Thursday, March 31, 2016

Day 12 - USA or Bust

March 31 2016. We arrived in Hong Kong late last night. Our train ride was supposed to be a quick two hour ride, so every time it slowed down in Hong Kong we would think we were there but then the train would pick up speed again and we'd keep going until three or four hours later we were all the way through Hong Kong, out by the water and the airport. I wish I would have taken pictures coming through Hong Kong, it looks like an amazing place, such a giant city. Someday we'll have to come spend some time here and check it out. But for now we're all anxious to get home! Our flight leaves this morning, in 24 hours we'll be back in the same day again only this time in SLC. Can't wait for Cooper to meet the rest of his family!

Good bye Asia! It's been fabulous!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day 11 - Packet Pick Up - Good bye Guangzhou Hello Hong Kong

Wednesday March 30th 2016. Our last day in China. Today we picked up our packet that will allow Cooper to immigrate into the US from the consulate! Then we said good-bye to Guangzhou and some of the friends we've met here and went to the train station to catch a ride into Hong Kong.

We will miss all of the beautiful trees and parks and people in China.

 But I know I won't be missing these toilets!

Our translator, Connie in Guangzhou.
So thankfully for all of her help and everyone else at Heartsent Adoptions who has helped to make this experience remarkable!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Day 10 - U.S. Consulate Day

Tuesday March 29 2016. We picked up Cooper's medical records and went to the US Consulate to have our final interview and finish up paperwork.
 We weren't allowed to bring anything but ourselves inside so we took a couple of pictures before we went in.
 There we huge long lines of people trying to get visas and things that they need to visit and/or immigrate to the United States. It was humbling to witness. We have absolutely loved China but are so thankful for the country we live in. Seeing the beautiful stars and strips flying made us a little homesick and super thankful for America. There is just nothing else like it. Truly it is the home of the free and we are so excited that Cooper gets be part of it. I just kept singing the Star Spangled Banner in my head and I kinda wanted to sing it out loud, especially the 4th verse.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I love the United States of America!
Even if we are in the middle of a crazy presidential campaign crisis.

 Love these twinners too!
 We did some shopping and got a piece of jade that our translator told us Cooper needed for good luck. We also went to the pearl market and got Bryn a fake "pearl" bracelet.

 We had another great Chinese meal. Cooper had worked up a good appetite and went to town on the noodles and curry. Maybe I should learn to make this dish.

 Before heading back to the hotel we stopped by Shamian Island.
It had a lot of western/colonial style buildings but our favorite thing was this cute little sculpture.
One more day closer to going home!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Day 9 - Safari Zoo

Monday March 28 2016.  We spent the day at the Safari Zoo in Guangzhou. What an incredible and ginormous zoo! Its awesome and a little scary due to the lack of fences between you and the wild animals. Cooper liked looking at the animals as long as we weren't too close. He was a little scared to feed the giraffes but was happy to watch everything from the comfort of his stroller.

We feet like we've been in China long enough to do like the Chinese so we purchased our first selfie stick.
 Then we were able to get some really great pictures like this ;)

 This one is for Bryn, we know you love fake snakes!
 Brady posted the video of Cooper feeding these giraffes on his FB. It's was pretty hilarious.
 Awh!! So sweet!
 This elephant was having a great time spraying everyone.

We all loved watching the pandas. Such fascinating animals!

It was a great day with our cute chubby panda!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day 8 - Happy Easter

March 27 Happy Easter! No Easter bunny or eggs to find today but it was still joyful to celebrate the resurrection of the one who makes redemption possible! We didn’t much on the schedule today which made us a little homesick. We are really really really badly missing our children at home but at least we’re getting some good bonding time with Cooper. And at least we have Facetime so we can still talk to them and see their sweet faces. Thank goodness for modern technology! We did have a really quick translation/schedule/document appointment this morning with Connie. While I was going over the paperwork Brady was trying to keep Cooper in the meeting room. Finally Cooper had just had enough and had the saddest most adorable melt down ever. His little face crumpled up and he stood there for a few seconds holding still with a heartbreaking look on his face. A few tears started to fall and I could hardly stand it. He’s been such a brave good boy! I wanted to run right over and comfort him but Brady was too quick and scooped him up first. Luckily he was quickly comforted in arms of his father, it was sweet. After we had everything in order and prepared for our consulate appointment we decided to take a walk to a nearby park. We took a few wrong turns in the underpass but eventually found it. By the time we made it through the entry Cooper was tired of walking. Like Nash he is a master at diversion when it comes to trying to get somewhere by foot. Suddenly he had to use the bathroom, like five times right in a row and when we didn’t take him he pulled down his pants right in the middle of the side walk acting like he had to pee but of course he never did. When he could see that excuse wasn’t going to work anymore he just flat out gave up and sat down, not caring if we were going to keep going. Finally we convinced him to continue walking by holding hands with both of us so we could swing him. We could see more tears on the horizon so we decided it would be best to turn around and go back to the hotel for lunch and naps. We all napped and woke up feeling refreshed. In the evening we had Easter dinner with some new friends who are also here adopting. It has been so enjoyable getting to be here in Guangzhou with so many other families who are adopting. It reminds me of when Nash was born and we started meeting people in the Down syndrome community and felt an immediate bond to them. It is the same feeling within the adoption community. I’m so thankful for this beautiful Easter day, for our beautiful new son, for friends and family and for our Savior Jesus Christ who makes happiness possible.

Cooper isn't a big fan of toast. He prefers steamed bread.

That's it Dad! No more walking for me!
I can't believe these people make me walk so far!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day 7 - Medial Exam Day

March 26. This morning we met up with a new friend who is adopting the sweetest little 11 year old girl from Hepburn, using the same agency we are. They are great! Our new guide, Connie came and picked all of us up at the hotel and we went to the consulate medical center for the children’s medical exams and shots. It was packed with people when we got there. Connie said that the center opens every Saturday morning for children being adopted so everyone comes at one time. We meet so many amazing, kind, friendly families while we were waiting between stations it was great. I could have stayed there all day watching these families with their children and hearing all of their adoption stories. Cooper did wonderful and was so cooperative at every station. He didn’t even cry when he got his TB shot. It was so inspiring to see all of the good going on. One family that I particularly loved meeting was a mom and a dad who were here adopting two beautiful little children. They had two of their older children, one of whom was adopted from China 12 years ago with them. It was so sweet to see the relationship between all of them. I loved seeing how caring, responsive, respectful and vibrant their teenagers were and how excited they were about their two new little siblings. After watching CNN this morning and hearing all of the bad news about our presidential campaign this experience was so good and uplifting. After returning to the hotel I took Cooper out to the little playground and taught him how to swing. Once he got the hang of hanging on and sitting in the swing he loved it. He catches onto things so quickly it amazes me. He has the best little squeaky laugh that goes perfectly with his darling dimple. He is quick to make friends with his bossy bubbly personality. When we went back to our hotel room he found a pen and spent the rest of the evening drawing on every square inch of paper he could find. He also “blows his nose” as often as he can. Not because he has a cold, just because he has a thing for paper. Any kind of paper.

More pictures for his file.

The crowd waiting for their medical appointments

We hope he is always this cooperative!

Selfies make waiting more fun!

He weighed in at 36 lbs! He's a solid kid!

Back at the hotel garden

The view out our hotel window in Guangzhou.

More coloring

Cooper loves the flag the orphanage director gave him.