Saturday, November 7, 2009

A few final pics!


Last Day in China!

Number of days spent in the Middle Kingdom: 17
Number of shopping items purchased: lost count
Number of undeleted photos on my digital camera: 1107
Number of memories made: infinite and priceless

Our bags are packed.  The shopping damage has been assessed and another suitcase purchased to accommodate the damage.  Good byes to our new friends we've made have been said.

I am typing this last post listening to Chinese pop music on the radio as we get ready to go down for our last amazing White Swan Breakfast Buffet.

There is a sense of excitement and anticipation for two little people to ride on another airplane.  XiXi is excited to go back to her house again.  Ross is looking forward to sleeping on our SOFT bed again.  I'm ready to not live out of a suitcase for a while.

But at the same time, there is a sense of sadness as we get ready to leave a country that has captured such a huge place in all of our hearts.  How do you say goodbye to such a place?  How do you begin to describe the impact a trip has made on your soul?  I feel a bit like Frodo after he returns to the Shire after taking the Ring to Mount Doom.  How do you go back to your old life after such an adventure as this?

Our last full day was spent at the park.  Several groups of Chinese students studying English came up to us asking for wishes for the people and country of China on their 60th Anniversary Celebration of China Day (October 1, 1949).  As Ross and I wrote little wishes on post-it notes and took pictures with these amazing students- I felt a bit like I was writing snippet of my farewell to China.

Our guide took us to a famous noodle place for dinner.  Our "Last Supper".  It was one of the best meals we ate here- two kinds of noodle soups, fish, pork, eggplant, green beans, and dumplings to name a few of the dishes.  We got to watch the cooks make the dumplings and pull a 20-foot strand of noodles.  Pretty amazing!

Our flight for Seoul leaves at 12:50- we will arrive @ Reagan at 11:44 pm local time- after about 24 hours of traveling.

Thanks for following us on our journey- we can't wait for all of you to meet Zach and share in person more amazing stories that just can't be described on a blog post!

Zai Jian!




Guess who we ran into here in China?

XiXi spotted him first- sitting by himself on the famous red couches at the White Swan Hotel- looking sad, lost, alone- and a bit crumpled and flat.  She and Zach asked if he would like some company.  He just stared at them thru his sunglasses w/ a cheesy grin on his face.

After a few minutes of small talk, they wandered over to gaze at the indoor three story waterfall- complete w/ a pagoda and koi fish pond.

Many photos were taken- both by the kids' parents and the flat, crumpled, sunglasses wearing, camare toting gentleman.

When asked where he was heading, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know- I'm just gonna be moving right along!"

Having a blast here in CHINA- can't wait for all of you to meet the newest Blauwkamp!

Julie, Ross, XiXi and ZACH!

Tiger Paw Falls!

Go Tigers!!!

More playground fund!

The pictures say it all!!!



School Days

Right next to the park where XiXi and Zach played all week is a local school.  Every morning the students would march out onto the courtyard for the morning exercises.


Red Couch Photos!

One of the famous Chinese adoption things to do in Guangzhou is to have your adopted child's photo taken on the red couches at the White Swan Hotel.  Our group was no exception!
All of the kiddos pictured here are two and older- seated left to right youngest to oldest.  They did pretty well posing.


Look what we had for lunch!

Just kidding!

Actually, we at this!!

Shamian Brides....

One site we've become familiar with while walking around Shamian Island is seeing couples getting their wedding photos made.  With tons of beautiful, tall, Banyan Trees lining the streets, old 19th century European buildings, and gorgeous foliage- it is the perfect photographic venue.

Couples pose all around the island, and it is not uncommon to see them walking from spot to spot to get the perfect pose.  One bride we saw was wearing jeans and pink high tops under her fancy, poofy wedding dress!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

As promised....lots of pictures!









Getting the Lay of the Land

We're in the middle of day 4 here in Guangzhou- sorry it's been a few days since my last post...

Zach continues to warm up to all of us and everyday, more and more of his personality comes out.  He is such a happy and active little guy- for a little man- he has a HUGE personality!

He loves to strut around with his back pack on his back- it's as if he is saying, "Come on y'all- try to keep up with me!"

He enjoys playing hide and seek in the closet in our room- closing the closet door and a few seconds later- popping out to "surprise" us!

The hotel where we are staying, The White Swan, is a world class hotel.  It is located next to where the U.S. Consulate used to process adoptions, so over the years, a lot of American families have stayed here while in Guangzhou.  The White Swan has become synomonous with Americans adopting Chinese kids.  Matel built a special playroom in the hotel for kids to play in and gives every U.S family a "Coming Home" Barbie- a totally jazzed up fashionable Barbie holding her newly adopted Chinese baby (and now that you asked- why yes, I have looked totally jazzed up and fashionable every day I've had Zach!).  All around the hotel you will see American families with their Chinese kids along walking around next to world class executives in 3-piece suits!  And the pool here is amazing- complete with a waterfall!

On sunday nite, we went to dinner with some other families in our travel group to an Italian place- the chef is from Italy- the food was amazing!  The kids kept us entertained with their cuteness- Zach had his fork full of noodles held above his head lowering the noodles down into his mouth and laughing the entire time.

Yesterday we toured two different sites- a buddhist temple and the Chen Family Temple.  The Chen family temple was amazing- the detail of the wood carvings and paintings on the buildings were unbelievable!  During the tour, Zach got bored and got his plane out of his backpack and began playing with it- he and xixi also chased each other around as well.  Pretty cute.

There is a great playground area about 2 blocks from our hotel...a lot of the local people go there with their children and you also see older people there doing Tai Chi and other exercises.  It has both aplayground and exercise equipment and a little track surrounding it.  XiXi has become a pro at the running-in-place exerciser and Zach totally loves going down the big slide!

I've also been doing a LOT of shopping.  There are a lot of shops here on the island that are geared to adoptive families that all sell pretty much the same thing.  They stand out on the street and when they see an american with a Chinese child, they come up and hand you a flyer and tell you all about their store.  Some of them are a bit more pushy than others.  Our guide, Kelly, gave us the lowdown on which shops had the best respective items (chops, clothes, art, etc.)!

Last nite our guide took all of the families to a local Cantonese restaurant- it was amazing!

Today, Zach had his TB test read- it was negative- not even a little bump!  PHEW!  All of the kids in our group were ok!   Stay tuned for a picture post coming up next!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day 1 in Guangzhou

We arrived in Guangzhou late Friday night.  Our flight from Guiyang to Guangzhou was pretty sweet as we were all in First Class- too bad we won't have that for our long flight next Saturday!

Yesterday was a bit crazy- Zach had his visa photos and medical examination/TB test.

He was a total Zoolander for his photo- he sat right down in the chair and just sported this totally adorable smile.  I think I might have a little casanova on my hands

The pic of Ross and Zach below in front of the medical exam sign was taken BEFORE the exam- there were a TON of tears during the course of two hours.  We had to go thru several different stations with a long wait between each stop.  During the wait we were able to catch up with our travel group and swap stories and also meet other families from other agencies.  There are a lot of families here adopting special needs kiddos- every person I meet and every story I hear brings tears to my eyes- it's been  cool seeing how God has woven all of these families together.

After the exam, we took our laundry to a place that Jennie and XiXi scouted out to do our clothes.  They will deliver our CLEAN clothes later today!

The White Swan Hotel is just as amazing as I remembered it.  The breakfast buffet is to DIE for- and the view of the Pearl River from the window is equally amazing. XiXi and Zach both love the indoor waterfall with the big Koi fish swimming everywhere!

Zach is warming up to me.  This morning at breakfast, Ross got up to get some food and left Zach at the table- he screamed for a few minutes and then motioned for me to get him out of the highchair and let me hold and comfort him for a few minutes before he pointed to the highchair again!  He also let me swing him around a bit ago too!  YAY!

Apparently, a lot of the other families have experienced the Dad being the "chosen one"- so we are not alone in this...

This morning we went to the porcelain, jade and pearl markets- the shopping here is amazing!  and I have 5 more days of it!  WOO HOO!!!

We are enjoying getting to know the other families in our travel group- one other family had a 5.5 year old daughter they adopted in 2004- she and XiXi have totally hit it off!

It's so great to be here- the weather is in the 80s and sunny- lots of other american families to meet (HEAVEN for a sanguine extrovert!).

gotta go and take xixi to the pool!
more later!