Hanging out in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is China’s third largest city, and where all adoptive families come to complete the process. Here we start with a medical check on the first day, compile our paperwork, file for a U.S. entry visa at the consulate, then head home when it is issued. There is more free time here, and fortunately the climate is sub-tropical…a welcome change from frosty Harbin. Each day Bethany seems to be opening up more & more…and getting quite playful. She really enjoys sitting on the bed with Mom, and going through books, pictures, flash cards and drawing. She’s working real hard at learning to pronounce things, but it will of course take a while. Coleen’s experience doing speech therapy with the boys has come in handy, and Bethy seems very anxious to learn.

Holt families used to always stay at the White Swan Hotel, which is on the same island as the medical clinic, but it is under renovation. Since August most families have been staying at the China Hotel (a Marriott property), which is also quite upscale. They’ve done some very nice things to cater to adoptive families, and will likely continue to improve as the staff gets more familiar with our needs. We have a bit of free time here & are looking forward to exploring the nearby parks and of course getting some use out of the hotel pool.

The medical clinic visit went pretty smooth, though it didn’t look that way at first. Our bus was too large to drop us off nearby, so we all had to walk about 10 minutes to get visa photos, then to the clinic…and it was raining pretty good. Some folks brought umbrellas, but most didn’t & showed up pretty wet. The clinic is especially set up to process adoptive families efficiently, but there were double the usual number of us on this day. We got through there just fine however, and the Holt staff were very helpful in herding us through. The check consists of filling out a short questionnaire, then visiting three sections for exam & doctor signature. Kids over two get a TB test also, and that was something Bethany did not care for one bit! Before that however she charmed a local mother out of a mooncake she was about to give her own child, then went for the Happy Sheep toy one doc had in his window. Without blinking the doc gave her the toy (it’s a favorite cartoon show in China, and Bethy had the character on all her clothes when we got her). As Papa held her to comfort the trauma of the TB test, she fell sound asleep in his arms on the bus ride back to the hotel.

Sunday has been a quiet day, with a morning walk to find a few needed clothing items nearby, and a group dinner at a nice local restaurant. We all seem to be dealing with sinus issues to varying degrees, which isn’t too unexpected with the stress, travel and lack of sleep. Given that, we’re trying to ensure we get enough rest and eat well so it’s short-lived.

Blessings, all

Beijing Photos – day one

This gallery has photos from the flight to Beijing, and our first day of sightseeing. The first day we went to the closest part of the Great Wall, where Anna & Dad climbed the steep part nearly to the top. Afterwards we toured a traditional Hutong, which is a form of housing that dates way back. Most have been destroyed and replaced with large apartment buildings, but about 1100 remain. In a Hutong the family may have a courtyard inside, which is surrounded by rooms; a kitchen, bedrooms for immediate & extended family, etc. They usually don’t have bathrooms, but will use the public ones which are usually within a few minutes walk.

Abundantly Thankful!

This is indeed a very special Thanksgiving for our family! We are spending our last full day in Harbin, Bethany’s home city in China. The day will be filled with sightseeing, a little souvenir shopping and maybe a little rest. Tomorrow we will be heading south to Guangzhou, where it is much warmer, and the last leg of our journey. One week from today we will be on our way home to Minnesota!  Thank you Lord for your work in building our hearts, our home, our family. We are blessed indeed!