Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday - our LAST day in China!

Breakfasts at some of the hotels in China are HUMONGOUS! There are multiple rooms of food - both Chinese and American. The breakfast at our hotel is much smaller. It is mostly Chinese food - with toast, waffles (not as good as frozen according to Rhiana), and cereal (that is some what stale). I have fun filling Jin Hua Bryan's plate with all sorts of interesting goodies. He tends to like fruit, noodles, and rice congee for breakfast.

The congee and porridge station

A *long* line of choices!

You could have beef ribs for breakfast!

Or fried eggs or chicken wings?

Or boiled egg? (Jin Hua Bryan loves these) or chicken meal sausage?

or milk immersion corn? One of Jin Hua Bryan's favorites!

Or fried udon noodles? or green vegetables?

I usually give Jin Hua Bryan a serving of whatever noodles they are serving as he seems to like them. I did skip it the morning they served spaghetti!

Your choice of tea, coffee, warm milk, or coffee/milk?
(The coffee/milk is tasty!)

There is always a spread of sandwich fixings - without the bread

This is where Rhiana and I tend to concentrate :)

Although garlic bread isn't that good for breakfast! The cakes, pita, buns, rolls are all very dry and not sweet. So we go for the waffles and toast....and bring our own peanut butter - why not!

The fruit, drinks, and cereal. The cereal display is small. When we have cereal we end up emptying the whole display bowl!

Every morning at breakfast watermelon, cantaloupe, and one other fruit is served. Today it was dates! Who knew what dates looked or tasted like not dried?! Jin Hua Bryan LOVED them!

The next day it was grape tomatoes for the middle fruit. Jin Hua Bryan ate them by the handfuls!

Napkin anyone? What? You say it looks more like a tissue? Why yes - it feels that way too!

Most restaurants give you one napkin. Many of the restaurants charge extra for napkins!

McDonald's has a sink so you can wash your hands. It is located right by the door.

Pizza Hut gives out plastic gloves when you order take out - so you don't get your hands greasy!

When you don't wear a watch....and you are not turning your cell phone on to avoid international charges.....you have to carry your TRAVEL clock around to be sure not to be late to appointments!
We are COOL like that :)

Rhiana learned how to write her name!
(Yes Alex - she is doing school!)

I found a kid's devotional!

Jin Hua doesn't know how to read Chinese - but I love that it contains some of his culture!

Someone forgot to tell Jin Hua Bryan that it *might* be harder to walk in hotel, adult size slippers!

A belly laugh!


A friend described it so well - that I asked if I could quote her. I might be a tad bit tired - could be all that walking :)

"In China there are two ways to cross a street and both are nothing like where we live. The smaller streets you cross and hope you don't get hit.

 The pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. The cars do NOT slow down. 

Other pedestrians will shove you out of the way to get where they are going. The larger streets are separated by a white fence down the median which means the cars can not turn around in the streets and pedestrians can not cross. The cars have to go up on an exit ramp, turn around on the ramp and go the other directions if they need to turn that way. The pedestrians have two options (depending on which one is available). Some places have underground crossings to get to the other side of the street and others have pedestrian bridges you cross over the street. Either way you climb 100 steps up and 100 steps down. There is so much walking in China."

 This is my LAST blog post from China!

We leave for home at 3am tomorrow morning!
We will travel for 24 hours and then hopefully I will be HOME to hug ALL my babies!!

THANK YOU for all your prayers!!

We have definitely felt a peace that only God and prayers surrounding us can bring!

I won't continue to blog everyday - but will probably post pictures for the next few weeks as Jin Hua Bryan transitions/adjusts to life in our family.

Blessings from China! Sandy

Monday, October 20, 2014


Today we had our appointment at the US Consulate. The scheduling of this appointment is what our whole trip was based upon. This appointment is scheduled first, then Gotcha Day, then all the other needed appointments. 

We applied for Jin Hua Bryan's visa. They said there is a 99% chance it is ready tomorrow afternoon.

Assuming it is ready then we will leave for the airport at 3am....YES - I just wrote 3am!!

It is a 3 hour ride and we need to be at the airport at 6am to hopefully catch an 8:30am flight.
Our current plan is to fly Hong Kong to Tokyo to Detroit.

We will see if God has other plans for our travels. We feel at peace. We know we will get home soon. We have our son! All is good!

Once Jin Hua Bryan goes through immigration at the Detroit Metro. Airport he will be a US citizen!!

After our consulate appointment we spend a little time walking around looking at the sights.

We love the lions that are everywhere!

It was VERY smoggy! That is The Canton Tower in the background.

We celebrated our Consulate appointment with an ice cream cone from the corner store (similar to a drumstick ice cream cone). We think that it was Jin Hua Bryan's first ice cream cone! After the first few licks he got the hang of it!
(Notice the napkin in his hand....he doesn't like to get dirty! That's my boy!)

And if celebrating with an ice cream wasn't enough we could have bought wine from this vending machine!

I just HAD to take this picture. We rode in a different van today and Jin Hua Bryan did exactly what Darren used to do in that van - held onto the handles!

We headed back to Shamian Island for a few more gifts today. It is such a beautiful place to walk around any excuse to go there is a good one!

A Gift From China is one of my favorite stores. They donate money to orphanages and have such neat items.

We then crossed over the river to sight see....

And we found an unusual market!

Deer hoofs?




Needless to say we didn't buy anything!

Tonight for dinner we headed out in search of some authentic fried rice. Wing Ying's restaurant came highly recommended.

They had a LARGE supply of chopsticks on every table.

Besides having to change my first POOPY diaper standing NEXT to a squatty potty - with my child standing (of course!).....it wasn't all that memorable. I miss the fried rice we had on our last trip to China. Oh well - this trip has been fabulous in other ways!

Blessings, Sandy

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Today our tour was a visit to the Chimelong Xiangjiang Safari Park

My touring companions!
(We also went with another adoptive family)

We first went on a Safari "Train"....which was actually more of an open air bus.

You can see another "train" in this picture. Cars are also allowed to drive through the Safari.

To be honest the animals were not all that impressive - I have been to the zoo many times. The difference was there were TONS of each animal!

The really FUN part of this zoo was feeding the animals.

We fed the giraffes

Rhiana taking a turn.

Jin Hua Bryan not quite so sure of those giraffes behind us!

The koalas were adorable...and very sleepy - and there were maybe FIFTEEN of them!!

The other really neat exhibit was the PANDAS!!

Most of them were just sleeping the afternoon away....but this one was munching on bamboo!

It didn't even look REAL! It really looked like someone dressed up in a panda suit!

I think they said this panda was a little over a year old.

It was really active and fun to watch!

Apparently pandas are active about ten minutes a day. We were lucky enough to catch this one climbing and playing around - SUPER neat to watch!

I still LOVE those signs in China!

We also fed the Koi fish

They were REALLY active when fed - jumping, splashing, and had REALLY huge mouths!

It is hard to see in this picture, but the last animals we fed were the Baboons. They were really cute - wading in the water to get the food. We saw them nursing their babies, pushing each other in the water, and again there were SO many baboons!

 We ended the day with a noodle dinner (same place and dish as last night!) with other adoptive families. It is tasty and feeds all three of us for only $6!

I can't even begin to describe to you the PEACE that God has given me during this trip to China. 

**PEACE that my kids back home will be okay with me gone - they have Daddy and Jamma to love on them!

**PEACE to just enjoy China and to savor the experience!

**PEACE just to "be" and not to worry - that God has got this!

**PEACE about Jin Hua Bryan walking and his language delays!

I don't know how single parents do it! When Erik walks in the door at 6pm I am relieved. Some days I need a physical break, but more often I just need a mental break. Just knowing when the kids "mom, mom, mom!" someone else can answer their calls/demands. I need to "check out" and be "off the clock" just for a few minutes - to refresh.

The intense parenting that comes with a newly adopted child can be EXHAUSTING - both physically AND mentally!



A dear adoptive mom friend mentioned that she had been praying *specifically* for endurance for me during this time in China!! And friends - God has heard her prayers AND given me that endurance!!!

Jin Hua Bryan
His name will be Bryan Jinhua we are just slowly transitioning since for four years he has been called Jin Hua. 

We knew he couldn't walk independently - but wondered how that would look in person AND still wonder how that will look at home, at church, at the park, at the beach.....

What it looks like this week:
*He prefers to walk and not crawl
*He holds the edge of something (bed, table, shelf) and will walk
*As the week has progressed he seems to be taking more independent steps between things. He will walk along the bed - take a step or two - then walk along the chair etc.
*He falls frequently - but it doesn't seem to phase him
*He can do the splits easily
*His hips seem overly flexible
*He doesn't have enough control over his feet/legs to slide them into or out of the stroller or his sandals
*He walks on the outside of his left foot and the inside of his right foot
*He is very determined and doesn't seem to realize he had physical limitations

We knew Jin Hua Bryan had some language delay and prayed it wasn't more than your typical orphanage delay.

Our guide has been *great* in helping us evaluate his language.
 She says:
He can understand everything that she says to him.
He can answer he back appropriately.
He does speak a dialect of Mandarin (apparently due to his nanny) and that makes it a little harder to communicate with him.
He seems to be a smart little boy and she isn't concerned (based on her past experience) that he will catch up.

We have noticed that he is curious and tries to figure out how things work. He seems like a smart little boy to both Rhiana and I. He tends not to play with toys - but with the phone, the suitcase, the water bottles, the stroller, the drawers, the lights, and the tv remote. He also loves taking a bath!

Jin Hua Bryan is a silly, happy little boy - who wakes up everyday with a smile on his face!!

We are BLESSED!!

Blessings from China! Sandy