Saturday, March 2, 2013

WE ARE HOME!  After hours of travel we made it home.  We touched down in Atlanta around 1:30 PM on Friday and I believe we finally stepped out of customs/immigration around 3 PM (not totally sure on the time).  We walked out to a great crowd of friends there to greet us and a personal photographer - Thanks so much Tiffany!

For me, the van ride home was when the wall hit me.  I can't really sleep on the plane so I had been up for close to 24 hrs.  Last night is really a blur.  I was in bed at 6:30.  The kids around 7:30 and then I found Keaton and Addison playing the Wii at 1 am.  They were wide awake.  Lexi slept ok but ended up in bed with us from 3 am on.  Addie did play her basketball game this morning and played well but all three kids are asleep this afternoon.

We are working on getting loads of laundry done and trying to get back to a normal schedule.  Tiffany is dropping off pics from our arrival later this afternoon and then I'll post those on the blog.

It's good to be home!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

We made it to Hong Kong.   Ate some dinner and now gotta get some sleep.  We leave for the airport at 6:15 am. We fly to Tokyo and then straight to Atlanta.  Love you all - see you soon!

You have to go to our facebook pages and see the video we posted.  Keaton created it on his ipod as we drove to Hong Kong today.  It's awesome and a great ending to our journey!


Two Sweet Girls!

Our wonderful guide, Grace, who we had six years ago too.  She said she'd look forward to seeing us again in about 3 yrs - haha!  We said, "Maybe, on a heritage trip."  She said we needed to come back and get a boy.

Our van driver from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Yes, he's driving from the right.  It's European style in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

US CONSULATE...This morning was a big moment.  Lexi is already our child in the eyes of the Chinese government and this morning at the US Consulate we finished up paper work that will make her a US citizen once she passes through customs/immigration in Atlanta on Friday.  We are not allowed to take any pictures at the consulate so I'll just have to describe it well.

It's the whole 5th floor of a high rise building.  It's pretty cool to walk up and see on the building directory a United States flag.    Once we arrived on the floor we passed through security.  We didn't take any cell phones or cameras but we did have Lexi's play phone and they held on to it until we were done.  Our appointment was with two other families and we all took the family oath together.  It's not an oath of citizenship but still very cool and both Jodi and I got a little "teary."  We were then called to a window to walk through our paperwork with the rep and it was fairly simple.  Tomorrow we will have Lexi's visa and a sealed packet which can't be opened except by US Customs in Atlanta.  So, once we have those docs tomorrow we are free to leave China - woohoo!

For the afternoon we took a cab and went to a place called Shamian Island.  It is in the city but is surrounded by water.  At one time it was a British Colony and so it has really neat architecture and is a pretty place.  Six years ago we stayed at a hotel on Shamian.  Our favorite souvenir store is there and we went back today and bought some great things.  It's called "A Gift From China" and many of it's profits go to help orphans.  We also went to another store called "Michael's Place" cause the owner was Michael.  He and his wife and child were so sweet and he made some name pictures for the kids. It was a fun day as a fam and a little bit of an adventure.  We finished by eating at a restaurant called Lucy's that we also ate at 6 yrs ago.  Great memories!!

It's been a really great week in Guangzhou, but I think we are all ready for home now.  I'm not sure we'll have an update tomorrow night.  Here's our schedule to finish out.  Tomorrow we wait for the visa paperwork.  It should arrive around 4:15 PM.  We will check out at 4, our guide, Grace, will hand us our documents, and then we will jump in a van bound for Hong Kong.  It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive.  He'll take us right to our hotel - the Marriott Sky City Hotel - right next to the airport.  We'll need to get to sleep because we fly out early Friday morning.

From Hong Kong we have a 4 hr flight to Tokyo and then it's straight to the ATL!!  So, I may get a quick update in tomorrow night but don't fret if we don't!  This has truly been another amazing journey for our family!  Keaton and I were sitting outside Starbucks tonight, finishing our Ice cream sundaes before we bought Jodi a coffee and I said to him, "It's pretty cool that you've been to China two times in your life and you're only 12!"  We are so grateful for the ways God continues to challenge and grow us as a family.  It sure makes life a whole lot more fun living on faith and partnering with God!

Thank you all for the amazing support, love, and encouragement.  We have felt the prayers!  Love you all!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OUR LAST FREE DAY...Today we awoke to our first rain but it had ended before we even got to breakfast.  At 9 am we met to go to the Guangzhou Zoo.  It was a great time that the kids really enjoyed and because of the rain we practically had the zoo to ourselves.

After lunch Keaton, Addison and I went to the pool again as Mom stayed in the room as Lexi napped.  At 4:30 PM all the families met in the lobby and we took family pics, a group pic and the tried to get an adopted kids pic which was quite an adventure.  You'll see pics below but I will post a video to facebook that will really tell the story.  For dinner our guide, Grace, took all of us to a local restaurant for our last group dinner.

Tomorrow the US consulate appointments begin.  Several families go at 8 am.  We go at 9 am and then a few families are on Thursday.  The end is drawing near.

We had some intense games of UNO in the room tonight but you can also sense some weariness and sensitivity from the kids.  They are continuing to be great travelers, but they are tired too and eating can be a challenge some meals.  After tonights dinner we stopped on the walk back at McDonalds so Keaton could get a Sundae and Addison downed some Oreos back at the room.

Lexi is doing really well.  She's lying in her crib right beside me as I right this and just watches me with her hands hanging out and she'll slowly drift off.  She sleeps through the night and is a great sleeper.  It's funny because they don't have bumpers in their cribs so they love to sleep with arms and legs out.  Addison was the same way.  When we got her back home to her crib she would push the bumper up out of the way so she could get her arms and legs hanging out.

Our time here in Guangzhou has really been good.  Warmer weather makes a big difference.  This hotel is really nice and the food selection has been much better.  We've had some sweet moments as a family of five! If fact tonight we were talking how we hadn't even had the TV on in this hotel.  There's not much even on but how many times do we spend this much time together without the TV.  I must confess we have watched some movies on the ipads and Jodi actually watched an episode of the Bachelor on Hulu last night.  It's time for bed.

Much love to you all!


The kids had a great time feeding the giraffe!

A typical Chinese toilet.

We each stood by the Zodiac animal of our birth year.  Addison is the Chicken.

Bart is the dog.

Keaton is the snake.

Lexi is the rabbit.

Jodi is the rat.

Feeling blue?  Just come to Happy World!

Fun times trying to get the kids group pic!

The first time she touched a phone she put it right to her ear. I think her nannies had phones!

Addison fell asleep at the restaurant tonight!