Back to posting about our trip to China. This is the last post, showing some highlights from our final couple days in Beijing.
We learned how silk worms transform into beautiful fabric.
Our agency tour bus.
Next stop Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City.
It was a cold and very windy day. Somehow the bone chilling coldness of this place felt much deeper than the weather.
Our Canadian adoption agency flag being held by one of our guides.
New power meets old as the Communist gov't buildings meet up with the Palace of the former Emperors.
The vastness of the Forbidden City was astonishing. It goes on and on...so many buildings and courtyards. We only saw a fraction of them.
The snow covered ancient cobble stones weren't very stroller friendly. Elijah thought the bumpy ride was funny.
Back at the hotel to get warmed up.
On our final evening in China our entire adoption group were treated to a "goodbye China party".
Of course the food was amazing. I've never loved green beans as much as I did in China. We were able to try traditional Peking Duck. We wrapped the strips of meat in what looked like small tortillas and drizzled them with what looked (and tasted) a lot like Oaxacan Mole we've had in Mexico.
Yummy food and our last meal with new friends.
All the kids were gifted a scroll containing their original Chinese name characters and artwork.
These three ladies have been our heroes. The lady on the right does an incredible job of running our Canadian agency, and she travels with the groups to China to take care of all the immigration and Canadian consulate paperwork. The young ladies to her left live in Beijing and facilitate the adoptions on that end. They were our guides during our time in Beijing, meaning they toured us around, answered questions, took us to the airport to catch our flights, and generally took very good care of us. Our agency (Family Outreach International) was excellent! So organized, knowledgeable, compassionate, and efficient. We are so thankful for all they did to bring our son home.
They party included a magician to entertain the kids.
There were a few other five year old's going home with their new families, and a few other older siblings along for the experience. Most of the kids in our group were young toddlers, many with cleft lip/ palates. I haven't been around another child with an unrepaired cleft since I held my own son Samuel 12 years ago. The cleft babies have a special place in my heart, and they were super cute.
This performer was pretty impressive. He did a dance as well as he had different masks covering his face that kept changing. The crazy part it you couldn't even see him change them! It was like a magic show and a dance performance combined. Then at the end he showed his face. The bigger kids all posed for pictures with him, but Elijah was quite terrified of this strange man already so I didn't want to push him just for a photo.
Our party finished with a Goodbey China cake. With our agencies Panda bear symbol on it...or something similar to a panda bear?
Looking back at our time in China I realize even more what an incredible adventure it was. We went with the sole purpose of meeting and bringing home our son. Honestly that was the only thing on my mind as we prepared. I couldn't have care less what we actually did there. I'm glad now that we did have a chance to see some of the sites, and to experience a small glimpse of Chinese culture. I have a deeper appreciation for/ understanding of my child's ethnicity of origin. I felt a bit of God's heart for this vast land and it's beautiful people.
Our time in China was also time to lay some foundations of bonding with our new son, without all the business, distractions and competition for my affections. It was great to get back home, but those two weeks spent with my son, in China, will be memories I will always treasure. That was a huge surprise to me. I figured , like many families who adopt, the "in country" time would be more something to endure rather than enjoy. Although I didn't know what to expect, I prepared for trauma, tears, and a bit of struggle as he adjusted to his new stranger parents, but it really couldn't have gone any better. He transitioned beautifully, considering all the changes he was experiencing. Such an incredibly brave little boy. There was absolutely nothing that went awry the whole trip. I know that "easy" isn't always what God chooses for us, so I went open to whatever this trip would turn out to be, and willing to embrace whatever it would teach us...but this two week trip just felt like a gift. It was almost ridiculously smooth in every way...even right down to the smog clearing up the night before we arrived in BJ, no lost luggage despite many flights, no mistakes in the paperwork...nothing. We felt your prayers, and know they were answered. Bringing Elijah home was God's purpose right from the beginning, he was true to his promise, and faithful in his provision every single step of the way...even during the difficult times of waiting and trusting. All we did was say "yes"...and step out into one incredible story.
Soli Deo Gloria,