Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Little More Catching Up...

On Friday we flew from Shanghai to Guangzhou to process the American portion of the adoption.  It was a two hour flight, and Julia did really well! 

After the frenetic pace of Shanghai, Guangzhou seemed like a tropical paradise.  Our guide explained to us that mopeds and horn honking were not allowed within the city limits.  No wonder it was so quiet!

After settling in to the beautiful hotel that our adoption agency uses for families, we headed out to check out our surroundings and to get some dinner.  The area was so family-friendly, and we found an excellent Mexican restaurant which quickly became our favorite.  Julia experienced what was probably her first stroller ride in the pouring rain when we left the restaurant to walk (run) back to the hotel.  She was soaked, but she laughed the entire time.

On Saturday, Julia had to have her medical exam and her picture taken for her visa.  She wasn't a big fan of either, but she rallied when it was time for her tb test and didn't shed a tear during the needle stick. 

After the appointment, it was back to the hotel for some lunch and some down-time.  I know it sounds like we spent a lot of time just hanging around, but that was really our goal.  Julia's world, prior to coming to us, was very small and simple.  She had never experienced the parent/child dynamic, so our agency recommended that we keep things low-key and spend lots of time just playing and interacting.  This was excellent advice, and we had a wonderful time spending time together and bonding.  We did some sightseeing, but that wasn't really the priority on this trip.  We wanted Julia to feel safe and comfortable with us and to know in the depths of her heart that she was our daughter.

Sunday was Father's Day.  It was strange for Barry not to be with Amie and Jacob, but what a treat to share some firsts with Julia!

Her first carousel ride:

Her first water fight:

And her first time riding up and down the escalator just for the fun of it:

I think they're going to be pretty good friends!

On Monday we went to Shamian Island which was a beautiful, tropical shopping area.  The American Embassy was on the island for a long time, but it has moved and one of the main hotels is closed for renovations, so many stores have had to shut their doors.  We enjoyed walking around and did a little shopping.  In its prime, people would bargain with the store owners, but we didn't have the heart to negotiate at all because of how empty every store seemed.  We tried to spread our purchasing around so that we could buy from several vendors even though most of them carried the same items.  It was a really fun day, and the highlight came when we met some shop owners who were Christians.  Barry asked them to tell Julia that Jesus loves her.  It was very sweet to see them make eye contact and to watch Julia nod her little head as the lady explained God's love to her in a very simple way.  We're thankful to the Lord for seeds planted in Julia's heart in her native language.

Tuesday was a big day because it was our Consulate Appointment.  A friend of mine in the adoption community compared it to visiting the DMV, and that was a very accurate assessment.  It is the appointment around which your whole adoption trip is scheduled, and with all the hype surrounding it, you want to envision a courtroom-like setting or something formal enough to dress up for.  The reality of it was a group of families in a building that didn't appear to have air-conditioning, waiting to be called one at a time to a window where we slid our paperwork under the glass and signed a few lines.  As a group, we had to raise our right hands and take an oath stating that the information which we provided was accurate, and I guess that was the "formal" part of the process.  The entire appointment took less than an hour, most of which was spent waiting in a hallway.  We did have a cute little soon-to-be American with us, and that was the fun part.
We went back to the island on Tuesday to take some pictures of Julia with the statues.

After pictures, we headed to Starbucks to cool off a bit before doing some more shopping,

and then back to the hotel for a dip in the pool.

On Wednesday, we spent the day enjoying the gardens of the hotel and packing for our trip home.  Julia especially liked watching the fish in the ponds.

One more night, and we were heading HOME!
We couldn't wait for Julia to meet the brother
and sister she had spent so much time skyping with! 

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