"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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Reflections and celebrations...

Before I start on how we're moving along, I really want to say thank you. I know I've said it throughout the journey and while we were in China but I want those of you that have left comments on both the blog and the guestbook and emailed me privately with your own experiences and those that I know are consistently praying for us to know, that your words and prayers mean so very much. They have pulled me through dark moments and lifted me up even higher when times are good. I have kept the scriptures you've emailed and read them at the appropriate times. God's word always heals. Thank you!!!!!

I also wanted to share my experience of what happened the night we spent in Detroit before heading home. We had dinner at went back to the hotel. At about 8 p.m., everyone was exhausted and headed to bed. I slept soundly until about 2:15 a.m. I had been so very tired before going to bed that I had said I would shower in the morning. So, when I awoke at 2:15 and saw that everyone was sleeping, I thought it would be a good time to spend some relaxing time in a hot shower. I gathered my stuff and went into the bathroom. While in the shower, I started thinking about how difficult a time I was having with Anna Grace. How I knew that she may grieve a lot, but it has been so very different from the "grieving" that I have read about. I started to pray...followed by a flood of tears. As I was standing there letting the hot water just pour over me, a hymn that I love filled my mind. Maybe some of you know it. It is called, This is the Day. So, in the midst of my feeling sorry for myself, I begin to sing this song, the only exception is that the words that I'm singing, are not the words to the song. These are words I sang:

This is the child,
This is the child
That the Lord has made,
I will rejoice,
I will rejoice
and be glad in her,
be glad in her.
Over and over the words just filled every space in my brain and all of a sudden I felt like an ephiphany had hit me. I realized that God was AGAIN reminding me that this was not about me, that this was not even about Anna Grace, this was about Him and HIS child. She is not my child. I have the honor and privilege to be her earthly mother, but He created her and it is my place to realize that I am raising her for Him. So, regardless of how tough things get, I need to always remember that this is the child that the Lord has made.

I got out of the shower a new person. I was ready to face every challenge she threw at me, even through the lack of sleep and the jetlag. I also had in my heart to read Isaiah 41. I am HORRIBLE at remembering scripture yet for some reason, when the thought came to me to read it, I had a feeling I had read it before. So, I open the bathroom door and slowly peek into the room, the lights are out except for the bathroom light which illuminated a small area in the corner of the room. I tiptoe over to the nightstand where I knew there would be a bible (since I didn't take mine to China) and I glance at the bed. There sitting on the bed was Anna Grace, just watching me. Everyone else continued sleeping. My first thought was, "Oh God...here we go!" But then I remembered the song. I opened the drawer and pulled out the bible and then quickly scooped her up before she could start crying and wake everyone else. I grabbed her little story book, which she loves, and headed back into the bathroom. I sat on the bathroom floor and put her on my lap, facing away from me so that she wouldn't start crying. I gave her the story book and she quietly sat there turning pages, while I read my scripture passages.

I opened the bible at turned to Isaiah 41. When I reached verse 10, I realized why it sounded so familiar. How many times did I not send this same verse to others who were having difficult times either during their wait, while in China or even after they arrived home. Verse 10 reads: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. It was exactly what I needed to read at that moment. That verse and the reminder that God created Anna Grace for him, was the reassurance that I needed most to know that all will be well. I then closed the bible and held my little girl, slowly rocking her back and forth while singing to her, This is the child that the Lord has made. That moment will forever be engraved in my mind and in my heart.

I didn't expect this blog post to go so off course and I need to get back to the kids, so I will journal later about how our days have been since we've been home. The jetlag is slowly dissipating and we are feeling a bit more alive.

Today is also a very special day that is close to my heart. It is our 6th wedding anniversary.


I am so very blessed to have you in my life. You have been everything I ever dreamed of, and so much more. You are such a wonderful example of a Godly husband and a loving father. Our children are privileged to call you Daddy and I am honored to be your wife.
Thank you for saying "I do" six years ago today. I am the most fortunate wife in the world.

Happy Anniversary. I love you with all my heart.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Making strides....barely!

Thank you all for your sweet messages in welcoming us home. My camera decided to die on me during the welcoming home, so I have lousy pictures. I am hoping Ily and my Mom got a few that I could have, especially at the airport.

Well, by 6:30 p.m., I couldn't keep my eyes open. I literally was walking around in a fog. Thank God for Scott. He truly is my saving grace. He bathed the boys, while I bathed a screaming Anna Grace. I sometimes wonder if she was a cat in her other life. She HATES baths and showers. So, I try and make them quick and not spend so much time comforting her during bathtime, because a) it doesn't help and b) it makes it last longer.

I dressed everyone, put on fresh diapers, which brings me to the diaper thought. Man, oh man!!! Do you know how many diapers 3 little ones can go through? We REALLY have to work on the potty training thing for Anna Grace and Kai.

After diapering, powerdering and smothering everyone in violets (Cuban baby cologne), I handed off Kai and AJ to Scott and went into the bedroom with Anna Grace, who already had that look of "Oh God, her again?" on her face.

I cradled her and waited for the crying to begin, which happened in a matter of seconds. I was soooo tired, that I kept trying to speak to her as I usually do during holding time, but kept falling asleep. One of those "nods" must've been a bit long, because when I realized I had nodded off, I look down in my arms, and so had she! I then layed her down next to me and went to tell Scott that I was out for the night. The boys were still going and Scott said he'd watch them. It's a good thing, because I was falling asleep standing up.

The next thing I know, I hear AJ crying on the monitor. I look at the clock and it's 12:15. I get up and realize I have a ragin migraine, and then to make it worse, get to AJ's crib who for the first time in his life, backs up and doesn't want me to pick him up. I almost sat on the floor and cried. Between being so tired, having a kid who hates me, and now AJ rejecting me, it was getting to be too much. I picked him up anyways since I didn't want Kai to wake up and took him to the family room where I tried rocking him for a bit. I then prepared a bottle and he took it. I was able to reconcile with him and laid him back down. By now it was 1:15 a.m., and I figured I better try and get some more sleep because I knew that tomorrow would be hell between jet lag, lack of sleep and 3 little ones.

I was able to get back to sleep and I awoke at 6:30 when Anna Grace began to stir next to me. It was a matter of seconds after she opened her eyes and saw me before the wailing begun again. I continued to lay side by side to her, holding her so that she wouldn't roll over to Scott and kept whispering to her that I loved her and that it would be ok. After about an hour of that, Scott woke up and Kai and AJ joined us. AJ was very surprised to see Anna Grace was still there and kept going up to her, touching her and moving back. It was cute. She finally calmed down and we started our day.

It's 11:30 now, we've had 3 holding time sessions thus far. She's doing a bit better each time. Finally, this last time, while I was holding her, she FINALLY stopped clenching her teeth to hold back her crying and let the real crying come out. That was a huge breakthrough. The fact that she feels she doesn't have to hold back, although she is still grieving very much, is a very good sign.

I am wiped out and even had thoughts last night as I held AJ about how in the world am I gonna do this? Our life with 2 little ones was pretty chaotic, with 3 it's just plain crazy. I am just going to have to continue to trust God that we are doing the right thing.

I managed to get all 3 of them to nap now. (Don't ask how, but I did!!) and am able to catch up a bit, throw some laundry in, clean the kitchen, pick up the mess of toys and just enjoy the silence for a little while.

Kai has an appt. with his cleft surgeon today to prepare for his VPI surgery and life as a family of six in the Bombardier household has begun.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Princess Is Home!!

I can't even describe how good it feels to be typing this from home. We arrived today about 2 hours ago. Our flight could not land in Detroit because of thunderstorms, so we kept circling the area. After about 1/2 hr. of that, the pilot came back on and said that we were low on fuel and had to go to Toledo, Ohio to refuel. That took 2 hours. Thank goodness we were spending the night in Detroit and didn't have a connecting flight, I would've been a mess!!

The kids did great on the long flight, expect for Anna Grace throwing up all over me about an hour into the flight. Poor baby must've been motion sick, but didn't say a word or act sick until it all just came spewing out! YUCK!!!

Kai also had his share of gross events. He had some diarreah and it went through clothes, seat and everywhere else. The people on the plane by us must've been thrilled with us. Oh, well. That's what happens when you travel with babies. We survived and made it to Detroit 4 hours later than we were scheduled to.

At 3:00 a.m., we were all wide awake. We showered, dress, and waited until 5:30 a.m. to have breakfast and head to the airport. Our flight from Detroit was uneventful and Anna Grace and Kai slept most of the time.

It was so great to arrive and see family and friends, including our wonderful priests waiting to meet Miss Anna Grace. I couldn't help but cry as I held my babies, Amanda and AJ. I missed them sooo much!!!! AJ looked HUGE!!!!

I want to say a great big thank you again to my sister for taking care of my kids, waiting for us at the airport. We loved the poster and the balloons, and then we came home to a delicious cake that said "Welcome Home Anna Grace".

My camera is on the blink, so I don't know if was able to record the pictures I took at the airport. We are TOTALLY jet lagged and in need of some sleep, but I just wanted to make sure I posted we are home safe and sound.

Anna Grace is continuing to slowly warm up to Mama and my feelings for her are growing each minute. I will share a moment I spent with God last night regarding Anna Grace in my next post, since I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open.

Thank you all again. It has been an amazing journey and we are more than blessed with our precious and beautiful new addition.

Scott & Ohilda

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Our last day before we head home!

Well, we've made it to our last day in Guangzhou. Tonight at 4 a.m. we get our wakeup call and have to meet our guide at 5:30 a.m. in the lobby to head for home. It's has been a wonderful, Spirit filled journey with so many emotions that it is hard to put into words.
As we close this chapter in our lives, I am so very grateful to our Lord for once again blessing us with our beautiful daughter. My struggles this week especially have been hard, but I have learned and grown so much. I have completely come to realize that my expectation and thoughts were just those....MINE! After much prayer and so many of you that have written to me sharing your own experiences and your prayers and words of wisdom, I know in my heart that I am doing the job that I was put on this earth to do.

Anna Grace's material past and what she has been given or not given is not important. The fact that God has entrusted us....me....to be His hands and feet and lead another little one to know Him is an honor and a privilege, and one that I will do with so much joy in my heart. I have asked for peace in my heart, and He has granted that. Today I had the best day I've had with Anna Grace since she was first put into my arms. I am seeing that although she has experienced many "firsts" without us, I don't think she's ever known the true love of a family, and that is worth so much more than any toys, dolls, or trips to the zoo that she could have ever been given. Her heart is healing and opening up, and so is mine. I am so thankful to our Lord for that.

Today after breakfast, my Mom and I met our guide in the lobby and went for one last trip to the Children's Wholesale Market. I literally came back with almost a suitcase (which I had to buy) full of clothes for her and for the boys for less than $80.US. The most expensive dress was $7. and it is almost as stunning as Anna Grace is. :) Again, those of you heading to Guangzhou really need to visit this place.

We then came back to the hotel after 2.5 hours of shopping and had some lunch before leaving to the American Consulate for our swearing in. This again flooded my mind with memories of being here last year with Kai and being told that he was ours and we could go home. Well, tears welled up in my eyes as we were again congratulated for our newest addition and told that we were free to go. Anna Grace will be an American citizen the minute she steps foot on American soil in Detroit.

It is bittersweet leaving her homeland and all that both of my children have known before us, especially the thought of leaving their birthmothers and biological family, but I know that they were entrusted to us to raise by our Lord, and we are blessed to have them both. We hope someday to return to this magnificent country, rich in history and people who have opened their hearts to us and made us feel like we were home.

We ended our night with dinner at Lucy's again and then back to the room for packing.

China, thank you for your hospitality. I know it will not be our last visit here.

To all of our friends and family, especially the wonderful support group that has coveted us in prayers and been there for us throughout all of these months, words can't thank you enough. It has been an honor sharing in our journey with you.

To our family back home, especially our beautiful kids.....we're on our way!!!! We love you more than words could say and we can't wait till you meet your new sister, niece, cousin and granddaughter. I just know you will fall in love with her. I know it's taken me a bit of time, but she is slowly wrapping me around her finger. WE ARE SO BLESSED!!!!!

This is our last post from China. Again, thank you everyone and we will write again from HOME!

(For those of you who asked about meeting us at the airport, please email my sister, Ily, for details. We'd love to see you!)

For the last time....from China with love,

Scott, Ohilda, Kai, Anna Grace and Po-Po

Consulate Appt. & Massages

Last night when I was rocking Anna Grace to sleep, she began to cry. Not the whimpering, usual cry. This time is was a deep, mourining cry. It really broke my heart because again, she trys so hard not to let it out. She clenched her teeth tightly together for over an hour. This time, she did not cry for YeYe or anyone else. I think she has resigned herself to the fact that she is stuck with us. But, as hard as she tried to fight it, the tears flowed and I held her tightly the entire time whispering to her that I loved her very much and that I knew how hard this must be on her. Again, she probably had no clue what I was saying, but I think she felt by my actions that I was really trying to comfort her. At first, she tried everything possible to not have any eye contact with me, but after fighting it in such a tight space (I frame her face with my hands so that she had to look at me), she finally relaxed and would cry looking into my eyes. At one point, we both cried together.
This morning for the first time, I woke her and got a smile!! It did not last for long, but it was there and she was so much more relaxed. She is understanding a lot of what we say and is a very smart little girl.

We went down to breakfast, as usual. The only difference is that today we could not leave the room after 11 a.m. and had to be next to phone to wait for the call from our guide, who was representing us at the American Consulate this morning.

We were a bit nervous because our zip code had been changed in the US since we had our homestudy done. So, the old paperwork had the old zipcode and new one we filled out here, the new zipcode. He warned us about this late last night, so I have been on pins and needles waiting to see if this would add more time to our stay.

Fortunately, the call came in around 11:30 and all was fine! Anna Grace can get her visa to enter the US and after the swearing in tomorrow, we are free to go home!!! Yipppeee!!!!
We then agreed to meet Bob in the lobby at 2:00 p.m. to visit Qing Ping Market and the walking street right off of the island. Qing Ping Market is a famous market in Guangzhou that sells just about everything, but is mostly known for its medicinal products, which include items such as horseflys (used in teas to treat bronchitis), scorpions & snakes (used in soup and wine), and dried deer bone (used for arthritis). Hmmm.....I wonder what happened to Ben-Gay here?

We visited here last time, but it is a treat to see how the Chinese really live and the differences in our cultures. It was funny too how they have no facilities for the disabled with wheelchairs or strollers for that matter. The crossing bridge to go over the busy highway from the island to Qing Ping market is all stairs, so Scott had to carry the stroller up and down each way, probably 50 steps each. Oh yea, he loved that.....NOT!!!
The walking street is very similar to the one in Hefei. It is lined with more modern shops on both sides and you walk down a very wide, brick-paved path as shop owners try to lure you in to check out their bargains. I really didn't do much shopping since tomorrow morning we will be heading back to the Children's Wholesale Market. :)

After the walking tour of Guangzhou, we went back to the hotel so that my Mom and I could shower and get to our massage appointment. The hard-rock beds at the White Swan have done quite a job on my back and I am so looking forward to returning to my Sleep-By-Number bed at home! Before going upstairs, drained from the intense heat and humidty, we all agreed wholeheartedly to stop off at the bar in the lobby of the White Swan for a quick drink. Yummmmy! I remember the Mai-Tai's from last year and that's exactly what my Mom and I got. It hit the spot. The kids got an $8. (a piece) watermelon juice, which they downed in a minute, and Scott his regular Tsing Tao beer.

We then went up stairs, took showers and headed outside to find a cab to take us to the massage place. It's about 5 blocks away, but with all the heat and humidity, we'd be drenched in sweat by the time we got there. After trying two different cabs to take us, and they both refused (not worth it to them to drive us such a short distance), we decided to walk.

A few minutes later, there we were standing in this massage parlor. Our experience in China on both trips is that you have to be very careful with massage parlors. These are also ummm....places for adult massages. ::wink:: Anyways, we asked what type of massage we wanted and we handed them the little card our guide gave us. It stated that we wanted a 1 hr. body massage. We were taken to a back room where there were 3 massage tables. Then in broken English they asked if we wanted a man or a woman to give us our massages. We both agreed on women. A minute later, in walk two women. It was quite interesting and different from massages in the U.S. Here they massage with your clothes on, if you remove your clothes, they cover you with a large bath towel and then massage OVER the towel. There is never any skin contact, therefore no lotions or oils are used.

We were both very satisfied with our massages and even discovered muscles that we didn't even know we had. At one point, my leg was bent waaaaay up behind me almost reaching my neck. I literally thought I was going to break in half. All the while, my Mom lay on the other massage bed watching and praying that they didn't try that with her. They didn't. The massage lasted an hour and we both left very relaxed and having spent each a whopping $13. US including tip!!!

We arrived back at the hotel where my Mom offered to stay with the kids so that Scott and I can have a grown up dinner (the last in a looooong time) without the kids. They were very happy to stay with Po-Po, and we both enjoyed our dinner.

We returned to the hotel and I collapsed after putting the kids to bed. Anna Grace whimpered a bit as I rocked her, but I was so exhausted that I just put her in the crib and she soon fell asleep on her own. All in all, we had a good day. Things are looking up.

Building muscles in Guangzhou.
Have bronchitis? How about some horsefly tea?

Anyone for scorpion wine?

Yummy...nothing like some crunchy grubs in our rice!

A typical market street in the city. Turtle soup? No, Mama!
No worries....he is not food!
The walking street.
China shopping district.

McDonald's is everywhere in China. A street vendor.
Don't ask! LOL!
Scott and Bob having a good time.

Poor guy! It's hard shopping all day!
One of our favorite restaurants in Guangzhou! Cheers!
Our beautiful daughter!

I love that smile!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Baby Steps

This morning, while at breakfast we met another Florida family, The Rodins, who had received their beautiful daughter, Sophie, on the day we received Anna Grace. We agreed to meet later in the lobby to take some red couch photos together.

Today was extremely hot and humid as we set out after breakfast to go to mass. The mass was beautiful, as I remember it, all in Cantonese, but the heat and carrying a 25 lb. little girl just didn't allow me to concentrate. Although the mass was in Cantonese, Scott followed along in English and always had the proper responses at the proper times. At some points, I couldn't even remember what I was supposed to say.

That said, I must say though that God doesn't care about heat and the surroundings of where His people gather. Since I was so lost and not following along, I began to pray on my own. Suddenly, as I stood there, holding Anna Grace who was facing forward with her back to me, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit so strong that I just started bawling. I didn't want the congregation, nor Scott for that matter, to notice, so I buried my face in her back and let the tears mixed with sweat to fall on her dress.

I wasn't sure if I would blog about this, but I decided that I wanted to document the entire journey including those moments that are not "sugar-coated" moments. I have been struggling the past few days with Anna Grace, though no fault of hers. She is a beautiful, and now for the most part, happy child, who spends most of her days smiling except at nap time and bed time (which is very common for children who have been separated from everything they've ever known). But as a friend told me, it's hard to reconcile the dream child with the real child. I know these are my own issues and some that I am embarassed I even have feelings about, but I know that she is our child, that she was sent created by and sent from Heaven to be ours and that the passionate love is not always instant, but I know it will grow. I've also learned that love could come gradually and doesn't have to be that instant passion, and that it's ok to feel that way.

It's funny because a few months ago, while I was waiting, I had a Mom who I knew from emails say that she was so impressed the way that I loved my children instantly without even knowing them. She said she didn't with either of her girls. At the time, I gave it some thought and afterwards just couldn't fathom it any other way. Well, another lesson learned. And please, don't get me wrong, I love Anna Grace so very much, but the love is so different.

I've totally digressed, but again, I wanted to share my feelings. We concluded the mass and then headed back to the hotel where we were to meet our guide to take the children to an amusement park. But after walking a few blocks, the heat and humidity were pretty unbearable. So, we called Bob and told him we would pass on the amusement park and that we would take the children to the White Swan pool instead. Before going to the pool the kids took a much needed 3 hour nap...while Mommy joined them for 2 of the hours.

Going to the pool with the kids was a lot of fun. Anna Grace was a bit hesitant, but overall she enjoyed it. Kai is still a bit "ify" about the pool, but had a great time. They both did NOT like the waterfall idea so we made sure we stayed clear of it. The kids looked so cute in their swimming gear. It was really humid, but not all that hot. The water was perfect!

After swimming we came back to the room to shower and to dress for the red couch pictures.
Anna Grace looked stunning in her little chinese outfit and Kai was so handsome. We went to the same couch where I took Kai's pictures last year, and I was flooded by memories. He has come such a long way in a year. I remember last year a quiet, little toddler and this year there he stood on that couch. A confident, happy, energetic little boy!! I hope to see Anna Grace the same way in a year.

We also took pictures with Sophie, the Rodin's little girl, and of course, the must-take pictures in front of the famous waterfall in the White Swan lobby. I know this place will surely be missed when they shut down in October for a year of renovations. It truly is a icon for Chinese adoptions and we've thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.

I leave you all with pictures of today. Tomorrow is our consulate appointment and we visit Qing Ping Market and the walking street in Guangzhou. Aaaahh...yes, and Mom and I get massages! I can't wait.

Hugs to all, especially my sweet kids and family that we are missing so much.

From China with love...

Scott, Ohilda, Anna Grace, Kai, and Po-Po

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Medicals & Temples

This morning we awoke again, bright and early and went down stairs to the famous White Swan breakfast. It was all as we remembered it a year and a few months ago. I know there are mixed reviews, but to us, the White Swan is the icing on the cake to a Chinese adoption.

This is when you know you’ve made it to the end and soon you will be home starting your life as a forever family. Wow! It was so poignant sitting around watching so many babies and toddlers united with their families. Some were crying, some laughing and some stoic, but each and every one had a family surrounding them that displayed such love for their new little additions. There is no doubt that our Lord’s heart is so strong for his orphans and it is so very evident as hundreds of families are gathered in the same room with His children.

We took our time eating, which made us a bit late for meeting with our guide, Bob. We had to come up to the room and finish grabbing her paperwork and passport. Since arriving in Guangzhou, Anna Grace has slowly been turning a corner. Not quite so much grieving at night, although she fights her tears from flowing. That’s the hardest part for me. I so wish I knew of a way that I could make her just let it all out. But she doesn’t. I was told that it is because the Chinese are taught not to cry and she is being good for us. That makes it even harder to see.

I digress. We met Bob and started the walk to the little store where she would have her visa picture taken. A few doors down is the medical exam building. She quietly sat on the stool with the white background and allowed them to have a couple of shots snapped of her, with the stoic look on her face, of course.

Then we walked over to the medical exam building. This building is a clinic for both foreign travelers and Chinese nationals wanting to travel abroad. The air-conditioning in the building felt so good. The temperature is probably in the low 90’s, which is not too bad for us Floridian, but the humidity is close to 100. You walk outside and within a minute you are drenched in sweat. My hair still has that funky frizz going on.

Anna Grace did so much better during the medical than we all expected. She quietly sat on my lap as they measured her head, then she was laid down and weighed and measured for length….still no tears, although she kept looking around to see if I was still standing next to her. She weighs 25.5 lbs. (same as Kai and 1 lb. more than AJ) and she is 35 inches tall (2 inches taller than Kai).

We completed the exam, including a “a special needs doctor” that came in to inspect her hand. That was new to us. Kai was also a special needs and he was not checked out by the “special doctor”. Everything was fine and we headed back to the hotel.

At the hotel, we went over all of our paperwork with our guide to ensure that all was correct for our consulate appointment on Monday morning. Our guide attends the appointment for us and we must remain in the room in case any questions arise.

After about 15-20 minutes of paperwork, we all went downstairs and boarded the van (which Kai still loves) to go to the Chen Family Academy and to the Six Banyan Temple, both of which we did not visit our last time in Guangzhou.

This time we prepared for the heat with lots of water bottles, fans and cool cotton clothing. The humidity sometimes is overwhelming. Our guide is wonderful.

We arrived at the temple, which was named for the large six banyan trees inside the courtyards. The trees were there first, and the temple was built around them, hence the name. Again, it is so neat to be able to experience our children’s culture and seeing the people worshipping their Gods. We did have the opportunity to have the children blessed by a Buddhist monk, although we know in our hearts that all blessings come from the one and only God, our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a rich part of the Chinese tradition to have their children blessed by monks and we wanted to allow them this ritual as part of their journey home.

After the temple we went to the Chen Family Academy. Mr. Chen was a resident of Guangdong province who 110 years ago went to America to work and make money for his family. He accumulated great wealth while there and 10 years later came back to China where he built a beautiful home filled with carvings made of stone, marble and wood throughout the home. They used rich, vibrant colors in many areas of the house that still remained today. As time went on, Mr. Chen wanted to share in his wealth, he then permitted all relatives and future relatives carrying his surname of Chen, to study in the academy he created within the home. Again, it was a nice way of learning some our children’s history to be able to share with them.

We all piled in the van again and then headed to pearl market. Last year, I purchased a beautiful pearl necklace for Kai to give to his wife on their wedding day. These pearls are of very good quality for the fraction of the price we could find them at home. This time, I had two pearl necklaces made; one for Anna Grace and one for Amanda. Our stay there was not too long since I knew exactly what I wanted.

We left the pearl market and Bob took us to a Children’s Wholesale market. This is a MUST do for those traveling here!!! I so wish we had been more prepared. For the most part, the children’s clothing was anywhere between 30 and 50 yuan, $4-7 US…and so cute!! We bought Anna Grace’s baptism dress, which is stunning for a mere $12.00!!


Whew….catching my breath. Ok. Think, clothes and shopping. Oh yea. We ended up buying a few things for Kai and AJ and about 5 dresses for Anna Grace. Sorry Amanda, there was not much there for big girls. L I shopped until I could tell that Scott was over his limit in waiting with two toddlers running circles around him. I plan on going back once more before we leave for home.

We then took a cab back to the hotel where we dumped all of our treasures and went back out to Lucy’s for dinner. Two nights in Guangzhou, two dinners at Lucy’s so far. It’s getting a bit old.

Then we came back to the hotel where I gave the kids a bubble bath (Anna Grace cried with clenched through most of it), put them in pjs and rocked them to sleep. Tonight Anna Grace was too tired (having gone without a nap all day) to cry herself to sleep. We are getting a bit closer each day. Thank you, Lord. Her hitting, biting and pinching is also subsiding and only occurs when rough play entails, so we stay away from rough playing. I really believe now that she doesn’t know “how to play” and it is slowly starting to kick in. She understands the word “no”, and although she doesn’t like it much, she obeys. A good start. Aaahh....I almost forgot. Before going back to the hotel, we went to the new Starbucks on the island! Yuummmyyy!!! Waaay too hot for our normal Caramel Macchiato, BUT....we got an Iced Caramel Macchiato which was DELICIOUS!!!! And we even ate the ice!

Tomorrow we will go to mass in the morning and have not yet decided what we are doing in the afternoon. I do know that we want to take red couch pictures tomorrow.

Again, as always, thank you all for your comments and emails. We love reading them, and I am slowly answering them….sorry it is taking so long.

I also want to congratulate my buddies that have received TA and LOAs. You are in for an amazing adventure. We have loved each day here!

Lastly, I want to ask for prayers for my sweet AJ. I spoke to my sister today and she told me that she had to take him to the doctor. He had diarrhea, a fever and a rash. It turns out he has strep throat. I am at peace knowing that she loves him so and is taking good care of him, but it is so hard knowing that my little one is so sick and I am so far away from him. I miss him, I miss ALL of my kids at home so much!!!! I love China and each moment is treasured, but I can’t wait to be surrounded by ALL of my babies. Amanda, Adam and Tito have been in my thoughts daily. There is so much I wish I was sharing with them here. We’re now down to just a few days till we are all united.

Tito, AJ, Adam & Amanda….I love you guys sooooooo much!!! I can’t wait to see you and hug you and kiss you.

Ily, thank you again for taking such good care of my babies, especially AJ that is sick. Please smother him in kisses from his Mama. I love you. You're a great sister! Also please give Anthony and Herb a big hug from all of us. We miss you all so much!!!!

Having dinner at Lucy's Bar & Cafe Being fed by Baba

"I don't like this!!!!"

" Is it almost over?"

"Why do you torture me so?"

A Buddhist blessing Lost in thought
Baby girl's sweet smile
Entrance to Chen Family Academy

"Did my Mama bribe you to try and get me to talk?" Waiting for Mama to decide on which pearls she wants.
GROSS!!!! I can't see this being a big seller in the US!
Woohoo!! Iced Caramel Macchiatos!

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