I know some of you are not very happy with us since we’ve had no access to internet & our cells don’t work! I tried to let everyone know we were here last night but we have no wi-fi. I’m paying for internet access right now & do not know how much we will be able to update while in Beijing.
We had a wonderful flight over! The kids were great considering how long we were in air & I continued to have no fear but only excitement! There were about 4 Chinese children on the plan that we couldn’t take our eyes off of. The look alone from each in our family was expression enough to see how we each saw GiGi in every child! The plan was huge & very comfortable considering how long we flew! We were all able to sleep some on the plane (wasn’t too hard since none of us had slept in over 3 nights!). There were 9 seats to a row across (with 2 aisles between each 3). On the plane we were fed 2 meals, snacks, & tons of drinks (No telling how many GingerAle the kid’s drank - Macy said they tasted fancy! Lol We typically drink water & I guess they didn’t taste like our off brand I buy!) There was a monitor attached to the chair in front of you that has movies, TV shows, games, music, etc. It sure helped on the flight here to pass the time!
We were extremely surprised at how easy everything was once we got off the plane! Customs wasn’t a big deal at all like we were afraid it would be & getting our luggage didn’t take too long. We had no problems getting around customs & finding George (our group’s guide until we leave here Sunday). There are about 6 families from CCAI that arrived at the airport at the same time (we must have all been on the flight from Chicago to here but didn’t know each other). They were all very nice, but I think we were all tried to say the least!
Once we all piled into the bus, we all headed for the hotel. I didn’t know if I was tired or what it was, but as fascinated as I was by being in China & as unusual as many things looked, I felt at home here! Yes, that sounds strange since almost everything is in Chinese writing, many of the locals do not speak English, & we are no doubt the foreigners (looks, smells, language, etc) . The bus ride to our hotel was very pleasant as we got to see the sights of an unfamiliar land. George speaks very good English & gave us history & information on China as we traveled. I almost felt as if I had landed at the airport in FL & we were headed to Disney.
We arrived at the Crowne Plaza around 5 last night & George got us all checked in; we exchanged some USD for Chinese $ (interesting) & got into our rooms. The Crowne Plaza is in the middle of the city so once we got to our rooms, we were off to explore! (Don’t worry parents, we only traveled around a few blocks to see the sights & YES we held on to the kids & didn’t take our eyes off them! ;0)
Speaking of not taking our eyes off the kids, neither did the people here! They loved our kids – I think they love all American kids! We had many many stares & fingers pointed at us but always greeted with a smile! They were not being rude, but they were as curious of us as we them! We never felt uneasy as that isn’t the types of stares we got! Some of the Chinese natives knew little English but they loved to practice the word “BEAUTIFUL” as they pointed at our children! They would go find friends to look at our children. They always seem to stare at Colt right in the eyes (I’m sure it’s those pretty blue eyes they are not use to seeing here!) & Macy Jade was here usual funky dressed self so they just looked her over (as I said it was never uncomfortable but more as our children were a celebrity & they just couldn’t take in enough to remember the moment).
The Chinese parents would even stop their kids on the streets & get them to hand our children their toys & want their kids to touch our children on the shoulder. They were always very friendly smiling when they did this. Our kids were very good about all the attention & would always wave & say “Hi” to the Chinese children. If the Chinese child handed Colt or Macy a ball or toy, our children would say “nice” or some simple one word while smiling & returning it! The natives would be so excited & speaking their naturally fast Chinese (which I have no idea what they were saying) would appear to be overly excited & running to tell others of what had happened!
It’s strange here because on one block you may find a tiny little store (and I don’t mean like a tiny store in the USA but tiny! Literally, not big enough for one person to walk through & only about 10-12foot long & this would be the entire store with very few items. However, on the same block, you may find a huge name car shop (the cars parked inside & large business area) right next door. Then, you might see a small opening & when you looked, you would find a very narrow alley that looked just like something out of an old movie.
George had pointed to a nice Chinese restaurant across from the Crowne Plaza that had a menu in English we thought we’d try. Needless to say, Colt couldn’t wait to try it. It looked very nice & had the menu out front with pics. One look & 2 people (no names mentioned but it wasn’t Colt nor I) quickly decided that they weren’t as hungry as they thought! I have to agree -even though I’m sure the food was wonderful- seeing a pic of a fowl head on the food your going to eat didn’t seem as appealing to me either! Lol
After looking around for a few hours, we decided we would go to the local grocery store & buy something to eat. Hahahahaha –that was funny too! We walked into an entrance that said “Supermarket entrance” to see nothing except a polite Chinese gentleman pointing the way down the stairs. I have to say I wasn’t sure if he understood so I repeated “Supermarket?” George had said it was a very large Supermarket but we couldn’t see anything to purchase or anything at all. The gentleman shook his head yes & many natives with children were rushing around us down the stairs so we decided to check it out. We walked down & begin to see posters taped on the walls which appeared to be advertisement for different foods. We get to the bottom of a few flights of stairs & the best I can describe is a throwback to what a grocery store might have looked like in the USA from the 50-60’s. It had a low drop celling (not typical in the US) & items did not appear old, but the entire scenery was “old style” US. We could recognize some of the items because the packaging was very similar to the same item in the US. Some things, we had no clue what was inside the packaging! Lol I could write all day about the heightened appeal I had in the supermarket, but I have more to share before I’m off to start our day. Long story short, the kids got a drink & a few pieces of candyl Macy Jade said that a MCDonald’s cheeseburger never sounded so good while Colt was wanting to try the street market squid! Lol NO we aren’t letting him eat at the street markets, but he’d has tried many a times already.
Well, the Golden Arches was next door so what else would a US family do that has never been to China? You guessed it; Macy & Phil’s pleas of McD won out over any of Colt’s suggestions! Lol It was humorous too, but isn’t most everything we do? It took Phil 20 min to try & point & order & when we were walking to find a table he says to me “I have no idea what I’ve ordered!” They handed him a menu in part English & the cashier spoke English, but there is still a language barrier. The food seemed eatable to my family but definitely didn’t taste like American Golden Arches! Colt took a few bites of his Chicken sandwich & his mouth was on fire! It was so spicy hot that Phil had to go get him a hamburger. Any of you that know Colt know how he loves spicy hot food, but spicy hot in China is on a different level! After we ate, we headed back to the Plaza to crash.
Before I end for now, I wanted to save a part for last (I’ll see how many of you get this far! Lol) Just prior to going to the supermarket, Colt, my big tenderhearted teddy bear, got so upset to tears. Remember there are all kinds of people here as there is anywhere. You might see some lying on the street as others quickly passed by them as to never see them. Some would be selling fruit produce on the side of the road (and by the way, the fruit looked delicious but some very strange items that I have no clue what they were!) Some people very nicely dressed about doing their business, & we saw some mothers & children appearing to go through some trash in the alleyways.
We walked passed an older man playing beautiful music on some sort of handmade instrument & a small child lying in front of him playing with his feet. They were both looked as if they had not bathed in some time & were very thin! The older man playing the music was blind & it was apparent the child (guessing around age 5) had some sort of special needs. It was sad but real & raw of what we’ve seen here & it was picture perfect to describe some of the décor of people. Phil said “I’d love to get a pic” (not to be rude or disrespectful but to capture the trueness of what we were seeing). He asked me if it would be impolite if he put a dollar in the bucket & snapped some shots. (I’d already asked George how the natives felt about us taking pics & he said it was no problem that if they had a camera they may want us to pose so they could take our pic.) I told Phil to do it as we want to keep everything real. As Phil put money in the bucket (I’m not sure the man had an inkling of what was happening but the boy stirred to see what was placed in the bucket). The people that had previously rushed & appeared to have never seen nor heard the man were astonished & completely stopped to see what Phil was doing. A lot gathered around to watch Phil take photos & seemed flabbergasted. It was not in a rude way & I do not believe it was because Phil was taking pics. I guess they were curious why he would pay second thought to this man & boy.?
As Phil was taking pics, I noticed Colt had tuned his head away so I looked closer at him to see what was going on. Tears were running down his face & I asked what was wrong? He began to flood with emotions saying “What’s wrong with the little boy?” I responded that I was unsure. He continued to sob saying it was sad how many people lived here. I think for the first time the magnitude of the real importance of GiGi’s adoption was apparent to his big ol’ heart. He had always understood, but he got what a lot of adults never understand. He continued to speak saying that could be GiGi there just like that boy! His 9y/o mind & heart never cease to amaze me & bring pride to this mommy! Without any explanation from me he was able to understand how the people with disabilities (as both the man & child) did not have the luxuries & assistance as we at home. He seemed to understand this was their means of simply keeping alive. With his comments he gave the impression to understand how the many of orphans here will be turned out to the streets prior to being an adult with no way to thrive & would merely be trying to keep alive. It was heartbreaking! I let him sob & speak. I did not want to glisten this to be something that it wasn’t to comfort my child. Until we can absorb the magnitude, how can we make a difference? I hated to see Colt upset, but was proud that he whole heartedly understood why it was imperative to adopt GiGi! If he gains nothing else from our trip from China, this is why we wanted our children to go with us! God has big things for my boy! I see Him at work in Colt daily! You can write this in stone because Colt will make a difference in his life! I do not know how many lives will be touched by his gentle hand & love as Christ. However, if he changes/helps one soul at a time, he will be doing the will of God! God does not ask nor expect us to change the world, but we can make a difference by reaching one at a time & I’m proud to say that I know my child will make a difference!
It’s almost 7am here & we will go on a tour with our CCAI group at 8:30. We will tour some tomorrow & then fly toward our GiGi on Sunday. On Monday, we will forever have our GiGi in hand! I will try to update more, but I again say that I do not know how much I can update here. Thank you each & everyone for your prayers! Please keep us, GiGi, our other CCAI family members/children, & the people of China in your prayers as we pray daily for each of you at home! God bless & much love to all!