Easter in China

Happy Easter from China!  It was a little sad not to be home doing our traditional morning scavenger hunt with the kiddos, but so blessed to have spent Easter with our newest kiddo.  Our Rachel is such a joy to be with.  We're smitten!  9 Easters ago, my first daughter was born and now 9 Easters later plus a few days, we'll be bringing home our second daughter.  We are so blessed to have her as our own.  She fits right in.  I've been thinking back on our journey to get here and it's been very rough and emotional.  I've really been struggling a bit because our journey to Rachel meant saying good bye to the first little China girl we fell in love with.  Russ and I really can't imagine our bonding and attachment time with Rachel to have gone any smoother.  She is transitioning so well.  Would it have been the same with Lucy?  I so wanted a little baby when adopting, as young as possible.  So when we were matched with Lucy and she was only 10 months old, I was thrilled.  Had we gone on this journey and met Lucy, it would have been so different even simply because she was so young.  Rachel really is very smart for a two year old and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom.  We are constantly blown away by how clever she is.  Adopting a child over two has been so much fun because she 'gets it' a little better.  When her nannies asked her who mamma was, she pointed to me.  And to baba and to jie jie (big sister).  So I guess I'm trying to say that we just feel so blessed to have her.  Maybe simply because we were willing to say yes to a more special needs child and love her as our own, God chose to bless us with this perfect little angel to be part of our family.  For whatever reason, God wanted Lucy with him, and he replaced her with just the perfect girl for our family.  I remember struggling so much when they gave us the referral for Rachel.  I was an emotional mess and could barely even look at her picture.  I totally gave the decision of our child to Russ to pray and ask God to give him the answer because I just had nothing left.  Our International Adoption medical team who reviewed her file thought her head size was too small and she might have mental delays etc and threw around some other words no parent ever wants to hear.  Due to those words, we thought we could never accept her.  Then God stepped in and moved Russ to tears while chopping wood that this girl was his daughter and he had to act..  Wow, thank you God that you made it so clear to Russ or we wouldn't have our perfect Rachel.  

So thinking back on this special Easter, I'm feeling especially blessed.  We've enjoyed introducing Rachel to so many firsts.  We may have missed her first bath, her first steps, and so many other firsts... but we're doing our best to make up for all those missed with so many new firsts.  We've taken more pictures and videos of this sweet baby girl in her first week with us than we have of our other kids in their first months.  We're making up for lost time.   We don't know if she's ever played with bubbles, but boy did she LOVE them.  

Blowing bubbles in the hotel room.  (She usually needs to have something in each hand to feel safe).  

Blowing bubbles in the hotel room.  (She usually needs to have something in each hand to feel safe).  

Bubbles!

Bubbles!

We had to work hard on figuring out how to blow out and not in but she figured it out and blew her own bubbles!

We had to work hard on figuring out how to blow out and not in but she figured it out and blew her own bubbles!

We woke up on the Easter morning and I surprised Abigail and Russ with Reece's Peanut Butter cups and Kit Kats from home that I've had stowed away in the luggage.  Both were so happy to see some treats from home.  So far the only chocolate we've found in China are M&M's, Snickers, Dove Chocolate and in one place we saw Reece's.  Everything else is local and so different.  They don't do chocolate like we do chocolate.  I've eaten more candy and drank more soda in this country than I have in years.  AND I'm still losing weight (I'm still in it to win it to all my diet competitors).  I'm not sure why but maybe it's the duck head or fish heads served at meals that takes away my appetite.  I usually never drink soda and either does Abigail but at restaurants, I'm not sure if there is bottled water or tap water so we usually go with the safer soda.  We've drank a lot of warm soda (staying away from the ice).  

Anyway, we ventured out today to the Christian church service on Shamian Island.  Our guide David took us and 5 other families on the subway which was an adventure all in itself.  Wow, what a beautiful subway system they have.  It's clean and modern.   It blows NYC subway out of the water.  It's far less complicated than NY also.  AND cheap too!  We spent about $1.20 for the 3 of us to ride to Shamian Island.  I went to the grocery store via the subway last night and it cost me 33 cents.   

Easter morning in our hotel lobby before venturing out to church.

Easter morning in our hotel lobby before venturing out to church.

Here we are in church.  It was super crowded and bilingual so we were able to worship in English and Mandarin.  

Here we are in church.  It was super crowded and bilingual so we were able to worship in English and Mandarin.  

Dad and his girls!

Dad and his girls!

After church we ventured around the island and stopped at the traditional Lucy's for lunch.  Ahhh, a taste of home... cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and french fries!  Oh how we've missed you! 

Abigail enjoying a grilled cheese!

Abigail enjoying a grilled cheese!

Rachel trying grilled cheese!  She liked that, did not enjoy the burger or fries that much!  She of course wanted ginger ale!  I never gave my other kids soda but this little one is the exception.  Just wait til we get home Rachel... no soda at home!

Rachel trying grilled cheese!  She liked that, did not enjoy the burger or fries that much!  She of course wanted ginger ale!  I never gave my other kids soda but this little one is the exception.  Just wait til we get home Rachel... no soda at home!

After lunch, Russ took Rachel back to the hotel for a nap and Abigail and I went shopping.  I decided to hire Ann, a personal shopper to help me find everything we wanted at the best price.  She was amazing!!  She took me to the pearl markets, silk dresses etc and saved me a ton of money and frustration!  We tried shopping in Nanjing and the language barrier is so great that we couldn't even understand the price and many shop owners couldn't even write the numbers using our number characters.  Anyway, Ann was fabulous and Abigail and I had a great time shopping with her.  

Abigail wearing her set of pearls!  She won't be seeing these again until her wedding day!  

Abigail wearing her set of pearls!  She won't be seeing these again until her wedding day!  

After shopping, we took Rachel down to the pool.  She has become quite the daddy's girl so she went right into the water with dad.  I just love seeing her so happy with her dad.  Don't get me wrong, she still loves her momma, but she has really grown to like her dad.

Thank you for the continued prayers.  Tomorrow we have another free day while we wait for the results of Rachel's TB test.  We will be heading to the Safari Park with other Holt families to see the pandas!!!!  On Tuesdays we go to the US consulate to finalize all the visa requirements and swear to the US government that we won't abandon, hurt etc our precious girl.  Get this, the US government will not allow you into the consulate with anything!  Just the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet, and your passports.  No watches, no umbrellas, no cell phones, cameras, no pens and the list goes on!  The Chinese government buildings have been so much more accommodating.  Anyway, we're praying the medical reports come back fine and the rest of the paperwork goes smoothly.  We are dreading the return flight with a capital DREAD!!! Little Ms Active never sits still so it's going to be a long flight.  

Have a fabulous Easter!   

A sweet sister snuggle before bed!  

A sweet sister snuggle before bed!