For us, Friday meant that Shane's Passport was complete and it was time to pack up and fly to Guangzhou for our last phase of our journey in China. Guangzhou is where Shane will have his medical examine and finally we will apply for and receive his Visa. Because Shane is over 2 years old, he will also receive a TB test which requires us to stay one more day in Guangzhou than the parents with younger children.
We started Friday with our typical Hotel breakfast. Shane was not eating well. He appeared very picky and we even had trouble getting him to eat his favorites-fried rice noodles and watermelon. Susie was sure he knew something was up after he saw us packing the bags. Eric had arranged for us a late hotel check out (2 pm) since our plane departure was not scheduled until 5:20 pm. Before leaving for the airport, we decided to take another stroll through Green Lake Park. Shane really likes being outside and all of the activity in the park from the early morning exercise & dance groups, musicians, and sightseers seems to be a very good distraction as well as a calming environment. During our walk we discovered a small section that was set up much like a covered, but open air Chuck E. Cheese-like amusement park. However, they also had a few small amusement rides (small train, merry go-round, rocket ship ride). We decided to upgrade Shane's experience to a train ride. It was a small 6 car ride, with enough room for 1 child per car. We chose the front engine car and strapped him for what we soon realized was the ride of his life. For what we thought would be slow moving and gentle toddler ride actually was a brisk jerk around the curves hard adventure. For Shane, he held on tight wide-eyed with no emotion. We had no idea if he was scared or enjoying it. It was not until we walked to another ride that he objected and convinced us he was done. We decided to try to give our second ticket to a nearby Chinese family, but they and the park attendant insisted we return the ticket for a refund which they gladly did with a smile--amazing! Not in America! By noon we returned from the park to get ourselves ready for our trip.
Eric, our guide, met us at 2 pm with Shane's Chinese passport and assisted us with checking out. He had also brought Shane a gift of some Chinese children's cartoon DVDs and audio CDs to help him with his transition. You could tell that Shane recognized the characters because he enjoyed just looking at the covers. Before traveling to the airport, Eric took us for some quick shopping which included a visit to a Super Walmart to buy some local tea. The Yunnan province is known for its jade which ismined in the mountainous areas as well as its trees for harvesting Puer (sounds like pu-air) tea. While in the jade shop a couple of the clerks started speaking to Shane in Chinese asking if they could hold him. Shane immediatley spoke out something that I first thought was toddler gibberish until I noticed the clerks were giggling and repeating what he said--bu yao- no want. He didn't want to go to the strangers...he prefered to stay in my arms. Wow, we had made progress! Then, while Shane and I waited for Susie inside Walmart, he was immediately upset that Susie had left and he did not calm down until the driver told him she was coming back--progress.
On a side note, while we waited a man walked up and tried to sell me a fake iPhone...at least I thought it was fake and my driver confirmed it later. For a facade, it worked beautifully. It's display was fully functional and the settings and features appeared to be working. But I had already heard of the $20 iPhone scam. In fact, I was told that most Apple products cost almost double in China. We did see where iPhones were readily available in Walmart.
From Walmart we headed to the Airport, where Eric assisted us all the way to the security checkpoint. He made everything so easy for us. We didn't realize how much Shane had attached himself to Eric until we proceeded to leave. He quickly burst into tears and Susie tried to console him with the handful of Chinese words we had tried to copy down on the way to the airport while trying to navigate TSA-like security.
Then high-adventure began. We were at a gate that requires you to take a bus to the plane. As we began to line up we removed Shane from his stroller so it could be carried to the plane. For him the stroller is like a security blanket and immediately he began to object. As Susie continued to console him while ended up standing in line for over 20 min waiting for the bus, he began to grab my arm and push me forward while screaming and yelling at me. We believe he wanted us to move and was getting very impatient with us because we were not. We finally boarded the plane and got settled. Of course Shane did not like the idea of a seatbelt and went into full melt down for the whole 2.5 hours of the flight. The passengers loved us---not! We tried everything from candy to a Chinese version of the Disney movie I had downloaded to my IPad--no joy. We were exhausted and little bit embarrassed...but we had survived and few of the passengers had given us a reassuring smiles that they understood. We were the last of 3 families to arrive at Guangzhou that night to be reunited with 3 other families in our group who had already been there a week earlier since they were adopting from this province. Interesting, our group comprised the adoption of 5 boys and 1 girl--all of the boys were considered special needs.
After arriving at the China Hotel-Marriott, a very elegant 5 star hotel that is lavishly decorated and furnished, we finally settled in our room about 9:30 pm. Shane had calmed down and seemed relaxed and excited to be in his new room. Susie gave him a bath, which he loved, and put him to bed. There were no objections and he was asleep in 5 mins and we followed quickly. We had survived another day and savored the glimmer of hope that his new surroundings would help us in building a bond of trust with our little boy. Saturday is medical examination day and we have to be ready to go by 9 am. Praying for good results on the TB test come Monday!