Hanging out in Guiyang

I know you wanted to see chickens hanging in the grocery store.  

My pictures came up in a strange order for this post, and I don't have the ambition to switch them around.
I'll continue where I left off on the last post.

After our first night with our new son (who slept like a rock..unlike Mom and Dad who had still had their nights and days mixed up) we woke up to a happy boy.  
He was snuggly, sweet, and smiling...although more reserved than the giddy day before.

For the next 5 days we laid pretty low in Guiyang.  We welcomed the slow pace and mostly unscheduled days to just catch up on some rest, and most importantly get to know our son.   He was his happiest back at the hotel, where we spent hours snuggled up in bed, playing on the floor...or one of his favorite activities wrestling with Baba.  His comfort zone gradually extended throughout our hotel. We discovered very quickly how much he thrived on routine and ritual.. little things like walking down the same hall way every morning and pushing the elevator button with his walking stick.  We sat at the same table every breakfast, and ate fresh fruit, fried rice, and egg.  Looking back I treasure that time we had laying the foundations of our bond with him.  Few distractions, and lots of time to help provide him with some security.

I loved our little morning routine and breakfast buffet too!

When we did venture out Elijah became a completely different boy.  I don't know if it was the stares/ exaggerated gawking from strangers, fear of new places, insecurity, or discomfort in his stroller....but he looked and seemed pretty much miserable and terrified.

{the piggy face is smiling...had to share}

{the view from our hotel room}

The day after our "gotcha day" we returned to the gov't office to finish up some paperwork.

Director W smoking a water pipe.  It was fascinating and huge.  Smoking in public buildings is very normal here.  At one point I wished the windows would open.

I'm so thankful for this man, and the role he plays in advocating for children, facilitating them being placed into foster care, and helping them to be processed for adoption.  He is the one who fought to have Elijah taken out of the institution that he was languishing in, and put back into a loving foster home while he waited for us to come and get him.   The last 5 months in foster care has made a huge difference to him physically and really kicked started his healing.    From what I understand this man has had a role in Elijah's (and many other children's) life for quite some time and it is obvious that he cares for them.   Disabled children are generally not given much worth, so seeing this man living so counter culturally was inspiring.  It was obvious that Elijah knew him and was happy to see him too.  It was an honor to be able to thank DW in person.   We told him we were so thankful that God used him to help our son, and so many other children.  

Our guide "Vicky" with Elijah and his foster brother who happened to be meeting his new family that same day.  What a privilege to meet Elijah's "Di Di " in person (what a cutie!) and to see him meet his new Baba (who happens to be from Spain).  

A photo with Dir. W

Elijah was fine with the return trip to the office...I would have thought it would make him nervous but I think all the familiar faces were comforting to him.  

Our hotel was right down town so there were lots places we could go for walks, and look for food.

Some of our food outings were more successful than others.

This was the grossest thing we were ever served on a plate...the picture doesn't even do it justice.  It was all yellow fat, chopped up bones...with a tiny bit of pinkish rubbery meat hidden inside.  It smelled horrid.  I'm pretty adventurous but I draw the line at road kill on a plate.   The worst part was this was our most expensive meal!  We decided to stay and eat at the hotel restaurant and paid way too much for our "BBQ chicken".

Our guide showed us this little whole in the wall restaurant.  It was AMAZING.  So good.
We ate at this restaurant about 5 meals in a row after that....our usual dishes (which we ordered by pointed to pictures) were the dumplings, the mushroom fried rice, and the spicy noodles.  A gluttonous amount of delicious food for only a couple dollars each.  

This boy can pack it away.  Eating noodles is a messy endeavor.   

On our way down to the hotel buffet breakfast.  Part of our routine...he walks all the way to the elevator, gets to push the button, and then mom lets him rest on her.   Of course he always returns the favor with smooches.  

This boy loves his Baba!  Instantly.

Some more yummy food pictures...and beer.  So cheap here.  

We really loved our time in Guiyang...and as a bonus we even had sunny rain free days the whole time we were there!  That's like hitting a week of sunshine in Seattle...nothing short of a miracle.  

The one thing I didn't love about this city was the extreme stares, points, laughing, and looks of confused pity/ disgust that my son received.  I don't mind curiosity  questions, or even jokes aimed at our tall white foreigness...all part of travelling.  But it got a little old when people would go out of their way to snap pictures of my son, or turn their chairs in a restaurant to watch us like a tv show while they eat,  or go out of their way to watch and follow us.  I just ignored it for the most part....and tried to discretely shield/ distract my child from the stares.  I understand the curiousity though...they don't see too many tourists or foreigners here in this city and children with disabilities or differences just aren't integrated into society.  They are even seen as bad luck.  As much as I didn't like the attention we got, I hope that seeing Elijah being loved and treasured...and chosen as a son...maybe impacted someone. A little taste of our completely counter cultural upside down Jesus kingdom.

Shopping for some shoes.  So cheap...and surprisingly colorful.

One of Elijah's favorite activities at our hotel room was working on vinyl sticker pages.  

Our happy place.  
I'm so glad we had that time with out other kids, responsibilities, and the demands of life.   We have come so far in just the two weeks that we've had him.  

Next post:  Seeing the sights in Guiyang 

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