Yesterday was travel day for us. We left Zhengzhou in the morning to travel here to Guangzhou. The China side of this trip is complete. We have all of the files we need, made all of the payments we need to make, and have a Chinese passport for Liliana. Now in Guangzhou the focus shifts to America. We need to complete a medical exam and apply for a visa for Liliana to enter the country.
I was very pleased to see a sunny sky for our travel day. It has been so long since I have seen the sun due to the fog and smog. Most skies are gray here (at least during our stay they have been). So this was a rare treat even if it was only for the morning.
Travel in China is rarely easy. Traffic is heavy on the roads and makes most trips take double the amount of time they should. Flight times are more like dreams and wishes than a reality. We were supposed to leave at 12:50 pm on our flight. Our plane was still in its city of origin at that time and arrived at the airport some time around 2:30 pm. We boarded around 3:00 pm and sat on the plane until about 3:30 pm or so. Liliana was a trooper through it all, especially considering that nap time was in the middle of it. We blew through it until she fell asleep during the last hour of the flight. By the time we arrived we were all tired and worn. We had a fairly long hike to our bus (not too bad though) and a 45 minute ride to the hotel. I think we arrived around 8:30 pm or so. We all grabbed something quick to eat and headed to bed.
Today we had breakfast, and I hung around the hotel to play with Liliana, exchange money, take a walk, and spend time with Rach on Skype. Lunch and nap time followed and went well. Mom decided to venture out and take a taxi to a church. She found a Chinese Catholic service in all Chinese that she enjoyed and then headed to the market where she had a ball. She was in her element I am sure. When she arrived back here she was filled with stories to tell and new treasures to show. Mom has such a love for life and adventurous spirit. It is one of the reasons she is such a great person.
I am quite the opposite. Though I love life and do take risks in some ways, when it comes to venturing out in an unfamiliar city in a country where I can't read, write, or speak the language all while trying to navigate public transportation, I'm just not there. An experience like Mom had today would be more stressful than pleasurable for me. Add to it the complications of a new child, and forget it. Still, I am happy that Mom was able to go and have a great time, and to be honest I had a wonderful conversation with my wife and also took care of some tasks and had a good morning with Liliana. Also, I was able to get her to nap well. So I don't really feel like I lost out. I just chose the type of day that suited my personality. Besides, we'll venture out again fairly soon I am sure (but for me I will feel more comfortable with a larger group or with our guides, etc.).
This afternoon was filled with completing the paperwork for the visa. We did this with help from our CCAI reps (Jason and Kathy here in Guangzhou). It was basically filling in blanks on one form and then finding and organizing all of the supporting documents needed. It went smoothly, but it reminded me of teaching first grade in September only I was one of the students. Despite the teacher giving only one instruction at a time, having a model up for us, repeating it, and having a second teacher there to support us as we went along, inside of most of us we had this need to individually check in. Yes, I can see the form he is holding up now, and yes, I can see that I took the same form out of the folder filled with forms that Rachel prepared for me with lots of labels so it would be clear, and yes, I can see that my form matches the forms of two of the people sitting right next to me so I am clearly on track, and yes, the second teacher does not see a need to help me so I must be right, and yes, I am a college graduate who functions in society fairly independently on a regular basis and am able to perform basic tasks such as reading and writing fairly fluently on my own. But despite all of that I have this need to raise up my form, look at my teacher, and say, "Is this the right one?" ... just like my first graders would do to me those first few days and weeks of school. I imagine it was just the nervousness we all felt because we know one mistake turns this process into a pain. Still, when it was all over, and I was able to reflect on it, I just had to laugh.
A quick update for those of you praying for Liliana's sleep. Last night went well. She was so exhausted from travel that she fell asleep in Mom's arms while drinking her formula. In the middle of the night, she stirred a bit. I tried comforting her. Mom had the bright idea of offering a bottle with some water. That worked like a charm, and she stayed asleep all night with the bottle still in her mouth in the morning.
This afternoon for nap, Liliana was upset about going to sleep. We laid on the bed after praying and singing. I kept singing as I offered her the bottle. She did not take it at first, but I was able to get her to take it within a minute. This quieted the crying. I sang for a few more minutes as I stroked her hair. Then I realized that she was quiet, and I thought I would stop singing to see if she could get herself from just resting there to actual sleeping. Within five minutes she was out. We repeated the same routine for bed, and it worked. So pray she stays asleep now as I write and go to bed, and pray that this keeps working. Thank you so much for all your prayers for us. We feel them out here.
Also pray that the Scripture and the Spirit are able to break through to her heart. While our family is providing Liliana with an adopted family and home here, the best adoption comes when she is adopted by God into His family and when she finds her home in Him through Jesus Christ. So pray that as we sing songs, pray, read Scripture, etc. that she begins to have a positive association with these things and that she leaves her heart open to Jesus.