Friday, September 28, 2012


Wow!!  I cannot believe it is time to come home.  It is really bittersweet leaving Ch*na.  I LOVED it so much!!!  Even more than I thought I would.  Honestly, I was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY nervous about going because I was scared of going to a different country, scared of the food, the people, being away from my girls but honestly it was THE BEST TRIP!!!!  I will never forget this trip......EVER!!!  We saw so many neat things.  I loved how simple thier country is.  They have one cartoon for children and they really do encourage community.  They exercise LOTS and gather with their neighbors at night.  From what we gathered in areas we visited there was a lot of simplicity and community.  Things I would love to see more of here. 

Well, coming home was quite eventful.  We started our day at 4:45AM.  We got up, got showered, made sure we had everything packed up because the bell boy was going to be picking up our luggage outside of our door promptly at 5:15AM.  Of course they were running late so we could have actually caught a few more Zzzzzz'a.  Oh well.  We had to get going anyway!!  We met the other family in the lobby and waited for our guide to come pick us up to take us to the airport.  Our guide gathered us breakfasts to go and off we went.  We arrived at the airport, went to check in only to find that our flight was delayed an hour.  Our guide went to another counter with Jon and I waited with the other family along with our luggage.  All of the sudden I saw our guide and Jon come running around the corner.  I thought oh great what is going on.  They both yelled we have to run.  Lets go!!!  Hurry!  I didn't know what was happening I just ran with the baby in the carrier in tow on the front of me and with our carry on luggage.  Our guide grabbed our cart with our luggage and started running.  We got to a point and we stopped quickly.  Our guide told us that he changed our flight and we had 20 minutes to get boarding passes, our luggage checked in and go through security.  Now if any of you have flown and did this process you would know that it would be nearly impossible to make it with this time frame.  So... he quickly told us where to go.  I was a mess!!  We tried to go up to the counter and in Ch*na everyone budges in front of you and tries to get what they need.  Our guide told us don't be American.  This is no time to be polite.  Push your way through!!!  So with the baby in tow I pushed through the people to hold my passport and information in front of the man hoping to get our boarding passes immediately.   Well I had success getting the boarding passes and then we ran off however not sure which direction we should have headed.  I went over to a woman and tried to ask her where we needed to go but with all of the pressure I started to cry!!  I think she felt bad and proceeded to tell us to go to oversize luggage to check in our luggage.  We went over and again had to push our way through.  I tried to push my way through but it was not working this time. There was no sign of our guide at the moment so we were not sure what was going to happen.  We tried to explain how much time we had to get through everything.  It didn't matter.  I think with the language barrier it was difficult.  Our guide appeared and he went in front of the people and handed them our boarding passes and we were able to checkin our luggage.  We continued to run to security.  Crossing our fingers that we didn't get stopped going through security like before.  When we ran to where the security entrances were there were 20 lines that were EXTREMELY LONG!!!  I cannot emphasis that enough.  We had to cut through the lines from line 3 all the way to line 16.  We got to the line and it was for expediting security.  However the line was all the way to the back!!!  We again had to push our way through trying to explain that we only had 20 minutes to board our plane.  We got to the front of the line.  The people there were getting irritated with us but we tried our best to explain.  We made it through to the front of the line and made it through security.  We had to run a good 15 minutes to get to our gate.  It was at the ENTIRE OTHER END OF THE AIRPORT.  I learned a good lesson, not to drink a full water bottle before doing this adventure again.  Jon had carry ons and I had to run with the baby in the carrier on the front of me and carry my carry ons.  It was extrememly challenging.  By the time we made it to the gate, we were both sweating and out of breath.  There were people in line boarding the plane.  WE MADE IT!!!!!  So we got on the plane and flew to Beijing. 

We arrived to Beijing and met our guide.  We weren't sure if we needed a guide but it was the best thing we did.  With the language barrier it really helped.  After arriving our guide took us to the counter to check in and get our boarding passes.  We got up to the line and we were told that our flight was delayed FOUR HOURS!!!!  Yes FOUR HOURS.  We already had a 4 hour layover there at the airport and then it was delayed another 4 hours!!!  Oh my word.  What are we going to do in an airport for 8 hours??????  We got up to the line and then the person at the check in counter told us our luggage was overweight and they were going to charge us $200.  AHHHHH!!!  This is where it was helpful that our guide was there.  He told us that for 45 Yuans (approx $7)  we could purchase a cardboard box and take some things out of our suitcases to make it lighter.  So we got out of line and went over to the counter to purchase a cardboard box.  We opened up our suitcase and started to take things out.  We weighed it to see if it was going to help and it did.  We were so thankful to save the money instead of paying for luggage overages.  We were frusterated with our guides because they were with our travel agency and we felt that they should have been able to look up our flights beforehand to prepare us for this.  If our first guide knew that our flight was delayed we would not have had to rush to get to the plane in 20 minutes!!  Afterall, they had ALL OF OUR FLIGHT INFO!!!  Our 2nd flight homes delay was posted the night before.  They had a plane break in NJ and it was delayed going to Ch*na.  Anyway, we made the best of being in the airport.  I took a nap on the benches, Jon took a nap and the baby napped too.  We got lunch at Pizza Hut in the airport.  I was nervous that those who were going to meet us at the airport were not going to be there.  A nice man let me use his phone to call my mom who made sure to get all of the info out to everyone coming.  I couldn't wait to see our family and friends.  We arrived at the airport in the morning Ch*na time and then left at nightime Ch*na time and arried in the US at nighttime. 

All in all, the timing worked out great.  The baby slept in a bassinet on the airplane and on me for most of the time.  She was so good!!!  Our flight was 13 hours total.  We arrived at the airport in NJ and had to go through immigration where Piper immediately became a US citizen once we had touched US soil.  Seeing her Ch*nese passport and them stamping it as a US citizen was the best thing ever.  I found myself getting a little emotional with that but I held it back.  Her Ch*na passport was no longer valid.  If we ever traveled and needed one she would need to get a US passport.  After immigration we got our luggage and I texted everyone to let them know we were coming.  Here are some pictures of all of our girls, family and friends seeing Piper for the first time.  It was so good to see everyone.  Thank you all for making our homecoming memorable :)




Thank you to Jenna from Timeless Memories & Kim from KB Portraits for taking these photos.  They mean SO MUCH!!!  We cannot thank you enough for helping us capture our homecoming.  You both are wonderful friends and I am so thankful for you both!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Taking the Subway to Shamian & Saying Good bye

We took the subway to shamian island.  Jon was still not feeling well.  We went down to the breakfast buffet.  Jon just wanted to stay in the hotel room and rest.  He told me to go out and go to the island if there was someone who was going.  I ended up going with a family and we took the subway to the island.  I don't think that Jon and I would have been brave enough to venture the subway but I was thankful to be with people who knew what they were doing.  It was 3 Yuans to take the subway each way, which is super cheap.  The folks who I went with knew what they were doing so I just followed their instructions.  When the door opens you have to push your way through to get in.  The doors are timed and they WILL NOT STOP FOR YOU!!!  It was very clean!!  We got on and I was amazed because if people saw elderly or women or men with a baby the people would get up and give you their seat.  All of the sudden I saw people getting up and offering me their seat.  I could not believe it.  We had a great day doing some shopping and of course getting our famous picture with the statue on Shamian Island---of course after spending time with our friends girls Piper got comfortable and we were able to snap a few :)  We also had lunch at Lucy's on the island.  They serve a mix of Ch*nese food and American food.  I ordered a grilled cheese with french fries and it came with a COLD sprite.  In Ch*na they do not drink drinks cold with ice like we do.  They belive that room temperature is cold.  They practice herbal medicine and they do not believe that you should make your body too cold.  They belive that eating their food and drinks at room temperature is healthier for your body and better off for you in the long run. 

After we got back to the hotel, we received Piper's Visa (Yay!!)  and then we were going to take pictures of the families and kids before we all left.  It was really cute.  I felt bad because a lot of the kids were not happy to do this but we have some memories of all of them together.  Here are a few:

ORPHANS NO MORE!!!!!  These children have all joined their forever families!!!

Well, tomorrow we say goodbye to Ch*na and head home.  It is bittersweet!!  I really enjoyed being here and I will always have a piece of my heart here as it is where my daughter is from.  I hope to be able to bring her back someday to share with her her beautiful country!!!  We also met a lot of really great people here too.  I will miss them and seeing all of these little children.  I miss my girls are home so I am really excited to see them and all of our family and friends when we get back.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Consulate Appointment & Dinner

We woke up today to get ready for our consulate appointment.  Jon was not feeling well at all.  We went down to the breakfast buffet and it took all he could to get down to breakfast.  He really wasn't eating much either.  We saw our guide Catherine and she told us that Jon didn't have to go to the consulate.  She called over and made arrangements and let them know that I would be attending by myself because he was sick.  We asked her probably over and over "Are you sure?'  We just wanted to be certain that it wouldn't hinder anything.  She said it would not.  After breakfast I got everything ready to head to our appointment.  We took a van ride to it.  It took approximately 30  minutes to get there.  We got there and it was a pretty simple building.  Nothing much to it.  We took the elevator to the the floor where we needed to go.  I for some reason was kind of emotional going to this appointment.  We had to take an oath that everything we had on our application and paperwork is true and correct and that we would promise to take care of our child.  The adoption had already been complete but the oath just was what sealed everything and what would allow us to get our daughters Visa in order for us to go home.  When we got into the room we had to have all of our bags checked by the security machines.  You are not allowed to take any cameras there.  You can leave your camera there or anything that you would like to bring and it is really safe.  They have a bin and they give you a number to match up when you leave.  I had a metal thermos that I filled with water for bottles for Piper.  They wanted that too.  After going through security, we walked into the room and they had all of the families (approximately 20 families) do the oath at one time.  After that we all took a seat and waited to be called.  My name was called first.  When I walked up they said that they were sorry my husband was not feeling well.  They said that they took me first so I could get back and take care of my husband.  We went through the paperwork which was some of what we filled out here at home before we left.  They confirmed the information and we were finished.  We would have our daughters Visa by 4:00 the next day.  We are going to be heading home soon!!  I can't believe it is time. 

After the appointment, I went back to the hotel and checked on Jon.  He was still  not feeling well.  He slept and laid around while I was at the appointment.  We hung around the hotel room and then Jon told me to do something with another family if I wanted to.  So there was a couple that was going to go to dinner.  A bunch of families came down at the same time and we all ended up going out to dinner near the hotel.  We went to a Ch*nese resturant and one of the girls could speak Mandarin which helped when we were ready to order our food.  Our dinner was really good.  It was super cheap too.  I think it was 40 Yuans for Piper and I to eat.  We had a good time!!  There are a lot of great families here.  I am really going to miss them!!  Here is a glimpse of our day.


(I cannot figure out how to rotate this one.  Sorry) 

AND Some of our dinner!  All of it was AMAZING!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Day at the Hotel

Tuesday we just stayed here at the hotel.  We woke up at 9 AM and went to breakfast.  We both have been really exhausted.  I think the running and running from morning till night has caught up with us.  We had thought we were going to go out but instead stayed here at the hotel.  We hung out in our room and played with Piper.  She took a nap in her crib.  She was having an off day today.  She didn't want to be held but didn't want to be put down.  I think she may be teething too.  When I look into her mouth her gums are all puffy and she was knawing on her hand a lot today.  She is still a very happy girl and smiles a lot.  When I pull out the camera she smiles.  She is such a cutie.  We had our exit meeting at 3:00 PM down in the lobby.  It is really hard to believe that it is time to go home already.  We are ready to come home trust me.  We have skyped with the girls a lot.  It has been really challenging.  Sometimes one is crying and sometimes all three are crying.  They miss us and we miss them.  They are having a good time with their Pop Pop and Gam though.  I know they are.  We started to space it out a little longer so we weren't making it harder on the girls.  We were skyping every day or every other.  Towards the end of the trip we spaced it to like every 2 days.  We will be coming home soon girls!!!  Coming to Guangzhou has been completely different from being in her province.  It is more commercialized here and more upscale.  Lots of more upscale vehicles too.  We had so much fun in our daughters province that I would have really enjoyed staying there a little longer.  But it has been fun being with all of the adoptive families here at our hotel.  We were going to go to dinner tonight with friends of ours who are here that we knew from home.  We met through our adoption journey.  We decided not to go to the island for dinner because Piper was having a rough time.  Tomorrow we have our consulate appointment really early!!!  We ended up having McDonalds for dinner.  There is a McDonalds right across the street from our hotel.  It tasted really good.  It was so good to have some American food.  Of course we gave in and gave Piper some french fries.  She LOVED them. 

Here are some pictures from today.  You can see her personality coming out.  She truly is such a happy girl.  You can barely tell she was having an off day from these pictures.  I think we really just needed a day in.  So glad we made the decision to stay in.   


We also had some laundry done today.  We got it back and I was amazed that it only cost $20 USD.  The man came and picked it up and brought it back to our hotel.  AMAZING!!  I am going to miss this service when we get home.  Make sure to ask your guides where good places are to get laundry done.