Sunday, February 16, 2014

Our First Day in Guangzhou

Today was our first full day in Guangzhou. The weather here is colder than normal but much warmer than Zhengzhou.  We have been happy to shed our heavy coats, long underwear, hats and gloves!  

Hannah slept fairly well last night.  She woke up once around 1am with a dirty diaper and slept in our bed after that until 7am. While it may sound crummy to have her not sleep through the night, we were thrilled she woke up and cried for her diaper to be changed.  Previously she just kept sleeping because she was probably not used to someone answering her cries in the night or changing her diaper right away.

We enjoyed the massive breakfast buffet in our hotel and saw many new American faces.  Every adoptive family must come to Guangzhou for their child’s medical exam and visa appointment.  It was our first time to see many faces that we know from our facebook adoption groups.

After breakfast we loaded onto the bus to head out for a morning of sightseeing.  First we went to a Buddhist temple, the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.  It is the largest temple in Southern China and one that many Buddhists believe to be more powerful so they make pilgrimages to the temple.  It features beautiful grounds with large banyan trees, a large tower, and many Buddha statues.  There were many people there actively worshiping.  It is normally not acceptable to take photographs of Buddha but because it is a tourist location it is accepted at this temple.

 Buddha statue as you enter the temple.
People have left offerings for him - money, oranges, even some peanut oil!

Large tower at the temple

I love all the lanterns that are still hanging from Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)

Buddhists burning incense to Buddha

These statues are approximately 1600 years old

A temple holding the only female Buddha.
Our guide says she is the Buddha for women and children. 
She said the women and children needed a Buddha so they made this one up in their imaginations as she put it.

Next to a Banyan tree.  The trees were really beautiful!

Incense overload at this point :/

Bryan was a mega tourist and took a stealth mode pic of a monk!

While it was interesting to experience this part of Chinese culture (90% of older Chinese people are Buddhist) it also made us feel very sad and burdened for the people of China.  We were told that when Buddhists come to the temple they burn incense and hope the smoke will carry their wishes to the Buddhas in heaven.  As they make their wish/say their prayer, they tell the Buddha their name.  What a stark contrast to the personal, loving relationship we have with our Father in Heaven.  Not only does He know my name, but He created me, knows the number of hairs on my head and all my comings and goings.  He knows and has made great plans for me!

After the temple we went to the famous Chen Academy or Chen House.  It belongs to the Chen family which is the largest family name in Southern China.  This academy is an ancestral home that was used to teach young people before their imperial exam in China.   It is now a museum of sorts which lots of open area and exhibits of ancient Chinese artwork and artifacts.  They have calligraphy, carvings, and embroidery to name a few.  We were able to purchase scrolls with our family name and Hannah’s name in calligraphy.  

Unfortunately Hannah was not a fan of the Chen House.  She had a mega meltdown in the Ergo carrier.  She didn’t stop crying until we had completely exited the grounds of the Chen House.  I got plenty of stares from Chinese people when I couldn’t comfort my screaming child.  We knew she was probably getting hungry but we had left snacks in the bus.  

Chen Clan Academy

Ornate carvings on the building

Bryan posing by the male lion at the academy entrance

Traditional embroidery work

Calligrapher at the academy

Carvings of gods at the entrance to the academy for protection

Next we went to a store that sells artwork, jewelry, etc that are representative of Chinese culture.  They had tea sets, jade, pearls, porcelain, and silk clothing among other things.  Most of the prices were fairly high since it is a government owned store so we didn’t buy very much.  We have plans to go shopping in other areas of Guangzhou later in the week.

While we waited for the rest of our group we explored a small grocery store across the street.  As we looked at various Chinese crackers and cookies, Hannah got excited and pointed to a package of cookies.  We were thrilled to see her point to something, so you better believe we bought those cookies! Baby girl was so happy when she got to eat some in the bus! They were a light wafer cookie with a thin layer of cream icing in the middle.  

Chinese grocery store

No idea what this stuff was but it was nasty looking

China was not made for people the size of Bryan Pickett.
Here he is trying to squeeze into his bus seat.

Someone loves her new cookies!

We went back to the hotel and ordered room service.  After a long morning out we knew Hannah needed the peace of the room.  She enjoyed some pasta with me and then I was able to quickly rock her to sleep.  She took a great 2 hour nap before waking up to enjoy another cookie!  

Bryan hides out in the bathroom while I put Hannah to sleep so he doesn't distract her.  
This is how I found him when I finally got her down today:


This evening we joined about 20 other adoptive families from many agencies at a local Irish restaurant in Guangzhou.  We ate buffet style and got to meet many faces that we had previously only seen on Facebook.  While I didn’t get the chance to visit with everyone, it was a great encouragement to be in the room with so many like-minded people who love adoption like we do!

The name of the restaurant in Chinese so we could tell the taxi where to take us

Just our table at the restaurant.  This is probably 1/3 of the people there!

Look who can hold her bottle!

Hannah did great at the restaurant and even decided she was capable of holding her own bottle! Until now she wanted us to feed her everything.  She is fully capable of picking up small bites of food in spite of her arthrogyposis in her hands, yet she will pick up bites and hand them to me so I can feed her.  It is actually really funny and I’ve been happy to accomodate her as it is great for bonding.  We suspect the orphanage nannies thought she couldn’t feed herself so they spoon fed her everything.  

When we got back from the restaurant she decided she could in fact take a bite of a cookie!  May seem small to you but this is monumental for her this week!  I am more than happy to feed her but life is about to get hectic in about 7 days when she is one of 3 kids we are caring for, so being able to take a few bites of food without help would be awesome! :)

We skyped with the boys and then got Hannah ready for bed.  She is loving her bottle and being snuggled and rocked at night. We received updated information on her the night before gotcha day that says she did not need to be held to fall asleep.   Well of course she didn’t— that likely was not even an option in the orphanage! Now that she knows how good it feels to be rocked and comforted to sleep she wants nothing to do with falling asleep all alone.  I am thankful to get this time of comforting, rocking and loving back with her since we missed the first 18 months of her life.  

We are holding up well— way better than we ever did in Kyrgyzstan! — and appreciate everyone’s prayers and encouragement.  Hannah is still not accepting care from Bryan other than taking bites of table food from him.  Bryan is handling that fine and being a great support to me, but it would be wonderful if Hannah would begin to accept him as a loving caregiver too.  We are thrilled she is attaching well to me but I would love to share the task of carrying her around with him, and let him enjoy her snuggles too!  We would love it if you would pray for her heart to be open to her Daddy who loves her dearly.  It may be weeks before she changes her mind about him— but we trust it will happen when she is ready.  

Tomorrow we have Hannah’s medical exam in the morning, shopping in the afternoon, and the Pearl River cruise in the evening.  It should be a full and fun day!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to you guys! We are so excited for you and can't wait to meet Hannah and see the boys again. Daniel