Friday, June 17, 2011

Journey for a Sister

On American Thanksgiving Day, 26 November, we drove to Atlanta, stopping along the way for our turkey day celebration.  We spent the night in a hotel near the Atlanta airport.  Early Friday morning, we boarded a jet to fly to JFK airport in New York.

Around 1 PM we left JFK aboard China Air heading for Beijing, China and my new sister, Ma Hengxin, aged 9 years 11 months 24 days.

After a 13 hour flight we landed in Beijing, went through customs, claimed our luggage and rechecked it for the flight to Guangzhou.  Three hours later we arrived in Guangzhou minus one of our two big bags.  We spent the next hour filling out a claim form and trying to guess the value of stuff inside - all the presents we had for officials in China, plus ones for our daughter to be.

Our driver waited patiently for us, while we filled out all the forms.  The Asian Games had had their closing ceremonies that night in Guangzhou so the road from the airport into the city was lined with many beautiful floral displays.  We arrived at our hotel, which has two buildings, unloaded and found out we were at the wrong one.  Back into the van we went, to go a couple of blocks to our building around 115 AM Sunday, after being up more or less since 7 pm local time Friday or about 30 hours after we got up in Atlanta.

We arrived at our hotel about 1 am Sunday morning.  We had a few hours Sunday and Monday morning to explore the area and exchange money.  The weather was delightful short sleeves weather.  The island had changed quite a bit since we were there 2 and a half years before.  Still there were neat shops to be seen, say hello to ones we had met before.

Last hours as a pair of siblings
Shamian Island, Guangzhou

Then it was off to Gotcha Day, 29 Nov 2010, for a new sister.  She would be our middle child, one year younger than sister Tian and 13 months 2 days older than new brother Yu-Hsuan.

Shortly after Gotcha

new siblings
Tian, Hengxin, Yu-Hsuan

Sister and new best friend

Yu-Hsuan and baba taking picture for another family

Lady killer
Yu-Hsuan with his friend Megan Groat.

Our family of 5!

Close up of our family of five!

First days together.
Traditional White Swan photo op.

Eating ice cream at Lucy's restaurant.

Playground after food.

Exploring the island.

Baba and the children.

In the girls room at the hotel.

Back to exploring the island.

Visit to sister's orphanage.

Model family home,
where sister lived for two years.

Family we met from Spain - their first adoption.
Tian holding their new daughter.

This boy loves this shirt 
and Otis of Milo and Otis.

Along the Pearl River in Guangzhou.

Visit to the Safari Zoo.

We moved through the park until we came to the elephants.  At first there was a small baby elephant off by itself that we could go and the children could touch.  The handler came over to the side where we were and got some bread out of a sack and gave some to Ellen who then gave pieces to the children.  They had quite a time with the little elephant. 

Baby pandas at play.

Yu-Hsuan, Star, Tian messing around on the plaza.

Did you want us to pose or something?
Reminds me of the three monkeys - 
speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil.

Six Banyan Trees Temple

Some reknowned teacher.
Supposedly one will be a good student
 if your picture is made with him.

Yu-Hsuan, Star and Tian

Christenberry and Stowell children

Stowell family
Miss Star in pink

Liu Hua Park

Stuff the kids could climb on and pose.

Yu-Hsuan taking a picture.

Then at last a roller coaster

Yu-Hsuan, Mr. Bean, Tian

Heritage visit to our first daughter's orphanage
Foshan-Nanhai, Guangdong
last day in China
10 Dec 2010

 Tang, orphanage director on left,
Mr. Pang, social welfare director on right presented us with this wall hanging.

Meeting the director's daughter. 

Back home

Brother tickled over something

Decked out in new coat 
in first snow - 
Gracie, Star, Yu-Hsuan