's the very last hoop we have to jump through as today we'll receive her visa into the United States *insert hallelujah chorus*.   The moment we land in Detroit tomorrow,  Emmajane Rose Rice will officially be a U.S. Citizen!   Outside of the consulate, swarms of Chinese folks stood in line waiting for a chance to obtain a visa into the United States.   It was such a proud moment and great privilege to have  VIP access as we zipped straight to the front of the line - in the special American citizen-only lane.

Check out the building behind her!
We also had the opportunity to get a photo with our entire travel group.  These folks ROCK!
Travel Group 2136, 2137 and 2138

Yesterday also happened to be Joe's birthday.  Our sweet guides suprised him with a cake delivered to the room and we celebrated the evening with a bunch of folks from our travel group at a local Mexican restaurant which was a nice change.    Totally burned out of Chinese food- need a big garden salad, lasagna and sweet tea!  Emmajane topped the evening off dancing with some of her new friends.   
Happy Birthday, Joe!

Dancing with her friend, Brady

Today, we are just killing time waiting for her visa to arrive at the hotel.  Joe and I are fighting an upper respiratory infection going on from all the stress and pollution and started antibiotics (yuck!). Please, please pray for the Lord's healing touch.  Traveling 24 hours+ a 5-year-old + insane jetlag is physically and emotionally exhausting and we need to be as healthy as possible.  Next post will be from Kentucky, thank you Jesus!

Speaking of our arrival home, Emmajane is very different from her brother.  Unlike Liam, she's terrified of strangers and will crawl way back into her shell when she's around people she's never met.   To reinforce bonding and adjust her to her new home,  only Mama and Baba can provide her needs right now.   As much as you may want scoop her up and squeeze those gorgeous little round cheeks, we know we can't do that until she figures out who her family is and becomes more comfortable.   However, I could sure use the hugs so bring it on!   It's sure to be a tearful reunion as a family of 6.  I can't wait to set eyes on those 3 love pickles waiting on us.    I can feel their sweet arms around my neck already!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some fun and not-so-fun times....

Today was the dreaded medical appointment.   She did GREAT- even giggled as the doctors examined her-  until that crazy TB test blood draw.    This was the one part where the medical staff insists the parents stay out.  So behind closed doors, I could hear multiple cries and shrieks of panic over and over again.  She was in there for what seemed like forever.  All I could do is stand there and imagine doing a kung foo kick to knock the door down and ending up in a Chinese jail somewhere being interrogated and bailed out by our guides.  Poor girl finally emerged with both arms held out (they had to poke her multiple times to find a vein) and with 2 frazzled nurses telling us how strong she is and that she kicked them "really hard".  Is it wrong that I wanted to give Yinchan a high-five after I heard that??    After some Skittles and Momma-lovin', we both recovered.

Waiting her turn!

Eye exam continued...

  A wine dispenser in the lobby of the buidling where the clinic is!!
The Skittles may have worked for her but THIS is clearly for the Mamas!

In the evening, we had the opportunity to enjoy some pizza and take a cruise down the Pearl River with some of our travel group.   It truly was beautiful!  One thing about this trip- I have a new appreciation for China, it's land and it's people.  Yinchan came out of her shell a little bit last night.  Normally she freezes up in public and Joe is getting some sort of "complex" about it.  She danced on the top floor of the boat with her Baba with lights all around her and the breeze flowing through her hair.  Really- it was quite a sight.

A few of my new fellow-adoptive Mamas!

Viewing the 3rd tallest building in the world on the 4th largest river in China. 

This morning after sleeping in (allelulia!)  we ventured out to the Pearl Market to make our traditional wedding pearl purchase. After seeing all the "bling", the girl begged and begged to get her ears pierced the entire cab ride home!     Yes, we have another girly girl on our hands.   Lord, help us!
Baba concentrating on picking out just the right one!

A sweaty little princess sporting her new pearls!

Tonight we'll enjoy dinner at a Portugese restaurant with our group and prepare for the BIG appointment at the U.S. consulate tomorrow morning.   Speaking of the good ol' USA- I miss home so much!  I am counting down the days until we are reunited with our 3 other gorgeous babies, famiy and friends.  A few things this trip I could not have lived without:   Facetime, WeChat, and the daily letters/notes of prayer and encouragement given to me to open one day at a time by my dear friend Emily and my sweet church family.     Only 3 more "sleeps" here until we are HOME!    I've already started packing the suitcase....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Half Way Until Home!

We are in Guangzhou!  The sub-tropical southern city where the US consulate is!    As we walked through the doors of the familiar China Hotel, the sights sounds and smells brought back SO many memories of our last trip.  It feels like we were just here yesterday!

Yinchan had her first plane ride yesterday and did pretty well.  She didn't like the being strapped in, so the car seat is gonna be fun when we get home.  Other than that, she did great!
Walking thru the Zhengszhou airporrt with Mama

Getting ready to walk on the plane!

Playing with a toy airplane waiting for take-off!

Striking a pose at baggage claim in Guangzhou

Our new guides, Kathy and Jocelyn, were thrilled to see us!

Today we went on a tour of the city which included 3 stops:   a 1400 yr. old Buddist temple, the Old Chen House and the arts and crafts shopping center.  The Buddist temple was beautiful....but disturbed me and made me feel very sad to see how so many people of the world worship statues and not The One True God.    Someone I know said, "Every religion believes that theirs is the right one.  How do you know for sure that yours is the right one?   In addition, we need to accept and embrace all that others believe."    Today, I several epiphanies.  If you have those questions or beliefs yourself, please feel free to message me if you truly have an nudging, not for those who simply enjoy a good "poltical banter". It's heavy on my heart.   Stepping down from my soapbox now....

Love the super old Banyan tree behind us...

After the tours, we went shopping and I learned from our guide that here, jade is like gold and possibly given during 3 big occasions- birth, marriage and old age (from the children).  We purchased a small bit of jade to pass along to our new daughter at the perfect time and some souveniers for family back home.    The BIG meltdown happened my wonderful Joe encouraged me to shop for what we were there for, she totally freaked out on him.   It's been coming- I could feel it.   She screamed her brains out and was not able to be consoled until Mama hugged her.       Glad for a few things- 1)  that she got it out - a good cry helps!  and 2) that she appears to want her Mama.   Shoot, there are times I only want my Mama and wish I could have her here to comfort me!

Afterward, we napped (with our sweet little Asian Cabbage Patch Doll and panda) and did some paperwork.  Tomorrow, we have the big medical appointment.   Not looking forward to the mandatory TB blood draw...
Napping with friends!

We just had a nice bath and I've gotta run.....she's singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in Mandarin with her Baba and I want to just soak it in!  My heart may explode!!!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Day at the Park

Nothing poetic to write.....just some pictures of our day at the park while we waited for her passport to be processed.  (which just arrived to our room - one big step closer to HOME!)

My VERY favorite pic of her so far!

Bubbles were a big hit

The park

The park

Sunset on the last evening in her hometown.  Bittersweet.

Silly kissy faces!

Joe hijacked a badminton game at the park - he was quite the sight!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Big Day, Big Tears

Wow, emotionally challenged drained is an understatement.   

Yinchan has been truly a dreamboat.  Eating well, sleeping well, seemingly happy and healthy.   Loving on us non-stop freely giving hugs and kisses. Seeking mama or baba when one isn't right there.  Testing her boundaries some which means she's starting to feel more comfortable around us. Bonding beautifully- no, really....she is!   Markedly warming up to us each day.
Naptime snuggle

Trying to get the courage up to get in the water with Baba

She sings, she dances.   (only in the hotel room...where she feels safe to completely let loose).   She's silly and has a big, hearty contagious laugh.  It's incredible how I can already see how beautifully she's meant to be part of the Rice family circus- it's like God hand-picked her for us!    We hadn't seen a tear on her face once......until today's tour at her orphanage.

Ok, I've never been at an orphange (social welfare institute)  and could only imagine what was it was like.   NOTHING could have prepared me for what we experienced today. 

We visted the foster family's apartment where shes's lived for years.  The moment her foster mom approached her, it was over.  Big tears of fear and sadness  Lots of reassurance and comforting got her through.  We saw where she ate, lived and slept.   It was a very cheerful environment and I believe she was very loved by her foster family.
Her foster care aparment. Sweet "family" pictures covered the walls!

Her foster mom.  Was so grateful to tell her "thank you" in person

She slept on the bed on the left

The foster care family apartment complex

We met her foster big brother and she wouldn't give him a hug goodbye.  The girl woudn't have anything to do with anyone but us.     I almost had a complete mental breakdown when big tears started rolling down the little man's cheeks.   Gave him some momma lovin', and was overjoyed to find out that he has a forever family coming for him.   Praise God or I think I might have had to somehow fit him in my suitcase!
Her older foster-brother

We kicked off our shoes and visited one of the many, many rooms where the children are.   My arms couldn't hold enough of them as I scooped as many sweet babies up as I could at a time.  Praying over them, I held back the tears knowing that  some of them would never find a forever home and felt a fierce passion to advocate for these sweet babies.  Yes, Lord..."break my heart for what breaks yours."  Mission accomplished. 

Oh, how she just gazed into my eyes.  I wanted to take her home!

Shoot, I wanted to take them ALL home! 

Soon after, we visited Yinchan's classroom and teacher.  It was really a super nice place and her little friends were happy to see her.
Her teacher and the classroom

The classroom play area

A few of her friends there to say goodbye

Then...the big whammy.  We were given a HUGE incredibly special treasure that we will share with
Yinchan one day in many years when the time is right. A gift that is priceless and gives us a few answers to our many, many questions.  Shocked and grateful, the big ugly Momma-tears were flowing.   Although it was a super-big-hard-overwhelming day, I believe it brought all of us some closure that we needed to move on to the next chapter.  

Today we will receive Yinchan's passport so we can hop on a plane tomorrow to Guangzhou where we have her medial appointments and appointment at the US Consulate.  Hard to believe that we will be on our way home sweet home in just one week from today!