Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Later That Afternoon...

So apparently... according to this photo... we visited a martyr cemetery PARK. Weird! Well it was beautiful anyway. They were watering plants in different areas and it was the first time I had smelled earth and water in weeks! It almost smelled like home. China always has this smell of pollution, Chinese food and sewer in the air. Don't breathe in too deep, the next breath is likely to choke you! 

Liam and Chanz on a bridge in the park

Liam telling Daddy what the symbols mean

Carrying stuff the old way

My little Chanz

Liam in front of some structure, probably memoralizing
where someone died :'(

Walking the huge park. It's very beautiful

At the workout area of the park. There was an old man doing
sit ups and some thing where his legs were over his head. Quite
impressive! This one lady..not sure what she was doing. I told
Tim she looked like a 3 year old trying to dance.

Tim and Liam exercising

Heading back. Liam informed me that swimming was fun, but
this wasn't. lol

If you look just right, it's very beautiful here!

soooo many stairs

We ate at this restaurant called Tekila. It was
pretty good, but a little bit pricey. Tim and I had
fajitas, Liam had tortilla soup. Chanz had.. I can't
remember, but everyone ate well!

Mine and Chanz's bus tickets to Hong Kong tomorrow.
There should be 4 tickets :'( 
All in all, today was a good day. We were all hot from walking to the park. We had lunch at McDonalds, which was really good and Liam was happy for the air conditioning (haha, getting spoiled already!) We came back to the hotel room and met with a few ladies that our trying to push Liam's passport through rather than draw it out for 10 days or more. Waiting on a phone call to tell us what's up!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Drifting Along

Today feels a bit better. Depression was so strong in this little hotel room yesterday that everyone took a nap. We stayed holed up in this room all day.

I didn't have the heart to wake the kids up early today just for breakfast, so we let them rest and had a rare breakfast with just Tim and I. We visited with some other American families and they were all concerned about the ordeal we have gone through. It is a huge downer to see everyone get to go home on time while we're stuck here through no fault of our own. Very discouraging!

We are trying to remain hopeful and faithful that God will work this out for us. This afternoon I will purchase tickets for Chanz and I to head to Hong Kong tomorrow. The hotel is right on the airport. We made arrangements for 4, but it will be just us two. It's unfortunate that the room is non-refundable! I think I am making a new rule to never purchase rooms that can't be refunded. However, who saw this happening? Not us.

I started to feel homesick a few days ago and yesterday was even worse. Just like when we adopted Chanz, I questioned myself.

Why did we do this? 
Why would I voluntarily turn our lives upside down? 
Life was good, we were happy. 
We had a wonderful life. 
It's never going to be normal again!
I will never feel normal, ever again!
I am a snow globe that has been shaken and placed on a shelf,
while everyone mills about their everyday life and business.

Adoption is just hard like this. Throw in being in a foreign country for so long and it's almost overwhelming.
I know I had these exact thoughts last time. I remember well. I know life will settle into a new normal for us and we will wonder how we ever lived without Liam, just as I have no idea how there was ever life without Chanz. I know this in my head.

In my heart, I just want to go home. I want to feel normal and I want to see familiar things. I need a boring routine. We both feel trapped here. It was bearable to have the finish line in sight, but those with the power are abusing it and punishing us to get some point across that has nothing to do with us.

For now, the boys are content to hide in their electronics. They are oblivious to what all is going on, but I suppose that's how it should be! (Excluding Tim lol!)

We're taking the kids to the park today to blow off some steam and to get some fresh air. Tonight I have to repack the suitcases and divide our belongings. I'm hoping to hear some good news this afternoon!

Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm breaking up with you, China

I am absolutely SICK over how the Chinese government has treated our situation. Or at least the Gansu province. They refused to process Liam's passport while we were in Lanzhou because our guide wasn't one of the special people listed on their little "list of acceptable agencies" to pay the fee to get the process started. Therefore, we headed to Guanzhou with an ID paper for Liam to at least get down here by the U.S. Consulate to make our appointment here.

Well, since they kept rejecting his passport and never started the process a week later, we now have to reschedule our U.S. Embassy appointment (which was tomorrow) as well as rearrange our flight schedule and pay more fees for that plus hotel stays; all because they want to throw in extra political red tape! We talked to one man at WACAP (our adoption agency) and he said what they are doing and how they have handled this is absolutely ridiculous, and I agree.

I agree so much that there will be no more adoptions for us from China. Nope. Done!

Chanz and I will return home on Friday as scheduled because we have a house to run and bills to pay and other things that I can't take care of from China. Chanz is already missing a week of school and I can tell he is frustrated from being away from what is familiar to him for so long.

I dread navigating airports and handling Chanz by myself. We will take a bus to Hong Kong and stay overnight there, just the 2 of us. This is scary to me! I am so unhappy. So very unhappy and just heartsick. We will have layovers in San Francisco (never been) Houston (should be ok) and finally arrive in Tyler.

With only half of my family.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Post 2, Liam's 14th Birthday


Liam turned 14! It struck me how he didn't seem to care too much that it was his birthday. Really? If you forget my birthday you better BELIEVE I've taken note! lol Birthday wishes, cards, the occasional gift..yeah, I really look forward to those and like to celebrate other people's birthdays as well. It's important! You were BORN that day, your destiny BEGAN that day in full force, it marks a time unique to yourself, that in that precise moment, YOU.

I've always felt that way about birthdays.

Even though his concern was lacking about such a monumental day, we tried to make a big deal out of it anyway. #1, it was his birthday. #2, it was important that he was adopted prior to being 14. #3, it was his first birthday with his new forever family! So many BIGS in this day!

On Liam's birthday, we visited a museum, had cake, and talked through itranslate, which is always fun!

The line to the museum was probably 20 minutes long and extremely hot and sticky. I felt like I was at Six Flags waiting on a ride, wearing the entirely wrong outfit. Miserable! My clothes were sticking to me. Thankfully there was plenty of air conditioning inside.
The museum. It looks like a Lego creation

Trying to get Chanz to cooperate for a family
photo, as usual! Some big tower behind us

Dreaming of being in Florida, or anywhere more American!
It's sideways, but this is an entire ivory carving. Liam
pointed to the tusk and said, "Elephant!"

Liam really wanted me to take a picture of this...
..and this

Frog bones. I didn't even know they HAD bones..
Bat bones
Liam and a gator
Rabbit bones
Ocean fish!
Our family
Chanz and Liam look at dinosaur bones
The little girl with us shoots bubbles and Liam chases them
Later that evening, the hotel sent up a cake and a birthday card
Happy Birthday! Chocolate icing on the outside, icing
and cake on the inside, also pineapple

He couldn't WAIT to eat his cake! Chanz is just getting sleepy
A couple that recognized him as "Wesley" came up with their daughter and sang "happy birthday" in Chinese and gave him a hacky sack, which he was happy to play with. To be in China, it was a decent birthday. I think he is just happy to have a family! We went to get pizza together and laughed and joked (as well as one can with a language barrier). He was making fun of me for getting just a little lost, while Daddy just goes straight to it -_-

I asked him if he read the letter we sent to him while he was in the orphanage, and he said someone read it to him. We looked at the picture book I sent and talked about different things. He was curious about my nephew, Isaiah, who is a couple of years younger than him. There was a photo album the orphanage sent and he seemed happy to look at pictures of him and his friends. We talked about the different kids. One of them he shared a room with, another was a really good friend. 

me:: Are you ready to go to America 
him::  yes.
me:: The food is different
him :: (Shrug) with a gesture that said "oh well"
me::  The people look different
him::  Same shrug and 'oh well

I didn't ask too many more questions (yet) as there will be time for that. I have no idea what he knows or doesn't know about America but he's a bright kid. I honestly feel he will fit in quite well. 

He is VERY protective over the iPad we gave him and will not let Chanz near it. I told him that it's ok if Chanz touches it, it will not break. He hesitantly nodded his head. I imagine it's a new thing to have something that is all his. Chanz *does like to pick. If he knows something is off-limits like that, he will be sneaky and laugh like an evil villan once he does get a hold of it lol

I just had a banana and a glass of coke for lunch. Not too bad! According to all the pictures I just looked at, I could stand to skip a few meals. It is nearly impossible to stick to a diet/exercise plan when you spend 2 solid months on adoption paperwork that should take a year and then travel to a country where the staple is fresh fruits and vegetables, which is good, but also lots of starches. 

Oh well. Once I get home, back to the drawing board! I can't wait to start running and exercising again!! Yippie! Ready to begin our new normal life!

Post 1, boring details

The days wore on. The Gansu province makes it very difficult to get passports for the adopted children. There is a list of about 20 people who are allowed to submit the paperwork to apply for the passport. The first day (full of waiting nearly the whole day) we were unable to complete the paperwork because the person left and would not be back. So we started earlier the next day and after much waiting, were informed that he (our guide) was not on that list of people who can apply for the passport and that all of those people were busy and would not be able to help us that day. We were flying out that day, so we were quite stressed about that.
We found out later that our agency was aware that this is a common problem in that province and that they had made arrangements to get our passport completed with our guide, but it seems they changed their minds. As of yesterday, our current guide was hoping it would be here by Wednesday. We have our appointment with the U.S. consulate on Wednesday as well, then leave by train to Hong Kong on Thursday, and finally HOME on Friday. Praying that this all goes through without a hitch because I do not want to spend a day longer here than I have to!

SO that's all the boring stuff that happens. Lanzhou was full of running around the entire day and getting home late and exhausted. None of us have had time to relax or catch up on our sleep at all. Yesterday, after visiting a museum and shopping for a few groceries, we arrived at our hotel with a very sleepy, un-well feeling Tim and a cranky Chanz. Tim dropped a Nyquil and was out for the rest of the day. Chanz fell asleep around 4 and stayed that way until I forced him awake around 9 to eat. Today, Chanz is obviously refreshed and Tim feels somewhat better. We cancelled any sight-seeing for the day so we can just rest.

We are running low on money, so we've spread out what is left of our money to last us for this final week. We made sure to eat a big breakfast. I stashed fresh fruit and bottled juices in my bag to hold me over the rest of the day. One less hungry person saves money! We bought packaged noodles for the kids and have some leftover rice and noodles from yesterday, so we should be ok for today. That means we can spread today's money over the remaining days. yay! This reminds me of our first real vacation, when we took our honeymoon a year later. We had all of our money spread out for the week in plastic baggies so we wouldn't run out of money. We celebrated when we spent little money on one day so we could spread it out over the other days and splurge on dinner lol Good times..
Our fruit and noodle food stash!


Birthday Celebrations Begin

August 18, 2014
The next day was much like the one before. Catching taxi's or buses all over town,walking dusty streets, getting curious stares from all over....eating noodles.. Liam still got car sick. It was exhausting. The combination of hitching rides, being gawked at everywhere we went, all the waiting.. the sitting, standing around and waiting. Jet lag.
Finally, evening rolled around and we caught a van to Liam's friend's house, which is an apartment because everyone lives in apartments in China. He was excited to be with his friends again. It would be the last time for a very long time that he would get to see them.
Jodie cooked a huge bowl of food for everyone with a side of fresh vegetables and a huge bowl of fruit. Have I mentioned how good the fruit here is? So fresh and delicious! I have not been able to eat enough of the fruit around here.
I should also mention we had to climb a million stairs to get to their apartment door. We were all out of breath with hearts pounding by the time we got to the top. It made me reminisce running back at home. I miss running so much. I miss not having a pudgy body from running. Anyways,  we sat around the long
Jodie is the one in blue
table and Charley filled our bowls to overflowing. Even our guide was invited! This was nice because he was able to get us to their apartment and back to the hotel.
Charley is in the back, next to Tim
The Pine's child named David said a (long) prayer over our food. Once it was over, Jodie told me that he said he hoped that Liam understood that he was a child of God and that he is loved very much. I barely controlled keeping the tears from flowing! What a sweet, sweet prayer from a little boy.
David, Liam, Daniel
After we all had our fill of food, the lights were lowered and they brought out a birthday cake for Liam! He was completely caught off guard by this and didn't seem to know to blow out all of the candles, but he caught on quick enough. The cake was absolutely divine! The kids were excited to celebrate his birthday with him and Chanz was excited to get cake! In fact, he had several pieces and kept trying to get me to give him more. It really was good, though.  After all the food and cake, the kids ran around the house like crazy and rough-housed with Tim and had SUCH a good time, it was great to see. We were so happy to offer Liam the opportunity to visit and play with his friends one last time. We also felt it would help him to trust us since he was able to see that we were friends with his other friend's family. What a special time. I couldn't have coordinated this any better myself. God is GOOD!
Once it began to get later (and our guide kept pacing back and forth, muttering to himself and clearing his throat) we decided to go ahead and present him with gifts so we could be on our way. ( I think I was the only one that noticed our guide seemed a bit ticked to be there for so long? It was really annoying and I found it rude, so I didn't hurry *too much)
Once Liam was presented with gifts, he didn't really seem to know how to act! We all encouraged him to open the gifts to see what was inside. His friends had a bag full of different treats for him plus some books in Chinese and some drawing paper. We presented him with an iPad, since we told him in his letter that he could have one just like Chanz. He was really excited to see that he had his very own iPad! We were told that he liked to play video games and we had already seen him play games on Chanz's iPad, so we knew it was going to be something he would love.

 We finally left and headed back to the hotel. Everyone was full and happy, although it was kind of late and we had another long day the next day. I'll skip over those days since there wasn't much going on. I have lots of pictures to document that time on Instagram that will be printed out into an album.
This adoption has been so fun and interesting and just amazing!