October 23rd · October 23, 2006

Dinner Cruise on the Pearl River

Today was a free day for our group.  After breakfast we were asked to return to our hotel rooms from 10:00 am until 11:30 am or so to wait for a call from our tour guide.  Our tour guide was at the U.S. Embassy with all of our immigration and adoption paperwork going over it with the officials making sure it was all in order for our appointment tomorrow.  We got our call around noon that all of our documents were in order and nothing further was needed.  We will go to the Embassy on Tuesday at 2:45 pm for our appointment and swearing in ceremony for our daughter to become a U.S. citizen.

We spent some time poolside this afternoon but because Brea is not a big fan of the water we just hung out and watched everyone else playing.  Brea and Daddy also had some quality time while Mommy went shopping with some of the other ladies in our group.

This evening our tour guide Connie arranged for our group to go on a dinner cruise down the Pearl River.  We learned that the river was named by an Emporer who was given a large pearl found in the river by a local fisherman many years ago.  The cruise was nice with lots of beautiful lights and buildings to see but the meal left much to be desired. I'm sure the food was just fine but we are just ready for some good old American food and it would be nice to know what we are eating.

We had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Connie this evening.  We learned that she actually works for a travel agency that arranges adoption travel for several countries with agencies adopting from China.  She only works with groups traveling to adopt special needs children and was telling us that the sadest part of her job is when a family receives their child (remember, this is a child that they picked off a list of children with special needs) and then decides that the child is too developmentally delayed, too weak or just not what they expected and they want to give the child back and get a different child.  Although we have never been in that situation it is hard for us to imagine doing this.  We committed to Brea and God before our flight ever left the USA to come here that we would be her parents and deal with whatever issues we faced when we got here.  We had a scare the evening that we received Brea when we returned to our room with her and undressed her to find a small hole in the small of her back.  We also discovered that she has several large mongolian spots and that she was weak, could not sit up, could not hold her head up well and could not really move her right leg voluntarily.  We were frightened but never waivered in our decision to parent her and bring her into our family.  We were thrilled to learn that what we thought was a dimple at the base of her spine (which would indicate spinal bifida) was something very minor and correctable if need be.  We had done enough research to know that the mongolian spots will fade over time and we also knew that her developmental delays were things she would overcome with love, patience, nutrition and one on one attention.  Here we are just one week later and we have a child that is sitting up on her own, rolling over both ways, moving every part of her body just fine, holding her head up just fine and doing everything in her power to make us laugh!  What a tragedy it would have been had we let our fears take over and asked for a different child.  Connie explained that many of the children returned to the orphanage will never get a second chance to be adopted.  We certainly don't want to pass judgement on anyone but it is our prayer that through education and faith more and more families will come to accept the child that God has given them.   

Only 36 more hours and we will be on our way home to the USA!  We can't wait to see Brooke and Baker and for them to meet their new baby sister.  She is such a sweetheart and they are really going to love her.  As much as we have missed them we are glad that they didn't come with us.  This trip has been hard for even the adults.  It has been major traveling, long days of touring, strange foods and smells and lots and lots of official meetings, paperwork and waiting.  There is one family with two teenagers in our group and they have done well but it has been really hard for the other children traveling with their parents. 

Enjoy the pictures from today and this evening. As you can see, Brea continues to blossom and we continue to be thankful for the three beautiful blessings that God has given us!

Goodnight from Guangzhou!

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Mommy, Daddy and Me in front of the White Swan waterfall
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