Taiyuan - Lantern Festival (Monday)

We were thankful for a low-key day that included no airplanes or appointments. Our bodies are continuing to adjust to the time change, and even with a long nap and later bedtime yesterday, we still seem to be waking up around 4:00am. By 5:30am it felt like we had been up for hours and the kids were asking when breakfast would open. All of the hotels have a rather large breakfast buffet and it is turning into the meal at which we eat the most. The buffets are sizable with a wide variety of options, so we can all usually find something - which is not always the case for lunch and dinner. We had a slow morning and after breakfast the kids spent some time doing homework. Their teachers sent a good bit of work with them, but Bailey also has friends scanning notes and e-mailing assignments to her on a daily basis. It is difficult to miss two weeks of eighth grade and she is working very hard to stay caught up (she also would like to give a shout out to Jaden, Avery, Daniella, Paige and Landon for doing that for her - thank you!).

We spent the afternoon at the Lantern Festival here in town. The Lantern Festival was initially known as "Chinese Valentine's Day," but now marks the close of Chinese New Year. There was an entire street blocked off, red lanterns, vendors and people everywhere. The atmosphere was festive and we were obviously in the midst of a cultural celebration. We did a little shopping, ate traditional Chinese food and soaked it all in. It was so much fun.

Emma was correct when she hinted that the kids would likely get even more attention in the smaller towns that see fewer Americans. We felt like a less good-looking, less wealthy and no nannies version of Brangelina today, based on the crowd that seemed to find us wherever we went. If we stopped to take a family picture, there was always a group watching us and taking their own photos. No one has any ill-intent and they are all very sweet, but it can be a little unnerving. Emmy is our most introverted child and the poor thing also seems to be the one getting the most attention. Someone walked up and pinched her cheeks this afternoon, so I believe her when she said, "I am tired of being a celebrity."

We were thankful to be able to enjoy the festivities at the Lantern Festival. It is just one additional memory that we can share with Lexi. The more pieces of her history and culture we understand, the better we will be able to relay it to her.  Today's atmosphere felt a little like we were at Epcot or Hollywood Studios walking through a China-themed village or movie set, so to grasp that we were really experiencing China was amazing. What a special gift.

Tomorrow is Gotcha Day. I actually don't love that term and I'm not exactly sure why, but it just doesn't sit well with me. Eventually we will celebrate it as Lexi's adoption day, just like we do for Caleb. Regardless of what we call it, tomorrow is the day we get to scoop up our baby girl for good. It is difficult to believe that we began this process ten years ago. There were so many times when we thought the door had been closed and we were ready to give up, but here we sit in a hotel room in China. We have a suitcase full of baby clothes and a crib empty and waiting. It is sacred and scary and unpredictable and completely amazing. I'm not sure why God waited to bring her to us in our 40s rather than our 30s, but we are trusting His timing. We know He will make it beautiful. 

Tomorrow we will meet our daughter and the kids will meet their baby sister. We covet your prayers 
for the enormity of this transition for everyone. 


Andrea Young said...

Ahhhh! Y'all are SO CLOSE!!! I can't wait to see her with you all as a family!!! And I"m with you on the Gotcha Day Term;) We love saying FAMILY DAY...the day we grew as a FAMILY and were FINALLY together!!!! So exciting! Praying for her sweet little heart and your hearts and all that is ahead!!

Kelly Clements said...

so excited for you guys!!!! we are all praying!! missing all of you and can't wait to have you home and meet sweet lexi!! we know tomorrow is going to be a great day!! praying praying praying!!!

Unknown said...

Your day has already started there and I hope it is more than you could have imagined. I am so excited for your family and am praying for the smoothest transition possible.... Happy Lexi day!