Well, we have been treated to such an awesome time here. Our hotel is a five star beautiful place (the kids are bummed that the floor with all the fabulous amenities is closed for construction so no pool, sauna, exercise room, ping pong room....ah well). China definitely wants to give Americans the top treatment (we are required to stay in fine hotels). The morning brunch buffet is amazing (I know I keep bringing up food but we are a family that LOVES Chinese food so we are really digging the food here!).
Our guide Sarah is awesome. She is staying at our hotel and has a wonderful low key personality. She is very experienced with travel, adoption needs and issues, is great at translating with others and with our daughter, yet she allows us to do the parenting and doesn't step in unless necessary. She is from Guangzhou which is where we head today, March 15, so she will be flying there with us and will be our guide there as well. Loving the consistency and loving having someone to take care of us! She has taken us to local groceries for snacks, wonderful restaurants within walking distance, local tourist sites, shopping, as well as all the big adoption stops and procedures we need to accomplish while here finalizing the adoption.
The kids have gone shopping at a fancy mall here as well as gone on their own a few times to the local grocery. We are enjoying really being in the Chinese culture. Each day, several times a day starting at 630am, the local military base plays music (loud speakers style) and the marching and chanting (actually shouting) can be heard. Occasionally we have caught site of the marching troops through the city streets. We thought there was a rally or riot going on the first morning!
My only concern here is the traffic and the crazy driving all around. There are cars, trucks, bikes, mopeds, motorcycles going everywhere with no apparent rule that pedestrians have the right of way. Makes this momma a bit nervous as we have walked the streets. Tho ' whenever we have been out walking, Xiaoting keeps me on my toes keeping up with her so I haven't been able to do much else but trying to keep her little hand in mine!! She has an incredible amount of energy. Guess I have to get back into running again to keep up...
I am blogging about two days behind here so I am bound to forget some things but I will try to at least hit the highlights and of course share as many photos here as I can. I am hoping to at some point write a post all about Xiaoting and what we are learning about her, her special needs, her new name, etc. Perhaps in a day or so.
As I said, today (Friday) we fly out of Wuhan to Guangzhou. If you check a map of China, we will be on the southern coast of China - right beside Hong Kong. Guangzhou is the the former Canton. It is very tropical and more like our Florida in climate. We will be finishing the final paperwork today to finalize the adoption and picking up Xiaoting's passport, and then will spend nearly a week in Guangzhou doing immigration procedures like a medical exam/TB test for Xiaoting and a visa interview. The USA consulate is located there which is why all families adopting from China spend the last part of their trip there. We expect to meet lots of other families like us, bringing their new children home!
So two days ago (Wednesday), we went on a wonderful tour of the most popular tourist attraction here in Wuhan - the Yellow Crane Tower. It is a commemorative site to local poets and scholars, and a sacred site for Taoism. It sits at the bank of the famous Yangtze River (did you know that 15% of the world's population lives along the Yangtze River?? Astounding).
It was beautiful and had many towers and gardens and interesting things to see. We were lucky to see a wonderful music program and Jack got to ring the large millennium happiness bell! Keeping up with Xiaoting was a challenge. She is fast, wants to jump EVERY step (up and down), wants to scale any fence or barrier, and has started to get frustrated if told no. (The famous "limp noodle" or "stiff as a board"). She was wonderful and attentive for the music program. She is definitely a fun, curious and smart little girl.
Today we started to see a bit more grieving, pouting when told no, and testing. All so normal and understandable. She has really bonded well to me and looks to me for permission for many things (like eating something with her fingers for example). She is still not so sure of John but last night started warming up to him. At this point we are "using" John as the "threat." And he doesn't mind. It is keeping her inline during our touring. (Sarah tells her that she will need to be carried by "baba" if she doesn't stay with Momma - and this works).
Enjoy the photos!