It’s so hard to believe that we can finally say “We are leaving tomorrow!” I think we have all enjoyed the trip, but can’t wait to hug our family and friends (and sleep in our own beds!)
On our last and final day in Guangzhou our family, along with Tracy and Kya, decided to visit Shameen Island, just about a 20min. drive from our hotel. Until a few years ago it was the Island all adoptive families would have to come too. They would stay at the White Swan hotel, now closed for renovations. (pictured below)
The U.S. Consualte, and Medical Examination building used to also be on the island. Both have now moved inland. Because of this, tourism has slowed way down, but it’s definitely a great place to visit! It’s a small island -only 900km x 300km. The main street down the middle is for walking and there are trees and statues everywhere. The British and French each had possession of the Island, so you can see the French influence in architecture. Below is a statue of a British and Chinese man together….
The other day we felt rushed, so this morning it was SO nice to take the 2hrs we had and just walk the island and observe life here. Below are some ladies out in the park doing some really neat exercise/dancing to music while holding what look like tennis rackets/with tennis balls. The rackets have a flexible plastic and the ball is filled like a bean bag. When the ladies move around the racket to the music, the goal is to be smooth in movement and keep the ball on the racket by the force of movement.
Here is a really nice lady helping Jenna try it….she was over 70 years old.
You see MANY retirement age people out in the parks exercising, playing music, and staying active! Tracy and I were contemplating joining them, but didn’t want to pull a muscle.
Our guide Helen (she’s from Shanghai, lives in Guangzhou and has been in tourism for 30yrs.) She constantly kept us moving….and moving quickly! (today she dropped us off though on the Island, so we relaxed for a short time anyway!)
The Chinese music is so beautiful. Here is an elderly group, keeping the traditional music alive in their community.
We tried…again….to get a statue of Elyana with the famous children statue. She wasn’t real impressed, and seemed scared of them.
Her and Kya’s faces cracked us up when we parked them next to this statue….
This was a statue to show the change of the Chinese women over the last few generations. Elyana was born into the next generation, and who knows maybe she will come back someday to help the little ones at the orphanage. The Chinese society (much like ours in the U.S.) has become a very fast paced/materialistic society. It seems like everyone is constantly on their phones. Oh…and John made it real clear…. Elyana will NOT be wearing those shorts! lol
We were also told to visit a few places on the Island. Lucy’s (a restaurant with American tasting food) and Jennys’ (a shop owned by a Christian woman and her husband) We knew where Lucy’s was, but were wandering around trying to find Jenny’s. We were hoping to stop there, because we’ve heard how kind she is. As we stopped to watch a group of school children, a lady came up and talked with us. She told us her son went to school there and asked us about our children. Then she pulled out her business card…it was Jenny! lol She was just heading to open up her shop and told us which way to go.
This was an elementary school…..
Having gym class outside.
We found Jennys’…..
I was so excited to buy a Chinese/English Bible for when Elyana is bigger. (as far as I understand, in order to sell Bibles in China, they must have the approval of the government). The same with churches. The government must approve the church.
We met both Jenny and her and her husband Mark. Mark played a really neat traditional Chinese instrument (pictured below) for the kids and we were able to buy his instrumental CD. We enjoyed having the chance to talk to Mark. He told us they have one little boy (age 4) and that it would cost them over $16,000 to have a second child. That is allot when you consider the average Chinese family has an income of $6,000 per year. Jenny told her and her husband had been Christians for 7 years, and owned the shop for 5yrs.
They sold some very pretty scripture signs in Chinese & English.
Main pathway down the Island…..
We thought the parking garages were interesting…..
And their view of President Obama in China……
Our last stop on the Island was Lucy’s. The food was pretty good. John said it was the only cheeseburger that tasted American. Ryan decided on a peanut butter and jelly, and Elyana loved the grilled cheese!
And Kya is lookin better every day! She is such a sweet little girl….
Her mom (Tracy) showed the kids on the U.S. map all the places they have moved. Her husband is in the Airforce.
Jenna and I cracked up at rule #2 on the list we found in the bathroom at Starbucks…..
Ryan and Jenna have been so helpful throughout this whole trip. They’ve done so well and have enjoyed having a little sister.
Elyana loves to look out the window and observe everything…..
After the island we headed back to the hotel so Elyana could nap, then the kids played while I packed!
Elyana LOVES romping around with Ryan and Jenna. The three of them laughing together is one of the best sounds….
It’s hard to believe we are almost to the finish of our travels. We are SO ready to be home and see all of our family, and also feel a sadness as we prepare to leave Elyana’s birth country. Tonight as I held her in the dark looking out over the city we said “Good night China” then, laid Elyana down to sleep for the last time here in China.
It’s such a joyous occasion, yet I feel God has given me a piece of the sorrow He feels for the people here. It’s a beautiful country, but has been scarred by man’s selfish ideas/communism. That scar runs deep across the land. When it’s difficult for people to look at us carrying their children, or when those children we carry are looked upon as nothing….you begin realize the effects of a godless society. China has produced a selfish, younger generation, and has killed and thrown away so many children. When little lives are viewed as an expense, instead of priceless gift….it creates a society where people seem to have become numb and hardened. In some ways there similarities in the U.S. and China, but in countless ways we are blessed with freedoms in our country. We can only hope and pray those freedoms continue. I will add that we have found some precious people while here that have smiled or cheered us on.
We all agree that someday we would love to come back and visit Elyana’s orphanage and give back to the place that cared for our daughter.
There are so many kind and caring people here with hearts to help these children. We were privileged to meet or hear stories of those caring for the orphans here. One of the nannies that worked in Elyana’s orphanage was once an orphan herself, and was never adopted. Now she tells her story of how Jesus touched her life, and helps her to love children that are in the position she was once in.
Well, it’s time to get some sleep before our LONG last leg of our journey home. Another journey is now just beginning for our family. We are excited to get home and settle in. I’m so grateful that over a year ago John asked us if we were ready to adopt. Now, we cannot imagine our lives without Elyana. She fits so perfectly, smack dab right in between all our hearts. We pray for Elyana’s birth mother and father, and the circumstances or condition of heart that could’ve been the reason she was abandoned. And if they care, or think about her at all….we pray that somehow, they would know she is well-loved and cared for and pray most of all they would find the only true love there is. God’s beautiful and gracious love, full of compassion. I believe the moment Elyana was conceived God matched her heart to ours. He heard our countless prayers for her, and kept her for us all this time. We feel so honored, and grateful to have been given the opportunity to hold this sweet one for this life.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.