Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

DAY 15: Guangzhou

Today was our last day in Guangzhou. We went to the Liwan Pearl Market in the morning, which was nothing like I expected. I guess when you hear the word "market" you have an idea in your head of stalls and vendors, and open air... It is actually the opposite- it was a huge mall with a plaza in the middle. On one side was an entire mall, but the only thing the stores sold was precious stones, pearls, jade, etc. Then on the other side it was a normal mall, with shoe stores, clothing stores, and our favorite, the DVD/music store. We bought about 30 movies (all for under $2!) that can be played in Chinese and English (actually Mandarin, Cantonese, and English)- tons of Disney movies and kids movies, plus a couple of action movies for Tonio. Vivi was so excited because we got Cinderella 2, Sleeping Beauty, and Happy Feet, which she has never seen. The store felt like it was over 100 degrees of wet, thick air, so we decided to just take a taxi back to the hotel instead of returning on the bus with everyone. With the air conditioning pumped up in the room, and a nice snack of PB sandwiches, the kids fell asleep until we had to get ready for the "oath" ceremony at the US Consulate.

The formality of the oath ceremony consists of about 50 US families and their children (who seemed to outnumber the adults once the siblings were added), some crying, some drinking bottles, some sleeping, some playing with the toys the consulate had out for them, and some needing to go to the bathroom just exactly when we were supposed to be raising our right hand (Tonio and Tonito missed the actual oath because he couldn't wait!). The man who was running it has 2 daughters himself, who he and his wife adopted from China, and he was very sweet in welcoming us and our kids as forever families and (almost) American citizens.

When we all got back to the hotel, everyone got ready for the CHI farewell dinner, at a Cantonese restaurant across from the White Swan. It is such a beautiful sight to be surrounded by multicultural families doting on their new kids and babies!! There was a lot of food circling around the lazy Susans, egg rolls, vegetables, sweet and sour pork, steamed egg custard, sweet potato, noodles, fried rice, and more. This type of "Cantonese" food is the most similar I have found to the Chinese food we get in the US and abroad (I think most emigrants out of China come from the south and Hong Kong).

We had a bittersweet dinner- sad to be leaving our new support network and friends who we have depended on, and spet some of the most important moments of our lives, sad to be saying good-bye to Tonito's homeland and taking him away from everything he has ever known- language, food, culture--- but at the same time we are SO excited to be home, smother Maya with kisses and love, get on a normal schedule, and just be a happy family.

Here are some pictures of our farewell dinner:

The Millers; Vivi saying good-bye to her good friends Gillian and Stephanie;

Lily, Karen, John, Luke Prescott

Us at dinner!; Erin and her son Nicholas

Papi and Tonito in the same shirts!
Vivi is really going to miss her friend Lily-

Our last night we spent an hour playing with the other kids in the White Swan playroom. All the kids ran around crazy playing with the toys, screaming in Chinese and English, and wrestling and bumping into each other. It was so sad to say good-bye to everyone!

Click for Guangzhou, Guangdong Forecast

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