We've had a great past few days. On Friday we left Wuhan. It was sad to leave Conner’s hometown and sad to leave our WONDERFUL guide, Joanna. She did a great job navigating us through all of the necessary paperwork and became a good friend. We hope to be able to keep in touch with her and meet up some time in the future J.
Saturday, Christi took Conner for his medical exam (poor guy had to get four shots L) and did the final adoption paperwork with our guide, Jason. This is the fourth time we have had Jason as our CCAI guide in Guangzhou. He has also become a friend to our family. For some reason he no longer seems to believe us when we tell him this is our last trip…. It turned out to be a crazy stormy day, so we just stayed in the hotel for the most part. Graci, Cali and Conner watched some Chinese TV shows. Taylor and Parker found the NBA playoffs, although it was a different experience watching them with Cantonese commentators.
Sunday we walked over to a beautiful nearby park. It’s a large park with thousands of people there at any given time. While we were strolling along a teenage girl became quite taken with Taylor. She bravely approached him and asked if she could take a picture. Taylor was flattered. We took a ride on some paddle boats. At the end of our hour, we decided to race back. Taylor, Christi and Conner had a head start on the rest of us in the other boat, but Christi somehow managed to dump the boat’s life preserver rings in the lake and they had to spend the next 20 minutes slowly circling around and trying to collect them. Score one for Dad’s crew! In the evening we visited our beloved Shamian Island. This is where we stayed during our first four trips to Guangzhou. The White Swan hotel is still being renovated, but much closer to completion than it was when we visited in 2012. We've become regular enough visitors that two of the shopkeepers on the island remember us when we pass through. We had a dinner at Lucy’s, and Christi ordered her favorite peppered spaghetti dish. It’s amazing how much of a tradition some things about this trip have become. Really, since the beginning of 2007, we've only had one fewer trip to China than we've had Christmases! No wonder we've developed deep ties to some things over here!
On Monday we did something new. We visited the ChimeLong Paradise amusement park. This is a six-flags type park about an hour taxi ride from our hotel. They have a few very spectacular rides, including a roller coaster that claims to have one of the highest drops in the world. It was AWESOME!!! It was the first ride of the day for us and Conner’s first roller coaster ever. When the ride came to a stop, Christi couldn't pry his fingers away from the bar he was holding on to. Scared him silly, but he loved it and kept wanting more. Another coaster had 10 inversions, including a four-in-a-row corkscrew. Way fun. Another adoptive family came with us on this day. They have been living in China for two years and they have a teenage daughter who has missed interaction with other teenage girls who speak her language. She had a great time with Cali and Graci. While at the park, Cali and Graci purchased the cutest little masks ever. I have the cutest girls!!! The only hitch in this day at the amusement park was the beginning. With seven of us, we had to split up into two taxis. They took us to different entrances at opposite ends of the park. We couldn't use our phones to call each other and it took us just over an hour to finally meet up! Oh well, it still turned out to be a great time.
To end our day we took a short river cruise on the Pearl River. This is another tradition for us in Guangzhou. The river is so beautiful at night. The surrounding buildings, bridges and other boats are decorated in all kinds of lights. It’s a really nice way to spend the evening. We brought some Papa John’s pizza on board and had a lot of fun. The LeSuers, the other adoptive couple we met up with in Xi’an, came along with us and we were able to meet their beautiful new son, Caleb. At one point in the evening, Christi and I got to spend a few moments alone on the upper, uncovered deck. It was very romantic to be there with my sweetheart. A perfect ending to a momentous trip together.
Christi got on the plane home at 6 a.m. this morning. It’s funny. I often spend a night away for work. I occasionally spend four or five nights away. But it never feels as lonely as these trips to China when Christi leaves a couple of days before I do. I don’t know if it’s because we’re brand new parents or because we’re continents away from each other or what. But my heart truly breaks when I watch her taxi drive away. I love you, sweetheart. Here’s hoping you have a great sleep somewhere over the Pacific tonight! (OK. This is rather sappy, but true. As I've been writing this post, I've been listening to a playlist on my phone. Just as I started writing about how much I’m missing my honey, Maroon 5’s “Daylight” came on. I mean, come on! It’s a sign. We were meant to be!!! Love you, hon. The song just ended and I started it again J.)
So on we go. Conner and I went to the US Consulate today and I took the oath for him to get his immigrant visa. We’ll receive the visa tomorrow and leave for Hangzhou. I may not be able to post again until we get home. If not, thanks for all of the love and support. We continue to be amazed at the beautiful life we have been blessed with. We’re excited for this next chapter to unfold.
|Joanna with our family at the Wuhan airport|
|At the park across from our hotel|
|How could she NOT want this guy's picture?|
|At Lucy's Restaurant on Shamian Island|
|The Amusement Park|
|Graci and Cali with their cute masks!|
|Cali loves selfies :)|
|Hey, we look OK for being the parents of 10 kids!|