"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." - Isaiah 43:5
Well, here we are in Guangzhou. We’re posting two days at once. By the time we got to our hotel last night, we were all exhausted. Now that we have rested (Dayna’s napping again), we thought it would be a good time to figure out the internet at our hotel.
First, for those of you who are not familiar with Chinese adoption tradition, the White Swan Hotel is a sort of “rite of passage” for Chinese children. The American consulate is in Guangzhou, so all adoptive families returning to the US end up here. The White Swan was the first 5-Star hotel in China and is the most popular hotel for adoptive families to stay. We’ll be telling you more about some White Swan traditions in days to come.
Backtracking, Dayna did okay on her first airplane trip. She was quite wiggly for the first hour or so, then finally fell asleep in her hammock. Unfortunately, the nap was short-lived, for as the plane pulled up to the gate, an unsuspecting gentleman soundly placed his elbow right in the side of her head. This started another 2 hours of fussing. Poor kid!
The flight was bittersweet. We were excited to move on to Guangzhou and meet up with other families, but also knowing we were leaving the place of Dayna’s birth forever. The words to “Red River Valley” have been running through Alaina’s head since hearing them the other night. The words have been slightly changed, but this lullaby soothed Dayna as we left Fujian:
From this county they say you are going
We shall miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For, alas, you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathway awhile
Let me hold you awhile if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember your Gutian County
And the people who loved you so true
The people of Fujian have been so kind, and we owe a debt of gratitude to our new friend, Leila. Without her sweet spirit and eagerness to help, we would have been utterly lost this week.
On to the White Swan! When we awoke this morning (or shall we say when Dayna awoke…8:45!), we went to the famed breakfast buffet. Hooray for chicken nuggets! Alaina has been carb-loading for a week in the effort to avoid pork. She never thought braised lamb, pastrami and chicken nuggets would taste so good for breakfast! We have gone from being the only Caucasians (holding a Chinese baby, no less) to being part of an unspoken “family” of adoptive parents. There were high chairs everywhere in the restaurant filled with gorgeous Chinese babies!
When we went back to our room, we were given our “Going Home” Barbie. Mattel has a partnership of sorts with the hotel, and each adoptive family is given a limited edition, complimentary Barbie. The inscription on the box reads: “This souvenir is presented by Mattel (HK) Ltd. To adopting parents of Chinese orphan children staying at the White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou, China.”
Daddy went off to take care of some paperwork with Angela (our new guide) and representatives from the three other families here with All God’s Children. Meanwhile, Alaina and Dayna played in the room. At this point, Alaina finally found a way to get fluids into Dayna, since she won’t take a bottle. It’s painstaking, but Dayna did finish almost 6 ounces of formula and 4 ounces of apple juice from a spoon. Alaina was thrilled to find a way to play piped music into the room. She found a music channel of just piano music, and together she and Dayna listened to some of Mommy’s favorite pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. (You’re never too young to listen to good music!)
When the walls closed in a bit, we went downstairs to the Swan Room. This is a playroom filled with infant to preschool toys and videos donated by Mattel. We think we’ll be spending a lot of time here. After a trip upstairs to change her pants, we met up with Daddy and went back down to play some more. We met two of the other All God’s Children families down there. We look forward to getting to know each of them while we’re here. It’s amazing the connection you have with people you have just met.
Dayna started getting fussy, so here we are, waiting for her to wake up from her nap so we can explore. It’s raining pretty hard, so we don’t know how far we’ll make it, but we do desperately need to get some laundry done! Tomorrow we’ll go to church with our group and Angela. We’re so looking forward to this experience!
Okay, it’s a little later and our day is ending. We spent more time in the playroom this afternoon. We’re not sure if this playroom is better for the kids or the adults. Again, the connections we have made in the last 24 hours at the White Swan have warmed our hearts. The camaraderie with people who are experiencing what we are is touching.
We went to Lucy’s for dinner with two other families. Lucy’s is a local diner that specializes in Western fare. Alaina has never been so happy to see a cheeseburger, and Dan’s fried chicken and onion rings weren’t bad, either. Dan also finally got to try a Chinese beer. It wasn’t too bad!
Then back to the hotel for a bath and bedtime. It seems each night is a little less traumatic for her. She is pretty fussy at bedtime, but wakes up like an angel! We’re going to sign off now so we can get some sleep, too!
Dan, Alaina & Dayna
|"Going home" adoption Barbie|
|At Lucy's diner|
|Aren'y you glad we didn't paste Janiece's head on these chickens|