The Road To Four

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shamian Island, Walk in the park and lets get out of here!

Today was our last full day in China. Tomorrow we travel.

This morning we went to Shamian Island with our friends the Onions from Durango Colorado. They had Jessica's Mom, and their 2 daughters along with them to adopt their little boy James.

The island is where most US adoptions used to take place. The med exams and the consulate used to be on the island. Now those have moved to down town Guangzhou, and they have closed the main hotel US families stayed at (White swan) for renovations. The island has a very different feel from where we are. Very calm, quiet, peaceful, but also very isolated. We don't mind where we stayed, but we are very glad we visited the island as well.

We did some shopping, did some walking, let the kids burn off some energy and had lunch at lucy's.

he assumed that position all by himself...

Michael trying to keep up with the Onions kids

He loves walking with Momma

We were going for the picture of him standing with the statues, but he flipped out thinking they were real. so we settled for this instead

James enjoying his banana

A side note -- I swore off of all soft drinks on 1/1/2012 and held true to it until this trip. There are too many risks with the water and we need hydration. I had to take a picture of what will be likely one of my last soft drinks - until another beverage crisis happens....

The island was very quiet and peaceful today

Michael has a fetish with leaves. He picks them up and gives them to whoever is close by.

This is the view out our hotel room window. We had a number of nap times this week. I actually enjoyed watching the workers take down the structure in the picture. They finished the pieces that are still standing in the picture today. if that isn't a sign that it's time to go home, I don't know what is. :)

Oh yeah, hows that air quality look??

There is a park pretty close to the hotel ( you can see the orange entrance on the right side of the picture above) that we walked to to get a couple of final gifts and to take in the last bit of China. They are working hard on all of the decorations for Chinese New Year. The park was really nice. Anybody staying in this hotel should make a point to spend as much time there as possible.

We ordered pappa Johns Pizza for the last time and got all of our bags packed. We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for the epic day of travel. We can't wait to get home.

I think Michael is ready too!!


- Adam

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Consulate appointment, lazy day, and gotcha video.

Today was our appointment at the us consulate. They do not allow any electronics inside, so I do not have any pictures. Basically they reviewed all our documentation used to apply for Michael's immigrant visa. Our name was called, we spent maybe 3 or 4 minutes at the window, signed one document and we were done.

When we got back to the hotel we just laid low, got Michael to take a nice 3 hour nap, and took today as an in-room day. We all needed the bonding time, and the recoup time. Tomorrow we are going with another family to shamian island where there is a lot of great shopping and just a nice laid back atmosphere. We get Michael's visa tomorrow afternoon and then catch a van to Hong Kong early Friday morning for the epic travel day. :)

Since we didn't take any pictures today, we thought this would be a good time to post our 'gotcha day' video. We are going to work on a video to capture the whole trip including the initial integration back into our family (when our kids get their own gotcha day). This video is of the actual gotcha day and just the first couple of days following.

Background music was per-selected my Mchael's oldest brother. It is chris tomlin's 'awake'. I think it is a great choice.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guanzhou zoo and group picture

Today we went the the zoo in the morning, took a long nap and then gathered with the whole group for a group photo.


He was holding onto Kerri for dear life.

Ok, now THAT looks like China!

Michael insisted on holding Kerri's hand, even in the stroller


Group picture. This was the big group picture day. After today consulate appointments start happening, and people start going home.

We started with family pictures.

He actually smiled after this pic was taken, but it wasn't captured on our camera...

Michael likes to flirt...

Nobody put him there, he walked over and sat next to Joyee.

Then came the group family picture... And that is when Michael lost it.

This picture was followed by a group shot of just the kids on a couch, Yeah, Michael isn't in that one.

And that's ok.

There have been times in the last 8 days where he has just thrown the fit to end all fits. They are getting fewer and farther between, but they still happen. And they will continue to happen.

Here is a kid that has been ripped out of a comfort environment (foster care, than orphanage) twice in the course of one week. He is now with people who look weird, smell weird, and who can't speak a word that he understands. Schedule is jacked, food is wacked and they keep taking me to new places.

I don't know anybody given those circumstances who wouldn't be pissed off.

We don't know much of anything about his first 16 months. We have lots of theories, but will never have answers. This kid is broken, he is hurt, and he needs a family and a forever home. God has put him into out family for a reason. We feel so incredibly blessed to call him our son. His personality, his humor, and his sensitive side are all slowly being revealed. As each layer comes off, we learn more about who he is.

Tomorrow is our consulate appointment where we take the oath, and apply for his US visa to come home. We get the visa on Thursday and have a long day of travel home on Friday.

We are ready.

He is ready

We can't wait to see our other kids, they are getting excited as well. They want to meet their little brother!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Guangzhou med clinic and pearl river cruise

Today included a visit to the medical clinic to get physicals for all of the kids. These results will be a part of the packet we present to the US consolate on Wednesday. Michael didn't enjoy the poking and prodding, but warmed up to some snacks.

He is still learning about setting on stairs. This was after many attempts and he still missed. kid is determined though.

Then we went back to the hotel, and got a much needed nap for all of us. For dinner we joined a few other families for the pearl river boat cruise which included dinner, sigh seeing, and an entertainment act.



The city is massive, with very colorful lights on buildings, bridges, trees, and boats! Many boats have jumbo trons on the sides and are floating billboards.

Michael has got some moves!!

We got back to the hotel little later than we would like, but Michael handled it like a champ, and was in a great mood when we got to our room. Here is some giggles and squeaky shoes to call it a night.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Guangzhou day 1 - city tour

Today we had a free day in Guangzhou. We decided to join portion of our group for the city tour. It was a lot of fun.

We started out at the 6 banyan tree buddist temple. Very impressive place, and it was buzzing with volunteers getting the place nice and clean in preparation for Chinese New Years which is in just a couple weeks. The history and the workmanship and the significance to the Buddhist people was truly remarkable.

In front of one of the banyan trees that the temple is named for. this one is not the original, but is still 150 years old.

Outside the gate to the temple was a lot of beggars and street vendors. I saw this guy who is actually selling live turtles. Yes, it's hard to see, but those are turtles hanging from that stick, and they were moving! as soon as I took the picture (and was getting ready to grab some video) the guy turned at me, pointed and yelled something that didn't sound very friendly. Our guide retorted back with something and the guy calmed down. I truly did not mean any disrespect, but was simply fascinated by what I was seeing.

From there we went to the Chen house. The Chen family is the biggest family in the Guandong province, and they still maintain a mansion at the homestead site. Today it is more of museum with many vendors selling crafts, embroidery, china, and other treasures. We didn't do any shopping here, but we let Michael get out of the stroller a little bit and stretch his legs. While we were doing that this sweet boy that we met on gotcha day came running up. His name is 'Z'. Z was the first thing to trigger a smile out of Michael the day we first got him. So we are forever indebted to Z.

From there we did some shopping and then came back to the hotel. We ate McDonalds for Lunch (not exactly the same, but very similar - no McRibb, sorry Drew...) did a little shopping (including the obligatory squeaky shoes) and then went back to the room for a nap.

We joined most of the families for dinner at a local restaurant and then called it a night.

As I mentioned yesterday, this hotel is beautiful. The rooms are clean, modern, and well appointed. One unique feature is that you have to go through the shower to get to the tub. So, Kerri was getting the tub ready to give Michael a bath. Being the helpful husband that i am, I grabbed the oatmeal bath (Michael has sensitive skin), opened the packet and poured it in. On my way back out of the shower area, I bumped the shower valve instantly dousing Kerri with some nice and cold water. Unintentional comedic relief is my new specialty. - and yes, she was able to laugh too.

Nice wet back and hair, ice cold water -- good job Adam...

Michael loves the bath. Tonight was enthralled by the water coming out the spout and was trying to 'catch' it. (the other feature of the bathroom is the picture window out to the room.. Useful for videos of kids in baths)

Good day today. Kerri and I are still fighting a cold, but are on the mend. Tomorrow we get michael's medical exam done, and then we are doing pearl river boat cruise.



Saturday, January 26, 2013


In the zhengzhou airport.

We made it to Guangzhou!! This is the last stop in our tour of China. The ultimate purpose of our visit is our appointment at the US Consulate on wednesday. We have a physical exam appointment on Monday, and a bunch of other tours, shopping trips and the like all week long. The area we are in has a ton of shopping very close by, and we have trips scheduled as well.

The China Hotel in Guangzhou is the bomb. Very clean, and very modern. To top it off, there is a full blown starbucks in the same building and Mcdonalds right next door. There is hope for surviving the week afterall.

Michael slept for the second half of the ~2 hours flight, and was awake going stir crazy for the first half of the flight. Something about the little 12 hour flight on Friday has us a little nervous.

I think he is coming more and more out of his shell each day. And the more we see him out of his shell, the more we love the little guy. Also the more we get concerned about baby proofing the house and warning the neighbors :)

Loving the giggles