We left on Wednesday around noon to begin our 13.5 hour flight to Beijing. The first 7 hours weren’t so bad. We paid for Economy Plus to get some extra leg and seat room which was well worth it. Gabi and I watched Hidden Figures, did some reading and played cards. I was fighting a sore throat and the cabin pressure wasn’t helping so I was struggling to stay asleep until it was time to sleep but then once it was time to sleep it proved to be really difficult to do while sitting up. We all tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. We let Gabi stretch her legs over us so she could sleep and she got probably 4-5 hours which was good. We landed in the middle of the day local time. Landings are always tough on me. The pilot did a good job but I still felt pretty sick and lightheaded so combined with lack of sleep and the emotions of finally being in China so close to Emily I shed quite a few tears in relief when those wheels touched down.
We’ve been at the Marriott City Wall in Beijing – GREAT hotel. We highly recommend it. Good food, comfortable beds, very clean and great customer service.
We had arranged for sightseeing for two days with David Wang, a local Beijing guide who works with adoptive families and has a big heart for China’s orphans. He’s worked with many families who’ve adopted from Emily’s orphanage. We would highly recommend him to anyone interested in sightseeing or doing a heritage tour. He also arranged our transportation from the airport to our hotel here in Beijing and from our Guangzhou hotel to the HK hotel. His prices are usually lower than any of the adoption agency’s fees for these services and he is very flexible and provides great service.
We went to the Great Wall. David chose a fantastic location. It’s farther outside the city but it allowed us to have some of the best views of the older parts of the original wall. We took a ski lift ride up and did a mountain toboggan car ride down which was really fun! We learned a lot about the history of the wall and its importance in Chinese culture and society over the years. Then we a beautiful overlook of the Forbidden City which was the home of the Emperor for many years. It was AMAZING! So much bigger than we could have imagined. We toured with another family so we took them back to their hotel and then made the trip to the other side of Beijing to the Chunhui China Care Home where Emily spent five months after her surgery. The Beijing traffic is no joke, so everything took longer, but the driver David got was really good and got us everywhere as fast as possible. All my pictures are on my phone and I haven’t had a chance to add them to Kevin’s laptop yet which is what we brought with us that I’m blogging on, but I hope to get a few added later.
We arrived at the home and were so warmly greeted by the Director Lynn. The story of this home and its foundation is awesome – check it out here and be totally inspired! I immediately recognized parts of the home from the pictures we received and felt the tears rising up because we were in the same place our daughter had been and it was like one more connection to her. The staff was so friendly and warm and enthusiastic. We got to meet all of the children and see their rooms, and most importantly to see Emily’s room and meet her nanny, Feng Mei. We gave her a gift and expressed our gratitude, and were able to ask several questions about Emily. Besides meeting and talking with Feng Mei, my favorite part was meeting the children. From tiny infants to children six years old, they had a variety of medical needs. Some had just come and were preparing for surgery, others had been there for a few months and were rehabilitating. One of the tiny little girls who has spina bifida that prevents her from walking wanted Gabi to hold her and she did – it was precious. I was so thrilled in the moment I didn’t take a picture and now I wish I had. We talked about the summer volunteer trips and are already dreaming of returning together to the home 🙂 The Director Lyn, was an awesome woman. I could have stayed for hours talking with her. They were really happy to connect with us because most of the time when the children return to their orphanage they have no idea if they are adopted or not. They pour so much love and work into these children and then have to let them go and just hope for the best. It is such selfless work. I could tell her heart is heavy for the children and all the others that she knows are out there. She softly asked me, “Do you know? Are there many families on the waiting list?” She longs for these precious ones to be in the love and care of forever families. Each one is worthy. I wish I could tell her that there is a waiting list families seeking to adopt children with medical needs. But I encouraged her that the adoption community is strong and we will continue to advocate and educate and work because we are together in this – this work, this passion, this cause worth giving our lives to – of finding a family for every child.
Day Two of touring in the next post…