Monday, December 22, 2014

Shopping and the Consulate

Does Frosty the Elf visit people living in hotel rooms in China while they are adopting their third daughter?  Well, of course he does!

Frosty flew a long way to find us.

The girls woke up to a visit from Frosty as well as some letters from Santa sent right from Santa's Village.  We are doing our best to keep the holiday spirit alive while here in China.  We are so happy to see holiday decorations around and hear Christmas songs everywhere we go.  (Michael Buble seems to be a favorite.)  Still, it's weird spending the holiday season away from home.  But holding my daughter now, I know that coming as fast as we could was absolutely the correct decision.  Pushing things off and leaving her here to keep from disrupting the holidays seems so selfish.   Especially when it could have snowballed into an ever longer delay due to the upcoming CCCWA computer system upgrade.  I didn't bake holiday cookies or decorate as much as I usually would or get to participate in the last minute bustle.  We'll be eating our Christmas dinner on a plane or in an airport food court instead of with my family who we miss very much.  But I will have the best Christmas present of all right there with me.  I'll be with my family and new daughter.  Isn't that what Christmas is really about?

Baba reading letters from Santa.
On Sunday, we headed out shopping with Connie.  We actually were not even supposed to be with Connie on Sunday, but she admitted that she loves to shop and would be happy to join us for a half day.

First we headed to a tiny jade store.  It was the same jade store that Helen took us to on Emmie's adoption trip.  I bought some small jade circle pendants for myself and the girls so we could all match.  As an early Christmas present, we decided to get me a jade bangle, something I've thought about getting for awhile now.  Connie told me that Chinese women say that if it hurts when you put it on, then it's the right size. Chinese women also never take them off, so they buy the absolute tiniest bangle then can jam on their hand.  I tried a few of the larger bangles on but didn't like the way they looked so I decided to try a smaller one that I *could* take off if necessary.  The jade dealer put a plastic bag around my hand and wrist and told Connie to tell me to sit down before he tried getting it on my hand.  Terrified, I sat down and the owner and his wife jammed it on my hand.  I wish I had a video of me squealing as they did it.  They promised me I would be able to get it off with copious amounts of lotion.


Hand throbbing but with my lovely new jade bracelet on, we headed to the same pearl store where we got Emmie and Rosie's pearls.  As soon as we walked in the owner recognized us.  We all picked out a perfectly lovely strand for Frannie and watched their quick work stringing them.

Watching intently as their little sister's pearls are strung.
Our last stop was at the Government store, where we always go to buy some fancier gifts.  After shopping, they treated us to a traditional tea service which we all loved.

After a quick ramen break in the room and some playtime, we headed out to stroll Shamian Island.  We took the now-familiar walk through the pet and spice markets full of noises and smells and crowds to the quiet and relaxing island.

We've eaten a lot of noodles around this table over the years.

Spice market.

Shamian Island.

Monday was our Consulate appointment.  I'm not sure if anyone really gets very nervous about the Consulate stuff, but after our experience on Rosie's adoption trip, I'd say we were a bit anxious about the whole thing.  It went smoothly, and now we just have to cross our fingers that Frannie's visa is issued without a hitch.

After our appointment was done, we tried for a little holiday photo session in the Holiday Inn lobby since they have such nice decorations.  That did not work particularly well as one of our little friends does NOT like to be put down by mama.

Emmie looks sick because she's rocking a NEW cold now which she
has generously passed on to Patrick and me.  Will the germs ever stop?!?!

Merry Christmas from China!
(Can you hear her screaming, "MAAAAAAMA" because she did not want to be put down?)

That's better.
Since we only visited Shamian briefly yesterday, we decided to spend the day over there relaxing and shopping for squeaky shoes and souvenirs.  We made our usual stop at the Starbucks there, which has to be one of the nicest Starbucks in the world.  That's where each of our girls has had their inaugural sip of coffee.  It was such a nice day just hanging out like a regular family, and made me think of what it will be like when we are home and living our "normal" family life.

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and prayers for our health and healing.  We are inching closer every day to where we want to be...home.  It's a hard trip and a long trip, but each time we have done it, we have gained an unimaginable new joy in our lives.  This is no exception.


Anonymous said...

Have been following you all on this magical journey.
Frannie looks like she fits right in! You all look so happy- but I know you are tired. How all goes smoothly and you head back to the states on Christmas.
-Holly (HeartWare)

Anonymous said...

Sending wishes and prayers for a safe time coming HOME!!!GOD BLESS YOU AL:L AND A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!Cathy in Illinois

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog since your first adoption (I adopted my daughter about a month after you brought Emmie home). I love that you have adopted more children and just wanted to tell you what a beautiful family you have and how much your pictures make me smile! Merry Christmas and hope your trip home goes smoothly.

Joe and Pattie said...

Will miss you sooooo much Christmas Eve, but there is NO PLACE ELSE that you all should be but together!!! Get well and get home. We LOVE YOU ALL! Merry Merty Christmas to our beautiful heart of niece and Patrick, and to our incredibly adorable and loving great nieces :)