So according to my blog I haven’t left for china yet. Hehe. I really really had the best intensions s to blog while I was in china but between juggling everything myself this time ( Nicole, my 11 year old was the only one traveling with me) and the over all crazy of the internet the entire time we were there it made it nearly impossible. I did not have much “internet” time once I did finally get a good connection so I just gave up and posted updates daily on facebook. That was just therapeutic enough and gave everyone little mini updates on our journey. I just hate I never got to blog daily for Momo’s process in country and now for Ridge’s. If your a new follower and want to read our journey while in county with Regis ( our first adoption in 2013) you can click here. I am going to just “re cap” here mainly for my self so I can have some of these memories down while they are fresh in my mind.
So to recap our “in country” time this past october- We love us some china and we love us some Ridge Jun. Even though I didn’t have David on this trip this time it was by far one of our easier trips. Crazy to think that cause everything did fall on me. But I think because we traveled with kids the first two trips and this time it just being Nicole and I and then adding Ridge ( the easiest baby in the world) It was a very enjoyable and fun trip. I love that Nicole and I had quality time in Beijing before we got Ridge.
We spent two nights in Beijing and I fell in love with this city all over again. The streets, the people, the place just oozes history and old world wonderfulness. We had a tour guide that took us to the summer palace, a rediculously huge estate of tons of buildings a Emperor, his first wife and his mamalived. ( his other wives lived off property, yikes)
IT was just getting cold in Beijing when we were there so we “had” to buy some sweatshirts at the huge gap down the street down the street from our hotel. There is nothing like china malls ya’ll. They make me so happy.
Nicole and I also visited a park overlooking the forbidden city. Our most favorite part of the day was the Rickshaw ride ( little two person cart pulled by a man on a bike) and tour thru the Hutong area of Beijing. This area is protected and remains untouched from the modern world and is like stepping back in time. It was breathtaking. We were able to stop at a families house and they served us a traditional cChinese lunch ( sooo yummy) with pork and potatoes, sautted celery, rice, dumplings and lotus fruit. It was devine! After lunch we got dumpling making lessons by the super sweet man who lived there. It was awesome. Walking around the courtyard there and taking in the smells from the tiny kitchen there, the chirping birds in the cute metal cages hanging from the cages, and the chatter of the family in their humble and beautiful home was almost too much. It felt like the very essence of china
This trip by far connected my heart even more to this precious country. On the way out Nicole and I had to use the restroom and our guide informed us that they only had the traditional community “squatty potty” there. Oh no problem we said, we had used squatty potties on previous trips and nicole and I were very confident we could do this. As we walked in the community style restrooms there we realized there were no stalls seperating the holes in the floor. All this was a row of 6 holes in the floor. It was so cold and no one else seemed to be joining us so I told Nicole we would just suck it up and go really fast. WE were laughing so hard we could barely keep our balance. In walks two older chinese women who got more than an eye full of two white girls giggling so hard with their pants down and trying to help each other up. I sure do wish I got a pic of those potties. Hilarious. Our trip was filled with such funny and light hearted moments just like this. It was sooo good for my heart.
After our two days in Beijing we rode the speed train to Tianjin, Ridge’s home town! It was around 45 minutes by speed train. we LOVED the train. Loved. It is super cheap to sit in first class on the train and we ended up with a whole car to ourselves. It was the perfect time for me to sit back, look out the window of the beautiful country side and pray for my precious boy I would be meeting in less than 24 hours.
We arrived at our hotel overlooking the HUGE river front in the heart of the city. We had a wonderful view of the “tianjin eye” a mega farris wheel we rode later in the week with Ridgey poo. Tianjin consist of tons of “british style” buildings, its a beautiful city. By far one of my favorite cities in china so far. Our hotel was super nice and we felt very comfortable there. At night we would open our windows and the buddhist temple below would play flute music every night. It was super “china” and I loved it! Our guide had traveled to Tianjin with us and stayed at our hotel with us. Was so nice having him there since it was just Nicole and I. We made a stop at Walmart ( yep there is walmart in china- I like china walmart better ) picked up some of our favorite china snacks and noodle bowls to have when days or nights got hard and we would stay in the hotel room. Nicole is my “china pro” now. Since she has been on all 3 trips she is super comfortable with all the crazy china can be. Including the funny chinese guy in line with us at walmsrt who had a bird in his pocket. At one point during our check out the bird hopped out of this mans pocket, he scooped it up, kissed it and stuffed it back in his pocket. #becausechina you gotta love china randomness.
The following day was “RIDGE DAY!!!” I could barely sleep the night before. Don’t think I ever sleep the night before meeting my babies. Its a very surreal feeling knowing that the next day you will be handed this child who you have dreamed of, cried about, and completed mountains of paperwork just to get to this moment. There is nothing like that nervous/excited feeling. All mixed in with sadness for your child because you know they are about to leave everything they have never known. There really aren’t the right words to describe what goes thru my head the hours leading up to Gotcha day.
This particular time our “baby day” was at Ridge’s Orphanage. This is unusual but how this particular province does it. The drive there was around 45 minutes but felt like an eternity. Once we arrived, the guide let our driver thru the gates and we parked and walked up a few flights of stairs in a building next to the actual orphanage. I signed some papers ( I could not even tell you what I signed I was so so nervous) It was taking a while for the nanny to bring Ridge over to the building we were in so Nicole and I walked out to the hallway that over looked the courtyard we knew the nanny would be walking thru to get to us. All of a sudden a woman appeared from around the corner with the most precious dark haired tiny boy! Nicole screamed for me to get ready which just made me giggle and run in a circle for a while till the guide told us to sit down. The orphanage director, our guide and Nicole and I were in this “meeting style” room with us with two couches and a coffee table. I told Nicole we would stay sitting down and just give Ridge time to warm up to us. We had a very emotional and hard gotcha day with Regis two years ago so I knew that this would likely be very much like that. In walked the nanny with my bundle of yumminess. Right away I saw that he knew exactly what was happening. His nanny sat on the floor with him and he clung to her. When she would try to get him to look our way or walk near me he would burst out in tears. It was heartbreaking.
I got out the little backpack I had brought for Ridge and tried to show him some of the toys we had for him. He was having no part of it. I decided to back off and just spend the time asking the nanny questions about his sleeping and eating habits, what made hime happy, what scared him ect. Was so nice to get some answeres and get a bit of insight on my boy. I was in no rush at all to hurry through this. He had spent his life up until now with this nanny and the other nannies there. After a long time talking to her, the guide said “ok kelley your going to have to take him now” My heart sunk because I knew I would be peeling him away from the only “momma” he knew. Sure enough as soon as she handed him to me he wailed and wailed. I let the nanny leave and I walked the halls with him for a few minutes trying to calm him down by showing him the cars out the window ( that had worked years ago with our regis) he calmed down a bit and I asked the Orphange director to connect my phone to the wifi there ( yea man- orphanage with wifi!) so I could face time baba back home. David knew there was a chance I could call him during this time so he had stayed up. We face-timed baba and he was able to see his boy for the first time. Love modern technology in times like this. Ridge cried off and on during the call so we made it quick. After we hung up with baba it was time to tour the orphanage and meet the other nannies who had loved on our boy for the last two years. This orphange has over 600 babies and kids in it. I am likely going to do a terrible job at describing what its like walking the halls of orphanage packed full of precious kids with no families. The overwhelming feeling of sadness surrounds you as you look through the glass into the room of playing children who smile and wave and run up to the window to get attention, For me this is true no matter how good the orphanage is- and this one is very well run, clean and the people there love these kids. No matter how nice the orphanage is it is NEVER a replacement for a family. There was a “hospital” like sick room where a new born baby was laying right by the window. I walked up to see her and realized she had down syndrome. She was beautiful. My heart sunk though knowing that because she had downs this would make it all the harder for her to be adopted, its a sad and heartbreaking fact. These kids have so much love to give. I pray that babies’ file is completed quickly and her family finds her. She was a jewel! there was also a 6 or 7 year old girl in a hospital bed who was awake and waving to us. She reminded me so much of my Momo back home. She was happy as can be and got so excited when I tapped on the glass and waved. We toured the rooms and were allowed to see a lot. We went up an elevator where we went and payed our orphanage donations. ( this is a huge chunk of money the orphanage uses towards providing for the kids) On our way back down to the bottom floor while we were back in the elevator the other side of the elevator opened to a floor we apparently stopped at by mistake. All of a sudden I saw several hospital like crib beds filled with children who were obviously very handicapped and/or sick. a few were too big for the cribs, they were all alone, it took my breath away. Everyone in the elevator grew silent and the director pushed the button as quick as he could and all the sudden the visions of these precious children left alonr in a hall way were gone from my sight, but not from my mind. Nicole later wanted to know about those kids we saw and I could not sugar coat it or come up with a reason why they weren’t being taken care of. My hopes were that they were in the middle of transporting them to the hospital room or cleaning out the rooms they stay in but my mind knows this is just the bitter reality of orphanages in china. They are overwhelmed with the amount of children there are to take care of. Too many children and not enough nannies and resources. Its how it is- even in the “best” of orphanages. That heartbreaking sight will be etched in my mind forever
Once back down stairs we let Ridge walk us to the room where his crib was. The nanny pointed out his crib and I asked if I could take a picture of it. She nodded yes and I snapped single photo of a now empty crib. My boy had spent countless hours there and the first two years of his life- He should have been in his mommas arms, They all should be with their biological mommas- but because we live in a broken world there are many who don’t. The privilege is mine that I get to raise this precious jewel of a boy but I will never say he was meant to be with me. Children are meant to be with their biological parents but sometimes that just doesn’t work out. I am happy to be a forever momma to these babies and even though I forget most days I did not birth them I will forever be great full to the women who gave them life.
After leaving the room with crib after crib Ridge Jun walked with one of his nanny’s down to the Toddler room where he spent a lot of his time. It was full of the most precious kids around his age. We were able to pass out suckers to the bigger ones and spend a few minutes with the precious souls. They brought me a baby that I had asked to see for a momma who is coming later in the year to adopt her. She was precious and so so sweet. I begged to get some photos of her and they said no. but I did sneak some of the kids in toddler room. They were so sweet and curious. Ridge enjoyed helping us pass out the suckers but once our guide told us it was time to go and I picked up Ridge to leave the crying started again. I carried him to our waiting van, we waved good bye and tears rolled down both our faces knowing that this was the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
Below is the video I put together of my meeting Ridge, our time in the Orphanage and the first night in my arms.
The remainder of our time in Tianjin was spent touring the massive city, completing the china side of the adoption and waiting on his passport so we could fly to the next city to complete the U.S. Side of the adoption. Our time spent in Tianjin will forever be in my memory truthfully a wonderful week. My boy was a rock star and so brave. the first 3 days he was very shy and timid and then all the sudden he grew more comfortable with us. Now as I look back at the pictures from the first few days I can see the dramatic change in his little spirit and how his sweet little eyes came to life once he felt more settled in with us. By the end of the week he has letting me feed him, comfort him and hold him and smother him with kisses. Nicole and I had lots of “hotel room” time which left us a bit stir crazy. But Its what Ridge needed. We also had the opportunity to visit Ridge’s “finding spot” I will be writing about that later in the week.
There is way to much to type ( and I may come back at a latter date and add in more details about our time in guangzhou but my kids are screaming and that will have to wait. For now I will just include some highlights. We spent a lot of time with my best friend and her hubby ( I got to go to their family day when they got their daughter Fallon) and another friend form Georgia who adopted her second china daughter. only God would orchestrate Me being in china with my sweet dear friends. He knew I would need that and it made our time there even more memorable.
After being in china for 15 days Nicole and I and our new sweet baby were soooo ready to be home. I could probably write a whole blog post about our crazy times in the airports in china. Which always consist of the authorites pulling me out of the security line to search our luggage because once again I packed my camera battery and forgot to put it in my carry on. We also must have had signs on us that said “wand my baby hard” cause every airport security line decided to wand Ridge, send him into crying hysterics, and send this mamma over the edge. Nicole and i both shed a lot of tears during our airport times but all in all we had a wonderful trip and came back with the most wonderful little baby in the whole world
Enjoy our home coming video below a sweet friend put together for us.