Sunday, February 22, 2015

Forging Friendships in China

We were told prior to traveling that our time in province would be difficult.  You are often alone, without other adoptive families, and this is rather isolating.  Things are less "western" in the provinces and your access to some "creature comforts" may be limited.  We were very fortunate prior to our travel to connect with another adoptive mama who was going to be in Nanning the whole time we were, at the same hotel!  She was traveling alone, as her husband had to stay home to take care of their other children.  We were thrilled to connect with T.  This was her third China adoption and just simply having another English speaking, white faced companion was wonderful.  She was with a different agency than us, so she was not with us for any of our planned outings or appointments in province, but she did meet us each day for breakfast at the "less than western" buffet and we would touch base with each other throughout the day about getting other meals.  Her adopted son was so precious and sweet and Hannah seemed to enjoy him.  We were so thankful for T and T while we were in Nanning!  We did not get to take the same flight to Guangzhou, but she arrived later that same day we did, and stayed at the same hotel again.  We were able to enjoy some dinners and breakfasts with them at the Garden, as well.

Everyone told us our time in Guangzhou would be much more comfortable, and they were right.  We were able to connect with other families with our agency (and even some using other agencies) and attend all of our appointments with them.  They went with us on the outings and we often spent time together during our "free" time as well.  Adoptive families were a dime a dozen at this hotel and not many people stared.  They were used to the white families with Asian babies coming through.  It was less of a mystery here.  In our group there were two families there with all their children and this was not their first adoption.  Much of what we went through was old hat to them.  There was one other family there that we just seemed to really connect with.  They are the same age we are, this child would be their fourth child, their oldest child is just a year older than Jacob, they home school their oldest, and so on.  They were God's biggest blessing to us during our week in Guangzhou.  At first, I wasn't sure how "real" I could get with them, but I quickly learned being "real" was totally welcome and needed by both parties.  Chris and M hit it off right away and W and I tried to cheer each other on as best we could to keep on fighting the good fight.  We spent everyday with them in Guangzhou and quite a bit of our free time, as well.  Their oldest daughter, R, came with them to China and Hannah literally adored her, and she was so sweet and gentle with Hannah.  I can't say it enough.  Would....not....have....survived Guangzhou without them, their ability to be "real" with us, the no sugar coating it, THIS IS HARD, real part of it all.  I was so eager to leave China and get home, but I will say, the one thing I miss is seeing this sweet family each day and walking this road with them.  We remain in touch and I think they will forever be a part of our fondest memories related to China.  We are the best cheerleaders for each other because we truly get it.  We are both right there, deep down in the trenches of this thing called adoption, and while one had a good day, the other does not.  I honestly think part of God's plan and timing of our adoption was related to the preparation of our hearts and Hannah's heart, but also the weaving together of lives during this week in Guangzhou.  We will forever be thankful for the little gift He had in store for us in Guangzhou in the form of a forever friendship in this amazingly awesome family.  So wish we lived closer together!

When we departed, we got to be on the same flight out of Guangzhou as T and T and then spent a long four hour layover in Shanghai together with another adoptive family.  God orchestrated all of the details we needed to make each leg of our journey bearable and possible.  We are thankful for His plans and timing!

This is the lobby of our hotel.  I told you it was grand!  This is our travel group from our agency--all here for the same week in Guangzhou.

This is a portion of the family that truly made our time so much more enjoyable.  See Hannah holding R's hand?  And their new adopted daughter, J was seriously the picture of a true fighter coming out of the orphanage system.  I can still hear her shouting, "MAMA!"  This girl was so thrilled to have a mama of her very own!  W is on the far right.  Forever changed by them, forever thankful for them.  Blessed indeed.  We miss you, R family!

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