I feel like there is not very much to say about today, but, if you have been following along, you know that I can turn any five-minute story into an hour, so…let’s see where this goes.
We were able to sleep in a little bit today and enjoy the morning together. We discovered that Mia likes scrambled eggs!
At 10:00AM, we met the group in the lobby to head to the Pearl Market. We shared taxi cabs and met up when we all arrived. I had been to the one in Beijing three years ago, so that was what I was expecting: BIG mall-type atmosphere, different levels of shopping for all kinds of things. I was very excited about this day. Turns out, the Pearl Market in Guangzhou is literally that: jewelry. I had no idea. It was still a HUGE mall, but filled with jewelry from pearls to jade to other jewelry pieces.
Kathy led the group to a specific store where they create pieces for you and most all of the families purchased from there because it was one of the few places Kathy knew would not have fakes. Without her, we would have had no clue. WAY too many places from which to buy. Since I had bought pearls for myself and my family members last time I was in China, I really saw no need to buy more. I plan to pass down my pearls to Mia as she grows older. We had bought her jade from the jade factory in Beijing, so I felt like we were all set on the jewelry side.
We were told about an embroidery story on the way in, so John and I found our way back there to look before the group caught up. It was a small, but beautiful store with lots of options. It was amazing to see the artwork that looked like paintings, but they were all embroidered by hand! So incredible! Mia found a small mirror she liked, and I wanted to get a few things as well. We picked out a “painting” (embroidered) for her room that is similar to the scroll paintings in our bedroom. We are suckers for art. There was also an adorable doll I had seen elsewhere and HAD to get for her. It’s a little Chinese doll with a traditional outfit on. She hasn’t quite taken to the doll yet, but I think she will.
After the Pearl Market, we took another cab to the Shamian Island. This place is very different, and since it was under French and UK control in the 19th century, it has a European “feel” to it. It is quiet and peaceful with hotels and souvenir places, plus parks and walking paths. This is also the place where a lot of kids get their pictures taken with the statues. Since I follow a lot of adoptive families, I knew I wanted to try to get Mia to pose with the little kid statues, but it was closing in on naptime and that was not happening! There is a space between the kids where a lot of people pose their child to join in the train. Mia wasn’t all about it, as you can see.
We ate lunch at a restaurant called “Lucy’s” which is supposed to have more American-type food. It was pretty good, and we learned that Mia really enjoys cucumbers that were used as a garnish. She will fit right in with the boys at home! She also continues to love on baby Emmy whenever with are with that family. She loves to share her snacks and make sure Emmy is ok. I think she has great mommy instincts already!
John and I decided to head back to the hotel by ourselves to get Mia to nap. She fell asleep on me right as the cab pulled up to the hotel and slept until 4:30pm! This rest time also allowed us to talk about the trip so far and have that time to reconnect. When you are going through this process, so much is “survival mode.” Different country, different language, different foods, routines, new child with her own way of doing things, toddler tantrums, appointments and paperwork. There is very little time to really process things and talk about what is going on as a couple. I feel like God allowed Mia to sleep and gave us that time as a gift.
Every couple needs to slow down and communicate, but especially in a highly stressful experience like international adoption. I am very thankful for my husband, for our 17 years together, and almost 11 years of marriage. I am thankful that God opened his heart, like He did mine, to the idea of adopting a child into our family. I am thankful that I have a partner in life who lets me take on crazy adventures like marathons, owning a business, and adopting from a foreign country…and supports me in all these things.
After nap time, we met up with a few other families to go to dinner at Macau Street Restaurant. This is a Portuguese-style cooking with traditional Chinese seafood dishes. The families we were with did not want to try the seafood (I think everyone is worried they will get sick), so we had a lot of other options brought to our family-style meal. Like most meals served this way, there was a LOT of food and I liked about 80% of it. I rarely go for the spicy dishes, but always find things I like. We could say this was a celebration dinner because ALL of the babies had negative TB tests from the medical day yesterday! YAY! Mia was not interested in dinner tonight, so I was trying to find ways to entertain her and keep her happy.
Then, John and I headed to the little shops by the McDonald’s and found a couple of things for our boys. Mia also found a light-up, noisy toy that sings and talks in Chinese, so for about $5, John got it for her. She really does love the music and dances to it! We got back to the hotel and headed up to the lounge to see if Mia would eat anything before bedtime. She did enjoy some fruit and pita with hummus. When we got back to the room it was bedtime, but she was all wound up, as usual. We were able to talk on the phone a few minutes with Patty and the boys before they had to go to school. Then, we zoomed with Erin, Nate, and the boys before they headed off to school as well. Erin and Nate got a chance to see Mia in her wild stage, but she enjoyed blowing them kisses and showing them new things. I love that she gets to interact with our family so that she will know them a little better before we even get home. She got to bed late tonight because of all her energy, and the fact that she wanted to sleep with her noisy toy that would only wake her up. We finally got the toy out of her bed and once she settled in, she was asleep within a couple of minutes.
Tomorrow is our big U.S. Consulate appointment! This is the last official thing we have to do for her adoption! The entire trip was based around this appointment date tomorrow, so we are very glad to have this day finally arrive! After this, once her little feet hit American soil, Mia will be a U.S. citizen!!!
This day has made me appreciate how well our daughter takes to us both. So many children connect more with one parent than the other. We are very blessed that she is bonding well with both of us. Mia, I pray that you will always know how much Mommy and Daddy love you. I pray that you appreciate and love your Baba as much as he loves you. My relationship with my daddy was the BEST. I just hope that you and your Daddy stay connected and keep that playful side forever. You are dearly loved and treasured, sweet girl. May you always know how special you are!