Sunday, November 15, 2015

Shopping Adventures

Today was a shopping day with all the families here with our agency.  There are five of us and we represent Wisconsin, Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky, and Texas.  :)  At breakfast we got to talk with a few friends we have met here and also with a family I knew from Facebook that will have their gotcha day here in Guangzhou tomorrow afternoon.  After breakfast, we met our guide and two of the other families in the lobby.  That's when I got to meet another little girl I advocated for and got a big hug from her mama!  MeiLin has thalassemia, just like Reid. Her family is here adopting another little boy with thalassemia from the same orphanage as their daughter, an orphanage here in Guangdong province that our agency, Madison Adoption Associates, partners with.  We just adore their family and our kids are hitting it off great too!  We've said it before, but God is in the details.
The lobby of the Garden Hotel.

Liwan Plaza- first stop:  silk shop.  Our guide told us about these hand embroidered little silk purses this shop sells.  Evan and Lena got their picture taken with gigantic wooden Buddha, rubbing his belly for good luck as the guide told them to do.

In this place is store after store of different gemstones and other jewelry, from pearls to jade and other precious gems.

This is the pearl shop that every agency seems to take their people to- I guess they give a good deal here. It is amazing how many pearls they have in the shop and then in their back rooms and warehouses.  Crazy!  Pearls are very famous in China.  We were told about the different qualities- they grade them as A, AA, AAA, AAAA, or AAAAA based on color, shape, and uniformity.  We got Macie and Maeleigh something special to give them to wear on their wedding day...sometime a long time from now. ;)

Lena was a trooper in the store, helping me keep Macie entertained.  Our guide absolutely adores Lena. She has told me time after time how beautiful she is and she even asked me if she could take her picture today. :)  She said she has the most beautiful face and eyes.  Needless to say:  we agree!
In the store we ran into a few Lifeline families and their guide, Meko.  We had Meko when we adopted Lena.  She remembered me and came over and gave me a big hug and told me it was nice to see me. I thought that was very sweet!

Macie was keeping occupied with the store calculators. :)

The workers stringing the pearls.

This doesn't show it too well, but Macie had her dress wrapped over the top of the chair and then was standing up next to the chair.  It was pretty funny.

From Liwan Plaza, we headed to the famous Shamian Island for a couple hours of shopping.  Rick didn't want much to do with that so he headed to the Pet Market with Maeleigh while I shopped with Evan, Lena, and Macie for some gifts for the girls' future gotcha days, so they could have some special things from their home country.  We went to our favorite place, Michael's. I tried to go to a couple others, but they were either closed for lunch or permanently gone.  The island had changed so much by 2012 and 2013 with adoptive families staying in hotels off the island by that time, but now it is even more different. :(   We did find Judy's store, which is off the beaten path a bit.  That was Evan's favorite shop when we were there to adopt Reid. Judy wasn't there, but we did get a few things and the guy gave each of the kids a small trinket for 'free.'   I personally felt that the prices for the things we normally get on the island were higher than usual and the shop keepers were less likely to bargain like they once did because they don't have as many customers and are just trying to keep afloat.  It's too bad.

The island is a beautiful place where a lot of people go to take pictures for weddings, modeling, etc.   It is peaceful and beautiful, with a lot of neat statues and buildings.  Today is was busier than I've seen it in a long time..I guess that's a good thing!  

More modeling. Lena pointed out the ladies' hair colors.  Definitely different.

This is one of our favorite statues and a 'must stop' spot for adoptive families.  We plan to go back to the island to pick up a few things we ordered another day.  We'll take Macie and Maeleigh's pictures with these statues then because Rick was off on an adventure and had Maeleigh with him.

Sometimes the models are Asian and sometimes they are Caucasian.  This was one tall and thin lady!

The famous Lucy's- a definite lunch or dinner spot for tourists. It used to be huge when families stayed in a hotel on the island back in the day, but is still frequented by adoptive families visiting the island.

Lena pointed out this cute couple and the pretty dress this girl had on.

Back at the hotel.  Rick was holding Macie up in the window and this looked like a neat photo op. ;)

This girl is SO flexible!!  She can seriously put her legs behind her head and wrap them around her's CRAZY!  And she thinks it's fun AND funny!

The many faces and poses of Miss Macie!  This was her free toy from one of the shops on the island.

She gets me with that smile...every single time!   
Don't mind our messy hair- Macie lost one of my favorite bows today- I should have known that was going to happen.  She's just like Lena in so many ways (especially when we got Lena/when she first came home).  And nothing stays in this girl's SUPER fine hair too well.

These are in the hotel lobby. You walk up to each picture and they dance. Kind of neat!

There seems to be a wedding in our hotel almost daily.

There is also a small stage in the lobby and there have been daily dance performances.  This was one of the groups performing tonight.  They came walking off the escalators from the 2nd floor and onto the dance floor.  Very different.

We went to dinner at the Paddy's Irish Pub with two families who are with our agency and at our hotel.  I led them there. I love that I know where things are here. I kind of feel like I could be a tour guide after having been here three times..haha.  The little girl above was adopted from one of Madison's orphanage partnerships here in this province.  She was loving her spaghetti!  :)   Her family lives just across the lake from us in Michigan.   The family in the background is a family we met while there.  They are with another agency and from Seattle.  We enjoyed talking to them, getting to know them, and meeting their new adorable son.  They are also first time adopters!

The kids!

The girls!

The boys!

Me with MeiLin- the little girl who I advocated for and helped find a family.  Makes my heart so happy to meet these kids in person!!!  Below is her advocacy photo I created (not sure where her advocacy name came from).  Look at the changes.  This is what love and a family does!

Leaving the Irish Pub and headed back to the hotel.

We're all clean and brushing our teeth!  These pajamas are size 3 but were a bit too big for Miss Maeleigh- the pants slid right down so I had to roll them. :)

She's starting to allow us to brush her teeth without crying...progress!

Another excellent day here in Guangzhou!   
Tomorrow we will have breakfast and hang out for a bit in the morning while two of the families have their consulate appointments.  After they are done, we will meet in the lobby to head to the Safari Park...another one of our favorite things.  Rick and Lena have yet to see it.  Evan and I went there when we adopted Reid and it was very cool!  Rick and Evan are wanting to go back to One Link Plaza tomorrow when we get back because we didn't get too much time there the other day.
Thank you so much for following our journey and for your thoughts and prayers too...we feel them and appreciate them!

We dressed the girls in their Packer dresses today.  We will miss the game while we're sleeping here in just a few short hours.  GO PACK GO! :)

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