Whew. We’re almost home.
By the time you’re reading this, it will be Monday morning in America (Monday night in China). At this point, we’ve completed the adoption process at the United States Consulate here in Guangzhou and sworn to love and care for this precious child the rest of our days. We’re waiting out the 24 hour stay period and are headed home on Wednesday. Praise Jesus. We’re ready to be home.
Yesterday, in my One Year Bible, the scripture readings included Galatians 4 where Paul talks about how we are adopted by God through Jesus Christ. Such a powerful reminder to me how adoption binds two things together. Us to God and us to Madeley.
Adoption is a beautiful thing that I think I understand even better now than before. When I walk around here with Ashby and see and hear how she knows me as mommy…how she understands we are her family…how she completes us in such a special way…it excites me to think of all that is in store for our Madeley back home. We’re obviously in the “honeymoon” phase of adoption. We’re basically on vacation here, so when we get home and get back to our normal (plus one), things will change. I’m sure we’ll have many hard days ahead because adoption comes from brokenness and with brokenness there is heartache…but I am so confident that God has put us with these girls for very specific reasons. We were at lunch just yesterday and Andrew and I were looking around at these four kids and it was like…wow! Two years ago, we didn’t even know we weren’t complete but we were! These girls have added more to our family than words could ever say. We feel incredibly blessed that God has allowed us to know and love them.
I am praying for so many of you who are considering adoption. I love you, I’m blessed by you, and I am praying for you. I am also praying for those of you trying to conceive because I know that road too and it can be so heartbreaking. I’m praying for you too.
Okay, here are photos from our last two days of “vacation” here in Guangzhou (Saturday and Sunday) plus one pic of us from today. After today, we’re wrapping things up in China and heading home. I’ll be back here on Monday with my usual…Meal Planning Monday (oh how I’ve missed cooking!!!) and some other post…probably a little more on adoption 🙂 .
I’m honored and blessed to share not only this journey with you but the rest of my life too. Thank you for allowing me into your homes. I know you’re busy ladies and I’m honored you take the time to read.
How sweet is this?! I told you before that we had originally set out this time to adopt a boy from India and then God made it clear we needed another Chinese girl. We had already been talking to our kids about a boy, so when we felt the calling, we asked Smith what he thought about another sister and he said that would be pretty cool too. He’s a great brother to all three of them.
On Saturday morning, Smith made a friend after breakfast and they played football together. This little boy was also six and on vacation here in Guangzhou. He is from Hong Kong but said he knew a little about American football, so they played. Smith enjoyed his company so much!
My lap was full…and my heart was too.
After we cleaned up, we headed to the museum. The Shulls are always up for a museum trip! We got into a cab at the hotel and told the driver where we wanted to go. A little while later, he pulled up in front of the US Consulate to drop us off. Apparently, he didn’t understand where we wanted to go but thought dropping us off at the Consulate was a good second choice ;). Thankfully, we were able to explain (with hand motions for the most part) that we didn’t need diplomatic help…just the museum ;).
Walking into the museum with this squirt. We spent the day at the Guangdong Museum and it was so cool! It was huge and covered everything from Chinese history to dinosaurs and such. Very fun!
See how big it is?
Madeley’s first museum trip!
They were pretending like they were scared of the animals.
Dinosaurs floor me every.single.time. They never disappoint!
We enjoyed the kids’ area…
…the Lego animals were our fave :).
So, that was how we spent day 10 and then on day 11…
…we went back to the Chimelong Safari Park!!! Woohoo! This is basically like Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World with a zoo too. Last year, when we went…it was freezing cold and pouring rain. This year, it was very hot. It didn’t matter though because we were so pumped!
Well, five of us where pumped…one of us was not super impressed.
This is our “it’s so hot here” face.
First stop, the safari ride that takes you around to get up close and personal with the animals.
I mean…I could eat her up.
We rode around and took approximately 4 billion pictures. Thankfully, I will not show you all of them :).
We were watching him throw meat to the tigers. They were so close to us!
After we exited the safari ride, we were walking to the dinosaur part of the park and these monkeys were just swinging right above us. They were close enough to touch!
A random picture from our lunch break. We ate and had ice cream to cool down.
Because I can’t stop taking pictures of her.
So, a week ago, we couldn’t get Madeley to eat scrambled eggs or yogurt and now, she can eat an entire sausage on a stick. #goals
I have never been in a better snake exhibit than this one. Here I am standing on them (they were under the floor) and at other parts, they were on the ceiling above us. Seriously, they nailed the snakes here.
We walked up to the giraffes and Madeley instantly started pointing at them.
See how she’s pointing? I wonder what she’s thinking??? The three big kiddos loved feeding them!
Lots of love for the koalas!
And Ashby’s favorite part was the panda exhibit! This zoo is known for their pandas and once again, they did not disappoint.
Watching the pandas.
We let the kids all pick out a stuffed animal at the gift shop and the lady said we earned three free things: two cowboy hats and a horse. I mean…do we look like Texans now or what?!?
Kensington “rode” the horse back to the van and both girls have claimed our free hats. #darn
And then this is a picture of us from this morning…
…we were headed to the US Consulate to finish things up. You can’t take phones inside the Consulate, so I left my phone at the hotel and therefore, have no pics. It was a sweet moment being back there with another precious girl.
And…here are some random thoughts for your Monday (because apparently, it’s my goal to make this the longest post ever)…
1: Madeley is loving bath time now! At first, she cried when we bathed her but last night, she was so excited to get into the tub. She squealed and waddled over there when it was her time.
2: Attachment wise, I think things are going well. She reaches for both Andrew and myself and not to other people. Now, when I get up from the table or something and sit back down, she smiles really big when she sees me “like, hey, I know you!”. I think she’s starting to figure out that we’re her people 🙂 .
3: I would kill for a pumpkin spice latte right now.
4: Madeley has been sleeping like a champ between Andrew and me in the hotel. She’s been napping in the crib in the room but sleeping with us at night. Ashby slept with us for a while and I think it helped with bonding. She snuggles up and goes right to sleep.
5: I keep trying to sing Madeley songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars and Ashby keeps interrupting me saying “teach her Let it Go”. Every. Single. Time.
6: A lady in line today tried to take Madeley away from Andrew and hold her. She was pulling her away from him like “hey, I’ll hold her for you”. Andrew is tall and looks rather intimidating, so I admired her courage 😉 .
7: Madeley is eating like a champ! In one week, she has come so far!! She can eat some things with her own two hands and then I spoon feed her the rest. For instance, at breakfast this morning, she ate a little pancake and cut up turkey sausage herself and then I helped her with scrambled eggs and yogurt. She’s also moving around so much more and going from sit to stand and back down on her own (she wasn’t doing that last Monday).
8: Ashby has said “I miss Bowen” 5,769,834 times.
9: Rumor has it that if you pre-ordered my new cookbook Eats, your copy will arrive this week (early!). I am SO PROUD of this book friends! It’s 12 chapters of recipes (everything from appetizers to desserts with all of the other stuff in between) broken down by months of the year. You can cook your way through the year in this book. I’ve been in adoption world for so long that I haven’t even thought about work back home, but I am so excited about this book release! Pre-order it HERE.
10: I have always loved chili sauce but now that I’ve had access to it for 2 weeks at all three meals a day…I’m obsessed. Chili sauce makes everything better. Eggs, chicken, shrimp, rice, noodles, french fries…it would probably be good on pancakes too. #obsessed
11: Every single day, I am moved by adoption stories here. Since all Americans must go through Guangzhou to get their kid’s US Visas, we see so many of them here and I’m constantly amazed. I see these families and these kids (some of them with SEVERE health problems) and am so moved by their love and faithfulness. It’s overwhelming actually. So many amazing people are here adopting and they’re ministering to my family’s heart so much.
Whew! Okay…gotta go now. Time to head back home. A HUGE thank you to our friends and family who have babysat our dog (Slaughters, we LOVE you!), called us, texted us, sent us funny things, sent me pictures of pumpkins and other fall stuff and most importantly prayed for us. We’ve had a long road getting here over the last 18 months and it really probably wouldn’t have happened without the love, support, encouragement and prayers of our friends and family. See you next week…I’m sure I’ll be a hot mess, but that should be fun to watch ;).
If you missed my other posts from over here…