"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, June 15, 2007

Our First Day in YiWu City

It is now Friday night here. Scott, Kai and my Mom were out like lights by 6:30 p.m. I stayed awake until 8:30. It is now 11 p.m., and I can't sleep.
We arrived in the small (for China standards) city of YiWu at about 11:15 a.m. We were quite surprised, being that this is China's most largest wholesale trade center, how small it was. The population here is presently less than a million people. The weather here is beautiful and not hot at all! We're loving it.

Scott was quite impressed by the expertise of our pilot. We landed (for you pilots out there, excuse the terminology - I have no clue what you call it) and were rolling down the runway when all of a sudden we did a U-turn on the same runway. I was pretty impressed and he didn't even have to do a 3 pt. turn. heh. After we did our turn, we noticed rows and rows of hangars. In each of them were old Russian mig jet planes parked. Probably 20 of them. It really gave me a reminder of where we were. Then, our China Southern flight finally stopped on the tarmac as the big stairs were slowly wheeled up to the exit door.

I have to say that this is the smallest airport I have ever been to, including the Dominican Republic and Cuba. We walked into the building and had no choice but to stand in the one baggage claim carousel that creaked and squeaked with each round it made. Scott pulled our luggage of the belt (and yes...he pulled all FIVE pieces) and we headed about 5 feet out the door, where we were greeted by two joyful gentlemen, our guide, Tony (spelled Toony) and our driver, Mr. Jia. Tony (sorry I just have issues misspelling names so for now he is Tony), introduced himself. What a charismatic and charming young man. It turns out he has only been in YiWu for about 6 months and is a student studying English and International Relations. We all immediately hit it off. Kai took mostly to Mr. Jia who has become his toy.

We arrived at the only 5 star hotel in this small city. The lobby was beautiful and the rooms, although small, are very comfortable. The minute we walked into the lobby we were swarmed (in a very nice way) by staff coddling and playing with Kai, who was hamming it up. I would hear "Kai-Kai" from every corner of the large lobby, as he would run from corner to corner and stopping just short of every person who was holding out their arms for him. Then he'd look to make sure I was still around. A very good sign of attachment. :)

We had about an hour and a half to settle in. Tony had told us to meet in the lobby at 1:30 to tour the city. We came into our room and I stood by the large windows that overlooked the city. Our hotel is right next to a People's Park that seems so inviting and is just beautiful to see. We plan on going there with Kai tomorrow. But, what I wanted to share was the overwhelming sadness that came over me when I stood there peering over miles of hundred of apartment buildings. I couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe, Kai's birthmother is in one of those at this very moment. To be so very close to the woman who has given me one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received and yet not to know. Then this sadness overflowed to Kai and Anna Grace. I envisioned my sweet son being the one standing there. Filled with thoughts and unanswered questions about his biological family. There is nothing I could do that can bring about any change to either of them. The only thing I could do was ask our Lord to somehow fill their hearts with the knowledge that they were brought into our lives by the almighty creator in His perfect plan. I also prayed for their birth mother's peace. After a few minutes, I had to walk way from the window because it was too much for me and the thoughts of all the "what ifs" just permeated by being.

I then put a reluctant 3 year old Kai down for a nap. He fought me all of 1 minute before the eyes rolled back and he was sound asleep. He napped for about an hour until I had to wake him to go meet Tony in the lobby.

We arrived in the lobby on time and again Kai was met by his entourage of fans as bell boys, doormen and front desks clerk all came to greet the little Emperor. This time he was half asleep and not quite as entertaining. We boarded the minivan and headed to tour the city.

As most of China, the traffic was unbelievable....and the driving was comical. I can't say I was used to it, because there were moments that I was gripping Kai so hard as we squeezed through spaces that I thought were not humanly possible, that his arms were white from blood constriction. And yes, again, I was so impressed by the expertise of our Nascar drive, Mr. Jia.
The city itself is beautiful. Typical China, but to me, the buildings represented a different era of architecture. We did get out and walk through shops and spoke to a few locals. The warmth and the welcoming attitude of everyone we have met, as in our first trip, goes beyond any foreign country I've been to. I truly am so honored to be the mother of not 1, but within a couple of days, 2 beautiful Chinese children. I love the country, the people, the history and the culture. I am enjoying and taking in every second of this journey and I know in my heart that it won't be our last. It may be the last in which we bring home a new daughter or son, but when we leave here, we are leaving a piece of our hearts and I want to make sure that our children always feel proud to be Chinese-Americans.
I learned something new today! When we were driving from the airport to the hotel, my Mom mentioned to me that seated in her row were two men from Iraq reading a paper which appeared to be written in Arabic. I asked if she was sure that they were from Iraq, she said yes. So, whatever. It was just small talk and it was forgotten.

During our tour of the city, we are traveling down a busy street with lots of traffic. Eventually the traffic comes to a halt and we are at a standstill. As I was taking in every opportunity that my senses would allow, I notice how many Muslims there were. I mention it to Tony and he says, that is why we are in traffic. About a block down the road we passed an absolutely magnficent and beautiful mosque. There must've been thousands of Muslims leaving services. Tony then mentioned that YiWu has a very large Iraqi population. They have their own "village" in YiWu. He said that shortly after the war began in Iraq, they began to immigrate to YiWu because of the small commodities and were able to become very successful, therefore attracting more immigrants. I would have never imagined an Iraqi oasis in the midst of a China city. Go figure. And it's God's children all living in one world. :)

And lastly, before I sign off, I want to answer a couple of questions to emails that I have received. One is really not an answer, but someone wrote to me telling me that they feel like they are physically here with us because of the amount of detail that I give in my postings. I thought I might've mentioned this in the beginning of the journey, but who knows with the sleep deprivation and the anxiety we (I) had.

My journal entries with Kai and AJ's birth were very similar. I know for reader that it may feel like a book and I understand if you just scroll down to the pictures, but this is such a huge moment in our lives and something that although engraved in my brain, it may easily allow for small details to slip through the cracks. Therefore, I try to journal as much as possible so that years down the line I can go back, and my children can go back, and relive every moment as vividly as possible. I have so very little to offer them about their lives prior to our being in it, that if I can give them this as a gift from the moment that I first held them, how can I not?

Someone wrote to me and asked about what "good" Scott saw in our losing our suitcases. Yes, my husband the eternal optimist. It was funny that I was asked this because amidst the turmoil of the case of the lost suitcase, I sat on the bed last night and asked him, "Ok! How do we glorify God for this?". He had an answer! Wanna know? He said, "Oh honey! It is so obvious. What do enjoy doing most when you are under stress?" I couldn't think of anything. "He said, "Of couse, SHOP!!! Now you can say that God allowed you to be blessed with an entire new wardrobe on your last trip to China!" Aaahhh.....what a man I have. He knows me well.

Again, thank you to everyone for your emails, well-wishes and prayers. I have been so very moved to read the comments, guestbook entries and private emails from everyone. I have felt every prayer said, and I thank you!!!

Blessings and love to all from YiWu City, Zhejiang Province.

Ohilda, Scott, PoPo and Kai (soon I will get to add Anna Grace's name on here!!!!!)

Amanda, AJ, Tito, & Adam:
Again, blowing you kisses. I'm so wishing you were all here with me, especially as we approach the day your baby sister is forever ours. I know you are with me in spirit. I love you all as much as the whole wide world.....and back again!


The Mig fighters lining the runway.

The very small YiWu City airport.

Kai and his new friend, Mr. Jia.

The view from our 20th floor window.

Is Kai's birthmother out there somewhere within our view?

Kai and Daddy checking out the cool view!

A typical side street in YiWu City.

In front of our hotel.

The only 5 star hotel in YiWu.

Mom (PoPo), risking her life, crossing the street.

Our sweet boy after a day of touring.


geminirn said...

Great to hear every thing appears to be going well,nice to hear you have ALL your luggage!!!
Love the photos!Enjoy each precious moment.

{{Big Hugs from Canada}}

waiting4Isabella said...

Awww - I miss you guys already. I can't believe your so FAR FAR away.It doesn't even seem real. Hurry Home with Anna Grace !!!!

Missing you already. love me.

we5chois said...

OMGoodness Ohilda,

I almost missed your stay in Yiwu.I cannot believe you guys are there. How wonderful for you and Kai to go back and see his birth city. Yiwu is a wonderful place and you are right the locals are so friendly. I can't wait to follow you as you journey to Anna Grace.

When you visit the SWI please let Mr He and the boys nanny know that we send our love (Hansen's name was pronounced hwhy high - HuaiHai). Could you please also give Ni Bin a special hug from Hansen. He still talks about her now. Her new parents will be there to get her very soon. If you happen to go to the school, please also tell the lady director we say hello. She is an incredible lady.

Thank you somuch for all the details in your journal. They have made me cry and laugh along with you. Hurrah for Bob - he is the best. and like you I remember being overcome with emotion looking out of the hotel window. There are no words to describe the feeling, but you did a wonderful job.

OKay, i have rambled enough. Enjoy Yiwu and big hugs to you all. We love you guys and are so happy to join you on your incredble journey.
Kim, Richard, Aimee, Hansen and Cadence.

waiting4Isabella said...

Now I came back to your site to read your blog. Boy does your little guy work me out !!! Whhew!!! I too enjoyed reading all about the details of your visit thru. It almost makes me feel I'm right there with you.

Looking forward to following your blog. Hope your having a great day. I'm going nite nite now, it's 10:30pm (Punta Gorda) time. Hopefully, I'll talk to you soon.

Love you and miss you all. Give kisses to Kai from his Ayi.

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