"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." -Chinese proverb

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Photo shoot and shopping- day 14

We're leaving Guangzhou tomorrow and I am ready! Today, we got the kids dressed in their Chinese silk outfits and took them to the playground area on the hotel roof to take pictures of them like we did last time when we adopted Liana. It was actually busy there, which was super annoying because it is never busy. Charlotte was not thrilled with this idea and we couldn't get a smile out of her. We did our best, that's all I can say.

After Charlotte's nap, we decided to take the subway to a mall. It wasn't bad. They had this store called Uniqlo that I discovered when I wandered around Disney Springs on Erik's and my Disney trip. The best part is they have great super soft Disney shirts for cheap. I actually found shirts for me and Ella for around $3-4 each! So, of course, we bought a bunch of Disney shirts. Have I mentioned we're Disnerds? You'll see....

Anyways, after wandering the mall for a while, we went back to the hotel, ate some dinner, I put Charlotte to bed while Erik and the kids ran to McDonald's to bring back some ice cream for us (sorry Charlotte) and that was basically it. I'm looking forward to getting to Hong Kong tomorrow!

If you look closely, we're wearing matching leggings and her shirt says, "Together at Last"

She looks so itty bitty here next to her siblings!

Uhh, sounds creepy more than comforting...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Done!- day 13

Today, we had our Consulate Appointment at the U.S. Consulate. This appointment is what the entire trip revolves around. So we basically go in, get a number, when our number is called, they look at our paperwork, make sure it's all there, we sit wait, they have a little meeting and then have us take an oath, we sit, they call each family up, have a little interview, look at paperwork again, stamp it "approved" and we're done! Like, really done, with everything for reals! No more meetings, no more appointments, no more paperwork. DONE! We do have to wait 48 hours for Charlotte's visa to be issued, which sucks because it was always 24 hours until just this month. So we will hang out for another couple of days in Guangzhou before we can leave. Then we will take a train to Hong Kong, spend one day there and fly out the next day.

After we came back from the Consulate Appointment, we rested for a while and then went out to try and find a nearby temple that we had heard of. It was only about a mile away so we walked and just when you think there is no way something beautiful is going to pop up, there it is! It was amazing! It is called Liurong Temple, or Temple of Six Banyan Trees. It is a little strange taking pictures there because people are also there to worship but it's okay as long as you don't take pictures when inside the temple.

On our way back from the temple, we picked up some pizza and headed back to our room for dinner. We are getting tired and I think we're feeling more and more ready to get home now. I didn't really allow myself to feel homesick until I knew we were getting close to time to go home. It must be close enough to time to go home because I'm feeling homesick tonight. I miss the doggies and the kitties and I'm looking forward to getting back into a normal routine and bringing Charlotte to her home. Soon!

We aren't allowed to take pictures or even have any kind of electronics at the Consulate so no pictures there although our guide took one that he will send us outside the consulate. So here are pics of the temple.

One of the banyan trees

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cruisin'- day 12

We slept in this morning and it was lovely! Erik has been playing musical beds lately because his back has been killing him. Here is the set up in our room: in one room is a king size bed and the crib for Charlotte, the other room has a couch that Liana sleeps on, a portable bed for Ella, and we bought a blow up mattress for Ethan. There are also two bathrooms, one in our room with a bath and a shower and the other in the kids' room with just a toilet. It's pretty wonderful that we can shut the door and have the kids in a different room, however, Erik's back is not loving the bed in our room so he has tried switching with Liana but the couch is small and it didn't help. Then he tried switching with Ethan and his back did fine on the air mattress one night but not the next night. He has been working out semi regularly while we're here because that helps a lot but it hasn't helped enough. Not sure who will be sleeping with me tonight but I don't care, as long as they don't keep me or Charlotte awake!

So while Erik was working out this morning, the kids and I went to the outdoor play area and Charlotte actually played this time! She went straight for the play set and climbed in and even followed Ethan in the climb through tunnel. This doesn't sound like much but it shows a lot of growth for her because the last time we tried it, she just paced around, curious but too nervous to actually play. As she shows her personality more and more, we can see that she has a great sense of humor. She LOVES when she makes someone laugh and looks all pleased with herself. Erik said she likes "physical comedy" and it is so true! This is why the kids are falling all over themselves to get a giggle out of her.

Tonight, we went on the Pearl River Cruise. We missed out on it last time because they cancelled it due to rain in the forecast that didn't end up happening. So we were really glad to have another chance because we had heard that it is a lot of fun. The kids were thrilled when they saw the ship because the front is shaped like a dragon. Ethan was dancing and singing, "We're going on a pirate ship, we're going on a pirate ship!" It was just an hour cruise up the Pearl River and back but it was beautiful! There are a lot of amazing buildings all lit up and they have the bridges lit up. The weather was perfect and we all loved it!

She is using her voice more and more. I was worried for a while because she never said a thing or made any noises with her mouth unless she cried or laughed until the day I first heard her say "mama." I asked the director of the orphanage and she said that she is a very quiet girl and I wasn't sure if she was saying that "mama" was her only word or not. Luckily, I was reassured by a lot of parents on a Facebook group I'm on who have also adopted children with cleft lip/cleft palates that their children didn't speak much for a while either. So we might not have many words until after her palate is repaired. Her palate has a very large cleft although I haven't had a lot of chances to see it yet. She is making more and more sounds the more comfortable that she gets with us so we'll see what she's capable of as time goes on and we will obviously have her first palate surgery as soon as we can after being home a bit.

Well, we have an early morning tomorrow so I will get to the pics!

  An accurate depiction of how she felt about me taking pictures 

Prettiest piggies

The many expressions of Charlotte

Our "pirate ship"