Day 11: Shamian Island

Today is Monday, June 1st! I cannot believe June is here. I feel like I blinked, and May was gone. Ryan and I stayed up too late last night and woke up this morning super tired. As per usual, we were rushing to breakfast, as I choose more sleep over almost anything, including food. And to be honest, I enjoyed our breakfast in Nanning better than the breakfast at The Garden Hotel (gasp!). I know my adoptive momma friends are freaking out. It is still an ok breakfast...but not as good as it was a year and a half ago. Also, I didn't realize when we arrived that they are doing renovation at The Garden right now. I felt fine about it the first two days, but today, day 3 here, I am tired of hearing the drilling, hammering, and buzzing all day long, especially when Tyson was a bear to put down for a nap today. More about that later! 

Noah playing with a sword inside Peter's Place 

Today we met our guides in the lobby at 9:30 a.m. for a group picture. I can't wait to see how it turned out! Our group is so big, and I love how it represents so many little ones coming home to their forever families. Once the picture was taken, we all got into the tour bus and drove to Shamian Island. This is a famous area of Guangzhou, as the US Consulate used to be located on this island. All adoptive families stayed at the White Swan hotel and completed their medical evaluations and all portions of the US side of the adoption there. The Consulate has since moved to the mainland, and the White Swan is undergoing renovations, but the island is still a favorite place to visit for adoptive families. As soon as we reached the island, we walked straight to Peter's Place, my favorite place to buy chops in Guangzhou. We found Tyson a snake chop and had his English and Chinese names carved into it. It turned out great, and with the ink, it only cost 55 yuan! That is less than $9 USD. For all of you adoptive families traveling soon, remember to shop at Peter's Place for your chops! His carving is beautiful.

Love this tree

The boys and I made our way to a different area of the island to visit Jenny's shop (below). I wanted to get Tyson's Bible where each page is half Chinese and half English. We bought one for Tucker there and wanted to do the same for Ty. I also purchased some traditional Chinese silk clothes for the boys.

Inside Jenny's shop

Being super cute as always!

I'm going to miss his first smile.

We also stopped by a Gift from China, where the proceeds go back to orphans in China. They have some really cute stuff!

Kelley Berry, I love my Wo Ai Ni shirt! Cannot wait to give Tyson and Tucker theirs after we get home.

Walking down the street with half my heart a world away

 We stopped by Starbucks to sit in the air conditioning for a bit. I fed Tyson some puffs while Ryan and Noah went back to Peter's Place to pick up Ty's chop. So many people are curious about our family. They seem especially curious about Tyson and watch him closely. I always wonder what they are saying...what they are thinking. I wonder if the women who watch him are thinking about a baby they left behind earlier in their lives. I wonder if the men are wondering where their own child is now, as time has maybe passed since leaving their child at the train station. How many children see Tyson and have no idea that their own biological parents abandoned a baby at some point? Do they think Tyson is lucky to be adopted into an American family, or do they think we are crazy for adopting a child with a medical condition? I am so curious to know what people are thinking as they walk by and whisper to one another; regardless, we just keep shining the light of Christ here. We wave and smile even when people don't wave or smile back to us. Many do, and their eyes light up when we greet them. I love when that happens. We are not so different...just people living within the perspectives of our own realities.

My fourth little love - how did I get so lucky?

We walked around the island, taking in the smells and the sights. Many models were being photographed here, and some people were having their wedding pictures taken. The architecture is beautiful here! We found the famous statues of children standing in a line below. We snapped a few pictures of Tyson, though he wanted to be an arm's length from us all day. You should see the outtakes!

Noah posing for the photographer

Hanging out with his new friends

While we were walking around, Ryan said, "So this is an island. Where is the water?" He didn't come to Shamian Island with me last time, and I didn't visit the water at that time either. We set off to find it and came across this map near Lucy's Diner. We continued to walk straight until we saw the water ahead of us. Tyson seemed to like watching the boats, as he made his cute sounds and pointed excitedly at them.

We saw a couple guys using nets to catch fish. 
We had about 45 minutes left until we needed to meet our group back at the bus, so we stopped at Lucy's Diner to get Tyson some fried rice. The portion was huge, and Ryan and I shared it with Ty. It was delicious and had ham, scrambled egg, shrimp, and veggies in it! Noah had a packed peanut butter and jelly that I had made him prior to leaving the hotel. We were all happy!

While eating at Lucy's, we heard thunder in the distance. Slowly, the dark clouds rolled in, and before we knew it, the rain came pouring down. We grabbed our food and finished eating inside Lucy's Diner. The bus was supposed to arrive at our meeting place in 5 minutes, so with our friends from Nanning, we hightailed it toward that location. As we got closer, we realized that the bus wasn't there yet, so we stopped somewhere with some cover. We were completely soaked, especially Noah who ran outside the umbrella. While standing there, there was the biggest crack of thunder I have ever heard in my entire life!! We all jumped out of our skin!! I cannot stress enough how loud that was! Lightning must have struck SUPER close to where we were standing. We are not having good luck with lightning!

As soon as the bus pulled up, we walked the rest of the way in the rain and climbed aboard. Before we were off the island, Tyson fell fast asleep in my arms.

What a privilege it is to hold this baby while he sleeps.

Tyson woke up once inside our hotel room. I tried to get him back to sleep, but he fought me with everything he had. While I would hold him, he would lean back to lie on the bed, and then he would scream because he wasn't in my arms. He would scramble back to me as fast as he could, and I would hold him, but while he wanted to be comforted, I don't think he wanted me. This was the first real grieving we have seen. He was just inconsolable despite our best efforts. All I could do was pray over him, but nothing was working. He would be fine for a few minutes and then would begin screaming again. It was heartbreaking! Ryan came in the bedroom and took a turn. Tyson cycled between quiet resting and screaming bloody murder. He did not sleep very peacefully, as he would wake up regularly to cry and then fall back to sleep. Tyson, I cannot imagine what is going through your mind sweetheart. I can feel your great affection toward us, and you are seeking out comfort and affection from us, but I can only imagine how hard this is for you. I am sure you miss your precious nanny so much, and I am so sorry that you had to say goodbye to her. We are your family forever, and even when you push us away, we are right here for you, buddy!

After his nap, Tyson was very distant. He wasn't smiling or laughing like usual. I had to tickle him to get any kind of positive reaction from him. He was just really sad, you guys, and it broke my heart. While he was sleeping, our guide brought the photo album (above) we sent him for his half birthday. The orphanage staff couldn't find it when we went to visit, but as soon as they did, they mailed it to Guangzhou for us. Super nice!!

In hopes that a change of scenery would cheer him up, Ryan took Tyson grocery shopping and out to pick up Pizza Hut. We were craving comfort food, as homesickness has finally hit me. I think seeing Tyson grieve, feeling frustrated by the construction noise at the hotel, and living in hotels in 3 major cities for the past 11 days pushed me over the line. Today, I am ready to come home. I am really, really missing Liam and Tucker tonight. I have done really well until now. It helps that they are sleeping while we are awake and vice versa. I am just more than ready to have all of my boys under one roof at last.

Ryan saw soup on the menu that he thought I would like. No, it's not half gone...portion control strikes again!

Oh China, I love your plastic gloves served with your pizza! I am going to miss this country.
Tyson ate a good dinner, and we decided to take the boys swimming. We met up with Chad, Lauren's husband, in the elevator, and he was coincidentally going to the same place. The weather was super humid, so much so that my camera lens kept fogging up! Regardless, I was able to snap a couple cute pictures of Ryan and the boys playing in the pool.

He is definitely a water baby!

Noah, you have rocked this trip!

The pool is on the roof of the fourth floor at our hotel. The view is beautiful!
After we finished swimming, we were able to FaceTime with the boys. We have our Consulate Appointment super early tomorrow and won't be able to talk to them like we usually do during their evenings, so we wanted to make sure we talked tonight. It was so good to see them, and by the time it was Liam's turn, I couldn't hold it in anymore. The tears spilled over for the first time as I told Liam how much I missed them. He, of course, tried to tell me jokes to make me laugh. When I think about seeing their faces at the airport Thursday, I get tears in my eyes. I am SO ready to hug my boys and kiss their faces. They have been so strong while we've been gone, and I love seeing how excited they get when they see Tyson. They truly seem to adore him, and he points and makes sounds at them when we FaceTime. It is very precious! I can't wait to see them all playing together at home very, very soon. Good night friends! Only two days left in China, and we will be on our way home.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Amy - I found my way to your blog through No Hands But Ours. I absolutely LOVE that site and have so enjoyed reading your blog here as well! We are hoping to travel to bring our little girl home in October/November so reading through your recent daily posts was such a treat! Thank you for your willingness to share. Your words are so encouraging! I was wondering if Peter's Place and Jenny's shop are easily found on Shamian Island because I definitely want to be sure to visit them! Also, I know you mentioned that the wholesale market shops were ones your guide had established relationships with, but can you share the name of that particular place or area? Definitely would love to visit the pearl shop! Thank you so much for sharing your heart! We are praying for your family and the continued boding and transition for your sweet little boy!


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