Today has been a VERY LONG day in China. I woke up at 5:45 after not sleeping very well, worried that my alarm wouldn't go off. I got myself ready for our U.S. Consulate appointment and then woke up my sleeping angels to get them ready. Thankfully we had time for a very quick Skype session with Jason and the boys back home. It was so fun seeing Jenna point at her daddy on the computer screen since I think she recognizes him. We then headed down to the buffet for a quick breakfast before loading into a van with one other Lifeline family and some families from another adoption agency, all headed to the "Grand Finale" at the U.S. Consulate (details about this important morning can be read in my previous post!)
Once the girls and I were back to the hotel from our Consulate appointment, we spent some time playing in the room before heading out to the hotel playground for some fresh air. Jenna was completely overwhelmed by the number of families with children there, so she stayed by my side until most people left and then she was all smiles and giggles going down the slide with her big sister. The orphanage was absolutely correct in the fact that she is very shy and timid...I'm seeing this more and more when we're in any type of crowd.
Our next stop was the local supermarket, Aeon. We went there one other time with Jason and it was quite overwhelming, so I'm glad I'd already been there once before to know where to find what we needed, mostly snacks to have in the room and more noodles for my girls!
Loaded down with Jenna in the carrier, my purse, and two grocery bags on my shoulders, we headed back past the hotel to Subway to grab sandwiches to have back in the room. I AM SO TIRED OF EATING OUT! But thankfully, some of what we're eating is "American," as Shelby says...ha! After lunch, Jenna went down pretty well for a nap, only fussed for about 10 minutes. She sure is a cutie in her red and white sleeping like a little angel!
Shelby and I enjoyed playing card games (Chick-fil-A has THE BEST kids' meal treats...the recent card games have been a hit here in China!) and working on her school work. Once Jenna was up, we ventured back to the hotel playground for a little bit more fresh air and activity. There was only one family there, Chinese woman and her daughter, so Jenna felt "safe" and started playing immediately. The woman spoke English so we enjoyed a nice conversation. She told me how great it was for us to adopt Jenna, that she will have such a better life in America. I told her "thank you, but WE are the ones that are truly blessed by her."
At 5:30 PM, we met our travel group in the lobby to depart for the Pearl River dinner cruise. I've been told for months this is really cool and everyone was right...it was awesome! It made me miss Jason, Nathan and Andrew so much more, though, because I know they would've loved it. The buffet dinner was good but the sights were AMAZING!!!
There was so many things about tonight's dinner cruise that were funny, but two in particular are fresh on my tired mind. When given the signal to start eating from the buffet, it was absolute CHAOS! Chinese people swarmed the buffet table in no order whatsoever. It made me laugh that almost everyone from our travel group stayed back to watch and then got in line after the chaos slowed down. But "line" is a loose term because people just went where they wanted to get what they wanted in no particular order...VERY different than in America.
Okay, so the second thing that had my laughing hysterically--and feeling quite nauseous--was when I got in line for food. I wasn't sure whether the meat in one particular container was pork or chicken. A friend behind me said, "That is definitely chicken...there's the head." I about lost it! A cooked chicken head was staring back at me. HOLY COW!!! I started laughing my head off...no pun intended...but I thought I was going to cry or get sick. Needless to say, I did NOT eat any of that chicken but stuck with the noodles, rice, and cooked carrots.
After dinner and enjoying the sights, a silly magic/juggling show began. Jenna sat in my lap the whole time, a little overwhelmed but seemed to enjoy the silliness. Shelby sat with some friends she's made on this trip and had a great time.
On the bus ride back to the hotel, I was feeling VERY tired. It'd been a great day and yet my body is weary. But the thing I kept reflecting on was the bond that I feel with 10 other families this week. Eleven orphans now have forever families, and I feel eternally bonded to these families because of what we've experienced together these two weeks....two weeks that will change all of our lives for eternity.
I think my physical and mental fatigue has prevented me from truly processing all that I'm feeling right now, and in all honesty, I think this is one way the Lord is showing me His grace because I need to be as strong as possible right now. If I had a lot of time and energy to focus on all I'm feeling, I wouldn't be able to give Jenna and Shelby the attention they need and deserve.
I know that I am looking forward to be able to take some time, hopefully in the near future, to truly ponder all that has taken place these two weeks in China. But for tonight, I am thankful for a the special bond I now share with 10 amazing families. To God be the glory!