Thursday, March 10, 2016

Our last day in China!

Ahhh.  I haven't dreamt of this all.

Well...yes. I have.  I have indeed.

In China (being a day ahead of N.A) today was March 10.

Izrael Promise's birthday.

Two days ago we lost Big Piggy.  I mean, we totally lost him.  He was gone. We retraced every step flashing a photo of Big Piggy and nope. No one saw him. He was gone.  I mean...Big Piggy is big!! 16" tall. How do you lose him?

I don't know if this was adoption related or it really broke my heart but I cried. Yes I put my face in my hands and cried because we lost Big Piggy.   Izrael is so tender hearted, so sensitive and she has been attached to Big Piggy for 4 years. He has had more surgeries than Azlan. He has no stuffing left in his head at all, making his belly huge. His once curly tail hangs straight as an arrow. He needs a good wash but may not survive the washing machine again. He's worn. Loved. Faded. And totally completely irreplaceable.

In China. We lose him.  Really.

Two days and two nights. We flashed photos of him everywhere. Told the hotel to please call him the moment he's found but inside...? We gave up hope.

This morning we woke to a phone call from consierge.  Big Piggy was found. I quickly reminded Dean that it was Ray's birthday.  Oh...what a gift.

So we told her there was a big surprise and in only the way Ray could do it...she hunched her little shoulders and closed her eyes.

Then she opened her eyes to see Big Piggy in the bag.  Oh there was no squeal of delight.  No big dramatic flair. Just the most beautiful smile that lingered for so long.  Big Piggy was home. 

What a great way to start her birthday.  

We had one last breakfast in this hotel. It's a beautiful hotel that we get a special rate with (with our adoption agency) but no matter how amazing it is...with this many nights here...we are done.  Even tired of the breakfast if you can believe it.

Here we are leaving breakfast and headed up to our room to put Big Piggy to bed while we go tour.

This is a first for Nazara to feel comfortable enough to take ZhenAi's hand and I'm glad we got it on camera :)  

ZhenAi had a great day. She woke smiley and was smiley most of the day.

We took a taxi in the POURING RAIN to the Pearl Market.  Last time we were there (3.5y ago) I vomited my guts up and convinced myself I really missed out on an amazing time so I wanted to go back. Alas...I'm not sure I had missed anything :)  And since it was still pouring rain, the roof was leaking and they were catching the drips with bags all over the place. I did buy a few cool gifts there and then we decided to walk out front and saw the rain had stopped.  Thinking we'd walk a short ways and get another taxi...we realized we were so close to Shaiman Island and wanted to go back. 

It was definitely our coldest day in China but everyone was pretty bundled up in as many layers as I could find.  We went for lunch right aways and got warmed up and then hit a few more little shops to get last minute gifts.  Izrael really wanted a tea set for her birthday and picked one out for about $8usd :)  

We then decided to grab a cab and go to a place we had on our list all week. Tonight was our last night so this was our chance.  It's a store of the company we work for.  It was pretty straight forward and the taxi driver knew where it was.

Oh. My. Word.

Well over 2 hours in the taxi (for a 30minute ride) with over 1h40minutes (the cab tracks it!) going less than 5mile per hour.  

Our story gets crazier. Much crazier :)

We were out of Chinese money.  The taxi would have cost us 30-40 yuen.  We had 82 left.  We were fine.  Except...the traffic was bumper to bumper for some detour and we were in that cab over 2hours!! So...we pull up to the building...and the total due was 81!! We only have 82!  Unreal.  So we pay...get's FREEZING...the kids are now obviously tired...Nazara had fallen to sleep...

We get out and go into this mall that is laid out so interesting.  Found a bathroom...even though ZhenAi always says she never has to go, the moment you see the bathroom she starts undressing LONG before we are near a stall. Yes it's a lovely sight as I'm desperately trying to get her into a stall and motion that she's not to leave without me.  Close the door and then quickly get myself and the girls into a stall.  Well I did that.  The entire time we are using the bathroom she's screaming.  Not crying. Just yelling out something. So I'm talking to her "ZhenAi Mama is here. Wait".  We exit our stall and the bathroom is FULL of people. Like...full. Great. All doors are closed and I have no idea where ZhenAi is. She's still yelling and I'm embarrassingly pushing on each door looking for her. Finally I assume she went out with Dean. SO I walk out...nope, not there. I can still hear her but was sure it was from outside. Leave the little girls with Dean, barge back in through this huge line up of women and looking for. Yes you should have seen the looks on all the faces when I find her and she comes out laughing just trying to get out of there asap.  Dying.  

  Then I remind Dean we are out of money. We will need money now for the cab ride back.  This begins our search for an ATM.  Well long story short, we found a few. No work for us.  Great.  We are a country mile away from our hotel, being all adventurous, the night before we go home...and well. Yah.

We finally find someone who can speak a tiny bit of English who leads us to one person who leads us to another. Finally we are in this gorgeous hotel and there's a young guy at the front desk who speaks incredible Enlish.  We have $6 USD left and he changes it for us to 35 yuen.  He's laughing, we are laughing...we are hoping we can get home with the 35!  He asked his partner to get us to where we need to go.  

He literally walks us outside, into the mall and into the elevator. Floor 11 he says. We go up and are greeted by this beautiful restaurant and all its staff.

 I mean we are dying. It's now been over 3 hours of this journey. We are 99% sure this place will be closed but by golly we were determined to see it now! 

Some small amounts of English by one individual leads us down, across the buidling to another elevator to floor 11. We get up there only to see it's all dark. I'm a tad freaked out (right?) and stay in the elevator with the kids as Dean is running around just looking for it.  I'm hoping the elevator lets us stay there because Heaven forbid I get separated from him.  Finally I hear him yell out "I found it!" and then he gets in, leans his head against the wall and we both just laugh. Like...really.  

Determination? You think? :)

It gets better.  Cold. Tired. Hungry. Dean says "let's do Mcdees" (a first for this trip).  He has a cc and that will work as it has before.  I sat down with the girls and Dean goes to order. My mind is still swirling about our 3-4 hour event and like really. Only us.  Finally Dean comes to the table and says "umm you won't believe what just happened".  Yah. I would.  

They don't take Visa.  After the staff whispered for a while an called the manager in...they decided to gift him the entire meal. Ok you guys. Oh my heck. I think it's time for us to go home!! ;)

If you know know know what this look on my face says.  Sorry I only know one way to say it: "!"

In all seriousness our only regret is that we didn't do this sooner. It's a little intimidating to be brave in a place where few speak your language but it was so beautiful downtown! We wish we had done it sooner and explored instead of staying so close to our hotel!  Yes, you guessed it, we just had enough $ for the taxi ride home.

This entire time, ZhenAi was smiling, warm, sweet. Constantly running up to hold my hand.  A great day.

We got home and we started packing. We have to be down stairs at 5am tomorrow for our first short flight from Guongzhou to Shanghai.  

ZhenAi has not showered/bathed for a few days and she needed to.  I let her sit and play while I bathed Izrael and Nazara first, thinking that would make it easier. 

Once they were done...I called her to come.  Oh she's fiercely stubborn and can be very defiant.  She looked at me, shook her head, crossed her legs, tightened her stance and kept playing.  I called her again and that's when she decides she just can't hear. So I come closer, nicely bent down and motioned for bath and sleep and pointed to the girls fresh out of their bath. She put her hand up, started wagging her foot and shaking her head over and over but totally refusing to look at me.  

Ahhh.  It wasn't really optional you guys.  Her hair was really greasy...she would have another 24h before she could shower.  Finally she came to the half undressed and made me do the rest.  I'm kind of gathering she had to do very little herself.  So yes, I got her ready but then she stood in the bath and started all over again.  No way was she getting all the way in.  

Both Dean and I have committed to being firm when we need to...but always...always smiling.  

She is now leaning in to bite me. Chomping her jaws at me as I help her into the bath. I'm getting bubbles going, trying to make it more inviting,  all the while sweating buckets. 

Finally she sits in the bath. Ahhh. I can't exactly walk away though. I have to wash her hair.  Tonight nothing was easy.  Finally get her out of the bath...she seems happy, smiling. Comb her hair, help her with her teeth etc.  The whole time I'm talking to her about sleep doing all the actions. She's just glaring at me.  We come out and she stood in her bed.  I stood there fixing her hair, motioning for bed (smiling).  Nope.  Not happening.  She leans in chomping like she's ready to bite me and folds her arms.  Picture a tantrum from a 2 year old that plants their feet firm on the ground and challenges you to dare move them.  Problem is...she's not two.  I can't just pick her up and lay her down like I would a 2 year old.  I was so warm, so calm, so smiley...all the while...sweating buckets.

Finally I sat her down with her feet immediately swinging at me, pulled her feet out and tucked her in. Thankfully she stayed there but she started wailing. The girls are sleeping so I close the one door to keep them asleep.  I go back to talk to her, point to our suitcases that we are leaving and have to sleep and she's ready to lunge at me.

Ahhh. We turn music on. She stops crying shortly after and soon falls to sleep. 

I came into the room and just sat. Exhausted.  Mentally...physically exhausted after that episode.  

So we are packed. Sitting here with 3 sleeping kids.  Everything ready to go.

Please please pray for us.  For the flights...that they would be smooth as silk and as uneventful as could be.  And for ZhenAi.  That should we would have a great day tomorrow. Feeling a little more safe and secure each day.

We are so so ready to be home. So ready.


  1. I am exhausted reading this lol! I can't imagine you guys! You are so patient and are doing an amazing job in this journey:) sending you miles of sweet silk worms to "spin" your smooth travels home!


  2. Praying you home, home, home!!

  3. What a way to end your time in China! Oy vey friend! <3 I am praying for you right now to have an incredible peace as you fly, and that the flights are some of the smoothest ever! Praying for ZhenAi to not have any meltdowns on the plane, and that this is one of her best days yet for you! Thinking of you lots right now!

  4. Janice, I had goosebumps as I read this entry! Did you notice the metaphor (I THINK that's the word I want?) in your story? "Big Piggy" May not look the best--for different reasons, he is faded, a bit bedraggled but he is precious and loved. Your ZhenAi is obviously NOT a "piggy" in any way but she IS "big" in that she is larger than the others you've adopted due to her age. She was "lost" and in a sense, when brought to the orphanage or foster home, she was a "stranger in a foreign land" --much like precious Izrael' s "Big Piggy!" But you rescued her because she matters, you love her, she is now part of the family and you are bringing her home to what will initially be another "foreign land" but that is because she was found, chosen and loved!
    I pray you all have safe travels --and if by chance Satan tries to tell you that you all will get home safely "when pigs fly" --you just tell Satan that God -- and "Big Piggy" are BOTH on that flight, he's a liar and take-off is about to begin!
    Happy birthday to your sweet Izrael!
    Love, Lori