Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Mommy, you're alive!"

Those were Conner's first words to me in the airport last night. After 18+ hours of time spent either in an airport or an airplane, I felt barely alive. It was all worth it though. Charli and I couldn't be happier to be home. Our amazing journey to China is finished and our journey as a family is just beginning. She is ours forever and always!

I want to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. Your love and prayers have literally carried us along the path to becoming a family. I especially want to thank Ayi Julie for sacrificing 12 days to come along with us. We miss you already!

I'm going to focus my blogging efforts back to my original blog, ClickSwish. Follow us there as our journey continues.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 13, 2009

Last Day

This is our last day in Guangzhou. We go to the Consulate to take the oath today at 4:00, then take the train to Hong Kong. We fly out of Hong Kong tomorrow at 12:45. Our flight lands in Birmingham at 7:50 pm. I can't wait to get home. Chad, have that Dr. Pepper ready. I will see you soon!

Koi pond at the White Swan.
Posted by Picasa

Best Chinese Food Ever

Yesterday after our consulate appointment we ate at a very traditional Chinese restaurant. We were by far the youngest customers and the staff didn't understand a word of what we were saying. Thank goodness the menu had pictures! We ordered water for Charli and they brought out a glass of steaming hot water. This isn't the first time this has happened in China. But this time we couldn't get across to the servers that we wanted bottled water for the baby. Finally the precious waitress lost her patience with the dumb Americans. She poured the hot water into a bowl, blew on it, and gave it to Charli with a spoon. Charli must have done this before because she slurped up the entire glass. Our meal was delicious. We had beef and noodles, pork dumplings, and scallion pancake. We avoided the whole fried birds and pigs feet the other guests were enjoying.
On to something more familiar: The Guangzhou Starbucks is my favorite Starbucks of all time. Charli enjoyed more steaming water this time over ice.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Guangzhou

We also visited the Statue of the Five Rams, the famous symbol of Guangzhou.
The climb to the statue. It was HOT, but just like at the Great Wall, Charli climbed it all herself. Strong girl!
Julie poses at the mall with a Houston Rockets jersey. Yao Ming is of course a hero here.
Guangzhou is covered with whimsical statues like these. Such a beautiful city... I hope we can see it again some day with the WHOLE family.
Posted by Picasa

Liurong Temple

Easter Morning in Guangzhou was spent at the Liurong Temple. The name means "The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees." At first I was apprehensive about visiting a Buddist temple, especially on Easter Sunday. However as I looked upon the statues of Buddah an amazing thought came to my mind. How blessed we are to serve the Living God. As I placed the incense in the canister I gave a prayer of thanksgiving to Christ: first for Charli Grace, then for the beautiful nation of China, and finally for the gift of Easter and all it represents. Have a blessed Easter everyone HE is ALIVE.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Beautiful Guangzhou

Everyone who told us that we would love Guangzhou was right. It is beautiful and the people are so nice. The shop owners are friendly without being pushy. And oh the bargains we have gotten! We are going to a Christian Easter service today and then sight seeing with our guide. Charli is going to wear her Chinese Easter dress I bought in the shop yesterday. Reagan, I got one for you too! I'll post pics this afternoon.

The White Swan Hotel presented Charli with a "Coming Home" Barbie.

Julie took these photos on the way to the medical center for Charli's check up.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Mrs. Strawn's Class

Hi Kids! I miss you guys SO much. I hope you have a great Easter and spring break. Your questions are great. Here are my answers.

What does China look like?

The parts of China I have seen are very pretty. Spring is just arriving here so things are still sort of brown. The trees are starting to bloom though. You can see the white and purple blossoms in my photos of the Great Wall. Beijing is surrounded by mountains, but Zhengzhou is flat. Guangzhou is surrounded by water. I am watching boats pass by on the Pearl River right now. The only thing that isn't pretty about China is the air pollution. Especially in Guangzhou, the city where we are now, the air is very hazy.

What kinds of foods are there and what are you eating?

Charli Grace has bacon and fried rice everyday for breakfast. I usually have American food like french toast or cereal. Julie likes to eat noodles for breakfast. We eat a snack for lunch. Charli really likes chinese cookies, orange drink, and candied dates. For dinner we try to eat real Chinese food. The best meal we have had so far was in Beijing with our friend Annie. She took us to a spicy food restaurant where we had Kung Pao chicken, sweet and sour beef, and fried green beans. Another favorite of ours is fried noodles. We haven't seen sweet and sour chicken or chicken on a stick. But I did see meat balls on a stick in Beijing.

Are the people nice?

The people we have met are very friendly. Sometimes they seem curious about us. Especially in Zhengzhou, where there aren't many American visitors. When people seem to stare I just smile and say "Ni Hao." They almost always smile back.

How is Charli Grace?

Charli Grace is having a blast. She misses the rest of our family, especially her daddy and Conner, but she loves spending time with her Aunt Julie and having all of our attention. I thought seeing her nannies from the orphanage would worry her, but she was happy to see them again. They were happy to see her too. They really liked the hats Mrs. Long made for the children and the Hokes Bluff T-shirts.

What do their houses look like?

In the city people live in huge apartment buildings. The cities are crowded, much more than Atlanta or Birmingham. In the country people live in villages. Their houses are usually made out of cement blocks. They are square and plain.

How long is the Great Wall?

It is over 4,000 miles long. The amazing part is that it was all built by hand.

Are you using chop sticks?

It depends on where we are eating. In the hotels I usually eat with a fork. In the restaurant in Beijing I ate with chopsticks; that was all they had! Julie likes to eat noodles with chopsticks no matter where we eat. Charli Grace sticks to eating with a spoon or her fingers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Crazy Hazy Zhengzhou

After the past few days' excitement we have decided to rest and relax in the hotel. We are finally shaking our jet lag, but we want to avoid the pollution that has been doing a number on our allergies. Zhengzhou is decidedly different from Beijing. It matches what I imagined a Chinese city to be. The streets are busy and loud. There are as many bicycles and motor scooters as cars. The traffic is incredible. Cars press in on each other and bikes dart out in front. However they all somehow manage not to hit each other. I have yet to see a single dented car.

It's Official: Charli and I pose with her certificate of adoption.

The view from our room.
Julie's Breakfast: She had a Chinese breakfast while I stuck to western food. The bowl of rice crispies and milk I had tasted like heaven. The one Chinese delicacy I had was a fantastic pot of green tea. I believe it is Maojian Tea from Xinyang, Charli's birth town. We are going to buy some before we leave. We are praying for an uneventful flight to Guangzhou tomorrow morning. We should be rested up and ready for China's most westernized city.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The trip to Zhengzhou was harrowing to say the least. After we arrived at the airport in Beijing I realized something terrible. I had left my American currency in the hotel safe! Crisis manager Julie took a taxi back to the hotel then met us in Zhengzhou on a later flight. I am so blessed to have such an amazing sister. Not just anyone can successfully navigate China knowing absolutely no Mandarin. We finally made it to the hotel at half past midnight. This morning our guide, Queena, picked us up to go to the adoption center. We met 3 of Charli's nannies from the orphanage. They were impressed with her English. One said her children had studied English for 2 years and didn't know as much as Charli. (Conner, mommy gives you all the credit for being such a good English teacher.)

Charli sat beside me as I was signing the paperwork in the adoption office. Suddenly she burst out singing "Jesus Loves Me." It was all I could do to keep from crying right there. We do indeed serve an amazing God.
At the photo shop: not exactly the Walmart photo lab!
Meeting with nannies: They gave me a huge packet of photos and her Half the Sky growth and development reports. What a treasure!

Our hands stained from stamping the paperwork with our thumb and hand prints.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 6, 2009

Beijing Day 3

This morning we took a walk down Wangfujing Avenue where our hotel is located. The street was bustling with shoppers and other tourists. We managed to cross each intersection without being run over. In Beijing pedestrians do not have the right of way. You have to watch carefully, wait for a group to gather at the curb, and make a run for it!

A Bride and Groom Posing for Portraits

Stone Church 1 Block From the Hotel
It's the Year of the Ox

Busy Streets
Visit to an Art and Calligraphy Studio

Pizza Hut is a Western Delicacy?

Next Stop: Zhengzhou