Saturday, June 2, 2007

Lovin' Life in Guangzhou

WOW! What a night! Our guide dropped us off at the airport in Fuzhou and all was well. We got our boarding passes, made it through check-in, and arrived at the gate with an hour to spare -- enough time to get a snack and relax. Then we found out our flight was delayed. It was delayed REPEATEDLY and we were stuck in the airport for FOUR hours .... four long hours! Oakley and I made at least 50 trips up the escalator and back down the steps, which she absolutely loved. She was REALLY good even though she was exhausted.

The airline served dinner to everyone at the gate at about 8pm and she chowed down. We had white rice, a three-layer entree consisting of a fried egg, green beans and squid, a chicken drumstick and a fish cake. She ate everything but the squid .... I told you she was smart! They also served us a paper cup with a packet of what Michael thought was a seasoning mix. He debated stirring it into his rice until we saw our fellow passengers adding boiling water to it -- it was TEA!!

We finally boarded the plane at 9:20pm, almost an hour an a half past Oakley's bedtime. She sat between me and Sawyer with her blanket in her lap. She was wide-eyed during take-off and kept looking up at us with a doe-eyed stare, but she never uttered a sound. We continue to be astounded at her adaptability. Having spent the last 33 months in a very structured environment, she has responded so well to new routines, sights and experiences and seems to take it all in stride. She was sound asleep two minutes into the flight and didn't wake up until we landed and I carried her off the plane.
We met our trusty guide, David, who is ABSOLUTELY wonderful -- we adore him! She was really scared when we got to the hotel and I can't imagine what she must have thought. The White Swan Hotel is gorgeous and the view from our room overlooks the Pearl River. Luckily, our room has a similar floor plan as our hotel in Fuzhou, so we set up her little toy area again and she seemed to feel more comfortable. We all slept soundly last night and woke up this morning happy to be here.

After breakfast, we met David and walked to a little shop to have Oakley's photo made for her visa. We then walked a few blocks (and man, is it HOT and HUMID here) for her medical exam. They listened to her heart and chest, looked in her ears, squeaked a toy horn to test her hearing, and weighed her. It was all over in a matter of minutes and they sent us on our way with a stamp of approval. We brought her back to the hotel, worked through a myriad of paperwork, and returned to our room to put her down for an early nap. In the room, she was thrilled to find a Barbie, compliments of the white Swan Hotel. And not just any ordinary Barbie, but a Barbie holding a little Chinese baby:). I can't say I see the resemblance in Oakley and the baby, but Mike says I'm a dead-ringer for Barbie (HA HA! Maybe a middle-aged overweight Barbie!)
After lunch at the infamous Lucy's, we walked the streets and did a little shopping. I bought two adorable outfits for Oakley for $6 each -- they are too cute. I also purchased a silk Chinese outfit for her for $4 and will take her picture on the White Swan's red couch - a tradition for adoptive families who visit the hotel. We LOVE Guangzhou!! The shopkeepers come out on the streets to greet us and congratulate us. We realize a lot of their friendliness may be a sales tactic, but I don't care .... it's so refreshing to receive such a warm welcome and it's fun to barter for the goods they are selling. It's amazing to see all the families in the hotel getting to know their new babies. I will admit that Oakley is by far the brightest of the bunch! People continue to be amazed at how much English she knows already and all the Chinese people remark at how clever she is ... and how big!
Sullivan and Hagan:

We picked up some souvenirs for you today at some of the little shops. Oakley is learning your names and she also points to Mamaw's picture and says Mamaw. She can speak some words so clearly, one of them being banana. You'd love the view from our hotel room. We see lots of boats and we're going to take a river boat cruise later this week. We are missing you more and more every day and although I'm not looking forward to the plane ride home, I can't wait to give you both big hugs. This is too long to be away from two of my favorite guys. Sullivan, be a good boy for Lori and have fun with Spencer. And Hagan, let us know how the party was! Here's a photo of some of the seafood you can choose to put in your dinner -- eel. They have it in big buckets in front of the restaurants along with turtles, frogs, crabs and big worm looking things. I think we actually ate some of these, unknowingly, in Beijing --- ugghhhh!

We'll see you soon!!
Love, Mom


Anonymous said...

Yahoo! Your in the final stretch! I KNOW you are missing those two other boys terribly and they are longing for their mama as well. I see you discovered gymboree for girls- Betsy has that same top :) Oakley and Betsy are just 4 months apart- so when you were holding Betsy as a newborn at my house, Oakley was tiny too- NEAT! Love seeing pictures of Sawyer too! I thought of him this morning in the car when I heard Simon & Garfunkel "Me and Julio down by the school yard"- Remember JULIO!!! Boy I had fun with that little guy...
Have a GREAT time on the last leg ~ Boy you've got some serious suppport at home ~ Have you read all these comments!!! Love, Kate

Anonymous said...

Jana - it is so good to hear from you guys. The pictures of Oakley keep getting better and better. I love how still she is sitting during the medical exam and the one of Mike helping her with her Barbie doll! Precious. You need to take in those compliments from Mike. Take em in and say "Thank you". You do look like a Barbie doll! only better! I Goggled the White Swan Hotel. Looks like a nice place! I am so thankful the adjustment is going well. It's a miracle. I see God's handiwork.

Love, Pam

Adam and Cynthia Farley said...


You need to put a picture of David on your blog..I wonder if he's the same David we had!!! If so, ask him if there was a tall american lady that kept talking about "him needing a woman in his life" - I tried to fix him up while I was there!!! He is a doll!!! Don't you look the "fresh food" over there!!! Yummy! (gag) I miss you and can't wait to compare notes when you get home! I love Lucy's and Danny's bagels!

Take care - and get a quick picture of David!


Nicole said...

Darrah really wants to meet you at the airport. LOL I told her we needed to give little Miss some time to adjust to her family before we bombard her. I just can't believe how different she looks. Love is amazing! I put the picture of her jumping joyfully into your hands on my blog as my picture of the week. I just can't get enough of your girl! LOVE YOU!

Lisa Porter said...

I am so glad that Oakley is such a good traveller! Hopefully this will make the long trip home a little easier. Seeing the current pictures of her, it is hard to believe this is the same woebegone child of just a week ago. To think that she had all this joy and delight(and love)inside her waiting for the chance to come out! I get chills when I think how her entire life will be changed through the love of your family and I pray that many, many other children get the same chance at a loving family.

Lisa P.

Anonymous said...

You are almost home! What a wonderful feeling! Glad you are resting and relaxing in GZ. Oakley is just nestling her way into my heart, it is amazing. I look at her with the eyes of a proud auntie....I'm thinking we'll need to take a vacation from Michigan to Kentucky soon. :) She is remarkable, precious, beautiful and just amazes me with every entry you post. What a precious little soul. I'm so glad God put her in your family!!

Sorry you may have eaten eel, turtles and frogs...I will keep my eyes on the alert when we go to Beijing. :) Thanks for the heads-up. :) Hah!

Thanks again, too, for bringing a little lov'in and hugs to my Katie and for giving us the gift of those pictures. I look at them over and over again!

Blessings to you!!!
Mommy to Li Fang (Katherine Grace)

Anonymous said...

Jana, Mike , Sawyer, & Oakley:

I 've finally learned to bring my make-up to work so I can reapply after the tears of joy I shed for y'all each time I read and see the wonderful pictures! You really can see the transformation in Oakley and the power of love. "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might" as you prepare for your journey back home.
Prayers & Blessings,
Julie (Mitch/Kellen/Kendalls mom)