our last day...then homeward bound

the past 3 days? i'll never be able to explain then. time slows in a way that you can't describe here. i'm not sure what it is, but we feel as though we have been here a month. i'm longing to see the boys and i'm wishing we had somehow been able to bring them with us. although i know for a fact that part of our closeness with jing liu is a result of us being here just the three of us, and i have LOVED such precious time alone with her. we know one thing for sure: we'll never come back without all of our kids again. there's so much you can't ever describe through photos or words. it's more than a trip, it's a life experience. something to take with you for the rest of your years. i'm excited for the day when we can show them this amazing piece of our earth...and for sister to see and hear and know her birth land when she is a bit older.

we met at the us consulate yesterday at a bright 7am. we waited in the lobby (walking past literally 100's of hopeful immigrants) for 1 1/2 hours. as we paced and tried to keep little ladies cool in the sweltering heat, it struck me how different life will be for this little soul in a few short days. the sound of chinese is everywhere. sometimes it's like music, and other times it's like a shouting match. there is a movement and a dance cars and bikes and pedestrians, horns and loudspeakers and shopowners chanting their wares. oh, and car seats! it still feels strange to have her bopping around with us in the back seat. i try to nonchalantly always have a hand around her, for fear that a fender bender will send us through the windshield. paranoid, yes. in reality, we don't see many (any?) car accidents. i'm not sure how that's possible, but i've maybe seen 2 or 3 in all my times in china. i have a feeling our first experience in a carseat will be "interesting" at best. but then again, she might just surprise me.

at the consulate yesterday, we took the immigration oath on behalf of our kids (with 10 other adopting couples) since our kids are immigrants to the US - strange to think she is an immigrant now, but will be a US citizen when we hit US soil. we also finished processing jing liu's visa,which will be couriered to us this evening. everyone told me that the oath was cheesy and overrated, but as we started repeating after the us consulate representative, jing liu grabbed my right hand (which was raised for the oath) and i got chocked up. she feels like we've never been without her. i look at her and see my daughter. she looks at us and sees her parents. somehow i had set my expectations towards what would happen if we got here and it was really really hard. if she cried constantly. if our attachment was difficult. it's been such a sweet and amazing surprise to see our little family be so connected right away. we are on the home stretch...and it's wonderful. one part of me wants to go home and hide away in a haze of love and jet lag, but then again, i'm dying to meet up with my amazing girlfriends. my little china girl has a lot of people to meet, and i'm so excited to spread her amazingness around.

i'm now going to smother the blog with photos. i'm out of time to keep writing, since we are packing up today and impatiently waiting for tomorrow to come so we can hop on home.
we met and spent time with so many people this weekend. we traveled to a nearby city with jones and his wife and daughter. oh, how we love them. jones is such a good time. all of their huge expended family was in attendance and we transversed the language barrier, ate eel, and shared many a laugh over me popping the head off of a shrimp. you will see from the photos what a loving family they are. everyone joins in life together. it was so incredible to see our longtime friends so happy and excited to have us.
they took us on a boat cruise for dinner on sunday night. and when i say boat, i mean circa 1932 tug-raft. and when i say cruise, i mean they literally fished our dinner out of river moments before we left the "dock" and cooked it using river water on the back porch of the "boat".  if i worked for the sanitation department, i would have had a heart attack shortly before passing out from the sheer volume of health and safety violations. i can now understand why "boat cruise" is not on the list of touring items for newly adoptive parents and their babies :).  it was quite an experience. and although i was insanely paranoid that jing liu would fall overboard in a freak accident, since there were no walls, just poles and a short railing, we were able to relax and enjoy the time with our friends.

everywhere you look around our hotel, there are women dressed up doing incredible photoshoots!!

the view from our hotel room!

jones with jing liu and jones with his daughter ava (9 mo old)

 on the boat:

on the boat, you choose the fish you want to eat from the local fishermen before you set sail. oh, and here's the eel we ate not even an hour later :)

everyone was eating these. it's a known fact that when you go to china, you don't eat fruit unless it's watermelon or cantaloupe (with a thick rind) - otherwise you are bound to be eating the water they were rinsed in. we sat down on the boat, and right away these came out. everyone dug in. i didn't have a choice. i had to eat them. so i popped one in my mouth, spit out the seeds, and thought to myself, what's one or two? they're actually really good...sort of like a lemon grape. after a few lemon grapes went down the hatch, i looked around and noticed EVERYONE was spitting out the seeds AND the skin!!! eesh. i ate 4 with the skins included.  maybe this batch was washed with that fancy fruit wash i always see at wegmans. yes. i'm quite certain the boat chefs use wegmans fruit wash. i think i saw it right next to the cleaver used to chop up the pigeon we ate. :)

the hard working boat crews live and work on their boats.

we were hit by a monsoon in the middle of our cruise. natural air-conditioning...it rocked

the night lights are amazing.

we are out the door at 4am tomorrow morning. we have a short hop to shanghai, and then shanghai to newark. should be "back to our sweet home," as our guide helen says, at 9pm. oh i can't wait. the reunion is near! i can feel it!!

so this is me signing out from china. i'm sure i'll smother the blog again this week, but next time it will be with 3 kids smooshed together is a pile of happiness :)


  1. I just wanted to say I've been following along (I tried to comment on a previous post, but I couldn't for some reason). Your daughter is precious. We just came home with our daughter in May (whose name, by the way, is Rowan, and we have a son named Emory. Ha!) Anyway, I know you're anxious to see your boys. Your so adventurous to do the "dinner cruise." At that point in our trip, we were ordering Papa John's. Safe travels and a blessed homecoming!

  2. BEAUTIFUL photos, and you are oh so brave! I was imagining myself sneaking granola and passing on the 'everything you ate' part of your trip.....

    Enjoy your reunion - take it slow!
    Safe trip home!

  3. Okay, YOU have experienced China on this trip like no others have. I need YOU as our guide if/when we ever go back!



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