So...I'm going to start from 3/10/11...the day of my last blog, and post what's happened with pictures as if it just happened. Work with me until I catch up?
Love you all!
Waiting to board in Beijing!
One thing that he has learned this week that totally cracks me up is to bargain. We'll say "Ethan 5 minutes." and he'll say "Two". We'll say "Ethan, 3 chips." and he'll say "One." He gets the concept, he's just so going in the wrong direction. We're always like..."OK, that's fine." And he just smiles.
I also love that reading time at night is with Baba.
Seeing our faith passed on to him in such a short time amazes me. He knows we pray before we eat and he's the first to kneel at the bed when it's night night time. I cannot wait to bring him to Queen of Peace Catholic Community...just hope Father Jeff is ready for him!
Ethan goes to bed happy and he wakes up happy! We kiss him and hug him and say night night, turn off the light and he goes to sleep. First thing in the morning, he says "Mama" and opens his arms with a huge smile.
Watching Ethan see so much of the world for the first time is a joy! There is so much love for this child in our hearts...and even more waiting on him back home.
There are so many children, not only in this country, but also in ours, who need love and attention. Even if adoption isn't for you...find a way to make a difference in the life of a child! For our family and for Ethan...it's the quote from The Blind Side...
Thank you for sharing this journey with Mike & I! We hope you enjoyed our blogs and our videos.
We enjoyed our last breakfast buffet this morning! Usually I eat cereal for breakfast...but these buffets have so many options and it all looks so good...I'm eating omelets, bacon, toast, cereal and donuts. Sometimes I throw in something Chinese that looks yummy. When I first got here, I thought...YES! I am gonna be so skinny when I get home! That plan didn't work out so well. For anyone coming to China...
We met Aron and left for the Liuhua Lake Park. The parks that we have seen are so peaceful and beautiful. What amazes me though, is that they are mainly used by the older generation. I think that's awesome...they exercise, sing, walk, chat with their friends, play games....all things that I'm sure keep them young and active. Very few children are seen running around the parks. Both that we visited had children's areas with rides, however you had to pay for them. Every activity for the adults was free.
Ethan loved the park and rode a few rides. He had to try everything. Sometimes he's very cautious and sometimes, he's a daredevil. It's always a toss up who he will choose for a ride with him...mama or baba. I got the bumper cars and baba got the flying umbrellas!
There were so many huge trees and Ethan was concerned that they may fall on him.
Aron dropped us off at the Island again. Ethan was concerned how we'd get home. Can you see he is concerned about many things. When I see him bite his nails, I wonder what is going through that little mind.
We found out that there are actually 2 Victory Hotels...the old one and the new one. I videotaped the lobby of the new one (Victory East) this morning, so if any of you are staying there you can see it.
After his nap, I just couldn't face the playroom one more time...for this hotel being so beautiful, the playroom makes me feel (to quote my son) "yucky!" So we played in the room. We have a "time out" corner in our room (yes, Ethan has visited it)and Baba got put in it. No idea what he did!
We ask God to watch over us on our journey home and to grant us patience when we need it most. Can't wait to get to Jacksonville and see our kid's smiling faces!
Mike, Tonya & Ethan
Ethan enjoys his approximately 2 hour bath nightly...the real world will set in Saturday night when we explain to him that now WE have to pay for the water! Oh well...let him live it up while he can!
We love you!
To see a video of our time at the Zoo, click here
We arrived downtown at an average looking building. The consulate is on the 5th floor. Normally, the guides go for you and bring your packet of information, then you go later in the afternoon for your swearing ceremony. Effective March 1st, you do it (not the guide) and it's all at the same time. (For families waiting to come...this is good news because it will save you a day). For us...we're stuck here! Once all 12 families are checked in, we proceed through security and go into a room that resembles a drivers license or tag office, only the stations are behind windows. There's a bunch of chairs that all the parents sit in and a small play area for the children. I saw 2 people that looked American working there...which I guess surprised me. The lady who is in charge of adoptions came out and gave us the oath (basically stating that everything we have supplied to the immigration is true). I did get a little teary eyed at that...raising our hands and swearing before our country...just made me emotional! I thought this was when he became an American citizen, but that actually happens when he arrives in the US. We sat down and they called you up, one family at a time, to do the "face check"...making sure your passport matched your face and your child's. Then 1 parent went back to play with the kids and the other signed the form. That's it. Less than 20 minutes once we got in there. Our guide will go back tomorrow to pick up Ethan's visa and we can go home...YAHOO!
Since we aren't staying on the island, we decided to take a taxi over there and check it out. It is truly a beautiful area! We have video of
Our guide told us about a restaurant...Lucy's Bar & Cafe. It ROCKS! We sat outside and it reminded me of places on the beach. Tons of other families we knew (even a family from Jacksonville, Florida and our Gator friends from Atlanta), people playing games and the water right across from them. We had a yummy lunch and we highly recommend it! Ethan had a hamburger and french fries. He didn't want to finish his burger, but he wanted his lollipop. I pointed at the burger and said "If you finish that, you get this ". He did! Such a smart little boy! He chats with everyone and they all say how handsome he is and how polite and how sweet! It's all true!
Walked around a little bit more and then took a taxi home...Ethan was starting to fade!
While he napped, I went to get a pedicure and manicure. Can you tell that I'm a girl who takes care of mama? 90 yuan...that's less than $20. Mike gave me 200 yuan. I walked around the shops and when I came back I told him I'd found some cute things, but only had 100 yuan left. He said that wasn't by accident! Gotta love that man!
We decided to get Ethan's haircut at the hotel because it was getting long and I have to say, the cut was very uneven. After about 45 minutes with stylist Ben Tam...I know why. Ben spoke no English, but the lady at the front translated that I wanted something "cool"! When he finished I was like "Do you have gel?" He looked so darn cute! Even Mike, who would have gone for the buzz cut, loved it!
We went to Paddy's Irish Pub for dinner and it was yummy! I had very traditional Irish food...hummus & pita bread and Caesar salad! Mike had Shepherd's Pie...how original?! Haha! Ethan agreed to finish his entire dinner as long as he gets ice cream at the end...we're ok with that for now!
He's getting so good at praying...check out my video to see him! We told him that Sister Nancy and Sister Franziska were gonna break him down...but they'll be very impressed with his sign of the cross!
God is good...all the time!
We love you all and cannot wait for 8 AM Friday morning when our flight leaves!
To see video of our day, click here
Whenever I've had a TB test, you couldn't even see the mark the next day. Ethan's arm, however, had a red circle where he was injected. I was a little worried, but after they measured it, he was fine...
We left the Island and went to a large outdoor and indoor shopping area...kind of like Times Square. We found a few souvenirs for the kids, some Chinese clothes for our little Emperor, some short sleeve shirts for Mike (because it's so warm here), more Disney videos and a Chinese dress for me. A successful day!
We are so tired of eating out, so we ordered room service and stayed in for lunch. Our most relaxing meal since we ate with Ethan at New Day.
You know my flat iron broke on like my 3rd day here, so I've been having the big hair thing going on. The humidity in Guangzhou is only making it worse. Imagine Monica from Friends when they went to Hawaii...or Troy Palamano in the Head & Shoulders commercial. Anyways, you get the picture. That's why it's been in a pony tail everyday. Today I went to the hair salon to get it blow dryed. Yea...flat hair again!
Last night we tried a different restaurant in the hotel...similiar looking to Rain Forest cafe. We thought...let's get Ethan a happy meal and that way he can eat immediately upon sitting and we can relax. That went well...NOT! We weren't that hungry, so we ordered a soup and fried rice to share, and a bottle of wine. 4 hours later...just kidding...we got to eat. When Mike paid the check, the lady asked if we would fill out a survey. On overall satisfaction, Mike put 3 (scale of 1 to 5). She looked at it and said "No 3...only 4 or 5!" Nice to know how they keep their ratings so high...pressure as you fill it out! Too funny!
Tonight, we are going across the street to the market and getting things to eat in our room. Meals at restaurants with toddlers on a daily basis are not enjoyable!
(And I say that with great love of our sweet little man!) I love to read...more than I love the Academy Awards! I've read 3 books on my Ipad while we've been gone. Francine Rivers "A Mother's Dream" and "A Daughter's Dream". She is a christian author and her books are amazing! Last night I finished Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken". It's the true story of Louie Zamperini and his World War II experience and life! Unbelievable story that you have to read! Mike (who doesn't love to read) hasn't been able to put it down. We only have 1 Ipad, so you can imagine that's bad news!
New Day asked for prayers for baby Jayce who was having surgery today...we ask God to watch over him during his surgery and recovery! Please include him in your prayers!
3 More days until we leave China! I cannot wait! Although I'm savoring every moment of our son's birth country, I am very ready to get back to my own. Thank you God for watching over all of us!
We love and miss you!
Mike, Tonya & Ethan
To see the video fromt he TB test and shopping, click here
The boat Ethan wanted to ride on
Our "Welcome to Guangzhou" Care Package
Today we went to the Yuntai Garden about 20 minutes away from our hotel. It's on a mountain, and the drive there was truly beautiful. Guangzhou is known as "The Friendship City" and they promote international friendship, exchanges and cooperation. There were tons of items around reflecting other areas...like dutch girls from Holland, a big jug from Germany and a sign stating Los Angeles is the Sister City of Quangzhou (11,933 KM away). So many beautiful flowers...I know my mom and my mother-in-law would have been in heaven here. We walked around for almost 2 hours, then headed back for lunch.
We met Ann from Red Thread China in the lobby at 1 because she had a surprise for us. Our wonderful friends from back home sent us a yummy cake, juice, water, wine, chocolate, cookies...won't need to visit that market again! It was so thoughtful and so appreciated! Ethan thought is was birthday cake and he knew there were candles...so we sang! I was so happy to meet Ann...we had sent numerous packages to Ethan at New Day using her services and she is wonderful.. Cute as can be in person too!
Ethan continues to test us on a daily basis...at breakfast he started playing with his food. He wanted to drop the ham on the floor, so we told him if he did, we were leaving.
Mike, Tonya, and Ethan
To see video, click here
Our guide, Aron, met us at baggage claim with a hug...instantly we felt the warmth of this city! The ride to our hotel was so different...even at night you could see the beauty of Guangzhou. Much more "sane" traffic, clean and such nice weather. Felt like we were in Florida or Vegas! We pulled up to The Garden hotel and were in love...we can definitely suck it up here for the next week! So many people speak English and the hotel is absolutely beautiful! Our room is a suite with a huge tub that Ethan loves playing in. It was around midnight when we finally went to bed.
My youngest, Cameron, was competing in a gymnastics meet in Charleston, South Carolina...the first meet I've ever missed. I always hold my rosary beads when she competes, and do way more praying then normal...I wore them to bed and got constant updates with her scores...needless to say, I barely slept. I believe it was 4 AM when I texted her and said "Great job sweetie!. She got 1st all around and qualified for event finals on floor tomorrow night! More praying!
We woke up this morning and gorged on the buffet...so yummy! They have a terrace overlooking the garden and the waterfall with the koi pond...truly peaceful and beautiful!
Aron met us in the lobby at 10 to go to Ethan's medical examination.
We drove to the "island"...a part of the city built by the British and surrounded by a moat. Trees were everywhere and it was very nice. Ethan got his visa pictures and then we went in for his exam. This place is used not only for adoptions, but also for anyone needing vaccinations leaving the county. It was very crowded and we saw many familiar faces. However, Aron pushed us through each stage with no problem and very little wait.
Mike and Ethan needed a nap...but not me.......
We feel so happy in this town...you can see out the window and it's not smoggy. Everyone is so nice, there are so many foreigners here that no one pays any attention to you. I felt so at home just walking around by myself!
We have met so many people on this journey...today a couple from Kentucky (he likes to ride harley's, so I told him about Ethan's Grandma and Papa that ride), a man from Idaho who coaches cross-country and ran the first aid station on the bike portion of the Ironman (told him about my sister who ran that), people from Ohio wearing their buckeye's shirts...(reminded them that the Gators kicked their butt in the National Championship game)...just tons of people from all over and we share a common bond in China!
We are so thankful to God for bringing us to Guangzhou and this feeling of peace and happiness that we have here. I know it's the city, and also the fact that we are leaving for home in 6 days!
We love and miss you all!
Here is a photo of the market
At breakfast, Ethan wanted ice cream...of course we said "No". He totally fake screamed (got it on video) until baba had had enough and said "Let's Go". We played in the kids room for awhile, however at lunchtime, we just couldn't face the Jin Feng buffet one more time. So, we grabbed a taxi and headed to McDonalds. Ethan was so excited! He ate his entire happy meal, some of my big mac and then finally...got his ice cream which he said was "yummy"!
Came back and played some more...then naptime. We get Ethan's passport this afternoon and then leave Nanchang at 7:20 to head to Guangzhou... Praise God! One step closet to the good ole USA!
We love and miss you all!
Mike, Tonya, and Ethan
Today we got to visit a kindergarten. Ethan is extremely curious in the car...about basically everything. Before we knew what had happened, he reached up and pulled up the parking break....WHILE we were driving. Then he opened the door.
The kindergarten has over 350 kids that attend there, and they have English classes.
This is the schoolThe Principal and Teacher were so exited to welcome us.
We went into the 3 year old classroom and got to play games.
The first game was musical chairs. Ethan was very quiet and just wanted to watch, so I got voted to play. I'm not a real competitive person, but the goal is to get a chair, right? So when that music stopped...I grabbed a chair. And made a little girl cry! Mike was like "Way to go Babe!"
They love having their pictures taken
After lunch and a nap, Vivian brought us all of our notarized papers that we'll need in Guangzhou. Then we decided to venture to the park down the street. It is truly so different here than in America. No car seats, no driving rules other than speed, and in the park...no dogs on leashes, kids pee where ever they want...not bad, just very different.
Love and miss you all!
To see a video of our visit to the Kindergarten, click here!