Video of Ya Nan Singing-at 8:30 on video

Our Beautiful Ya Nan

Our Beautiful Ya Nan
From the moment I saw her, I knew she had my heart...

Our Timeline

8-21-12: Saw our Daughter's face for the first time
8-31-12: Decided she is indeed a Johnson
9-17-12: Home Study Visit
9-24-12: Home Study Visit
10-18-12: I800A received
11-5-12: Walk-in Fingerprints
11-28-12: I800A Approval
12-17-12: DTC
12-27-12: LOI
1-17-13: OOT
2-1-13: LOA (China approved 1-29)
2-4-13: I800 received at lockbox
2-15-13: I800 request for evidence
4-26-13: RFE sent
5-1-13: I800 Approved
5-6-13: GUZ #
5-7-13: Cabled
5-9-13: Article 5 Drop Off
6-11-13: Article 5 Approved
6-13-13: Article 5 Pick Up
6-21-13: TA
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 4 and 5: Visit with friends in Chongqing and Fuling

After completing all the necessary paperwork in Zhengzhou, we flew to Chongqing to spend two days with dear Chinese friends, Vivanna and Jessie. These ladies lived in America this past year to teach Chinese in our school district. We attended Church together, shopped together, and shared a deep friendship. I worked directly with Vivanna and she was a huge blessing during our adoption journey. She translated many documents, care packages, and shared valuable information about the Chinese culture. Jessie also assisted in preparing Maeli's iPad with many Chinese resources and downloading Chinese videos. These girls will always have a special place in my heart. I was delighted that it worked out for us to visit while we were in China as we expected early in the process that we travel in April before the girls went back to China. This was the first time Maeli had ever been on an airplane. I was worried about her since she gets a little carsick when riding in a taxi (who wouldn't, lol) and van. She was a champ! I think takeoff was a little unnerving but the flight was fine even with the minimal turbulence we experienced.

My heart broke for her as she was quiet on hour long ride to the airport. Maybe part of it was because she gets carsick, but I couldn't help but wonder what was going on in her head. She was leaving the only area she'd ever know, not knowing if or when she'd return. Leaving her school friends, her institute friends, her local food customs, her province, her dad. A part of her will always be in Luoning. And I can't fathom what she must be feeling, knowing that she's lost everything these past few days even though she is gaining the unlimited and endless love and support of her forever family. The latter taking time to be made known and all the while trying to grasp what the future holds. Being used to independence and caring for others and now being cared for by others must be overwhelming too.

When we arrived, Vivianna's husband, Stephen, picked us up at the airport since they drive a small, compact car. Did I mention there are 4 of us and we had 4 large suitcases along with 2 carry-ons and backpacks for everyone. Yes, we overpacked! You can imagine the site of all of us cramming into their tiny car for a 2 hour ride to Fuling, their hometown. It was a fun adventure as we got lost on the way and Stephen was quite the comedian, so we ride there was tons of fun. Stephen and Chase quickly formed a friendship that day and stuck closely together while we were there. They've even iMessaged since leaving. Chase can't wait to see him again!

It was so special to be in Vivanna's home and meet her family. I had missed both her and Jessie terribly since they left in May. It was also great for Maeli to see different Chinese families interact. Jessie and Vivianna were great comfort to her as they could explain the journey of her adoption over the past 10 months in Maeli's native language. Maeli was able to understand how much we had longed for her and she could be reassured of what America and our town was like from two Chinese women who had lived there. Since Jessie taught at the middle school, she was able to share details about school as well. They had prepared a traditional Chinese lunch before an afternoon full of sightseeing and fun.

This is the view from Vivianna's apartment. They live in a community nestled in the mountains. It's a beautiful view of the river.

We went to a bookstore so that we could purchase books for Maeli to read in Chinese after returning home. Buying them in China is 1/10 of the cost of buying online. I had no idea what kind of spectacle we would be! The children and teenagers followed Chase and I around and photographed us while we were there. It was funny as some children would say Hello and run! This part of the town doesn't see many foreigners and we were definitely noticed by our height and appearance. After finding many books, we toured an English training school where students go to perfect and learn English. Fuling is a more rural area of Chongqing so they were excited and appreciative of our coming. The children there practiced speaking English to Chase.

This was a gift of appreciation for coming and touring the center. The people there were so kind.

We then went to get a traditional Chinese foot massage. This was such a neat experience and a wonderful time to bond with Maeli. We laid beside each other giggling and trying to figure out what was going to happen next as she had never had a foot massage. The massage actually starts at the shoulders, moving to the arms, down to the legs and feet. I was impressed with the strength of the women and at one point thought they might dislocate my arm, lol! The workers sprayed a liquid in a jar and lit the jar to create a suction on the feet. The first time she tried to stick it to my foot, I almost jumped off the bed. Maeli did the same thing!!! We laughed and laughed about it! It was a fun experience I will never forget!

After eating dinner at a traditional Fuling restaurant, we went down to the river. The lights and people at nights makes for a neat experience.

Chase was quite the celebrity! The girls loved his blonde hair and blue eyes. These girls were actually some of Vivianna's friend's children, so they stayed close to him all night. :)

We had a wonderful first day and Maeli enjoyed all the adventure of the day.

She couldn't wait to get started on a book she found at the bookstore. She loves to read and may read all the books before we get them home! ;)

A view from our hotel room.

On Friday, it rained during the morning but by afternoon, the rain and clouds had cleared. We started our day with a visit to the underground museum. It goes 90 meters underwater to show where the River level used to be.

Love these two! They have fun together!

She thought the statue was hillarious!

Ancient Chinese writings before they were covered by water.

A fish swimming by under the water...

We couldn't take our drinks into the museum, so Maeli labeled ours for us. I love seeing her writing, especially this. I'm so thankful to be her Mom.

After the museum, we attended a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Tea is very popular in China, except it is served hot and bitter. Maeli doesn't like hot tea. She says she likes cold tea. We told her she'd fit right in at home. We decided to give the tea ceremony some Kentucky style and added sugar. The lady said she'd never seen that before, lol. However, after sweetening the tea, it was much better!

For lunch, we went to have Hotpot, a very popular type of Chinese food, especially in the winter.

Hotpot is similar to fondue in America. The meat and vegetables are added to boiling liquid and spices (in some areas, very spicy).

Maeli serving Dad hotpot. She is so sweet! This was my favorite meal in China so far!

After lunch it was time to travel back to the airport for our flight to Guangzhou. These two are going to miss each other! Stephen's driving skills and insights of China will be the topic of conversation for weeks to come! This photo was taken after a lady allowed her baby to poop in the floor at the airport... Enough said, lol!

Wonderful memories and precious friends!

Yeying, a Chinese teacher from two years ago, came to the airport to see us off. It was great to spend a couple of hours with her and have dinner together. Another dear friend!

Our flight leaving Chongqing was delayed for over an hour. Maeli and Chase kept us entertained as we learned Chinese and practiced English. Our flight arrived in Guangzhou at 11 and thankfully our guide, Lilly, was still there waiting for us. Maeli fell asleep against me on the way. Thankful to be able to embrace her. She smiled a sweet smile when I woke her at the hotel and fell fast asleep in the room. Her personality and resiliency is amazing! Although I can't wait to get back home and start our life as a family of 5 with Emma, my heart breaks as she knows her time in China, for now, is coming to an end. I hope she can embrace these next few days and begin to come to terms with leaving what she's known to start a new life with a new family.

1 comment:

  1. Dad hotpot is really very tasty. I have tried it before. And your pictures are very nice However, I like your post.