Our Journey To Elizabeth Xiaochai
June 11, 2000
Six Banyan Tree Temple, Chen Family Academy, Jade Market
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Last Update: March 6, 2007
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"The greatest gift and honor, is having you for a daughter."
Fa Zhou to Fa MuLan - Disney's MULAN

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6/01/00 - Leaving Home
6/02/00 - Flight
6/03/00 - Arrive In Beijing
6/04/00 - Beijing (Palace, Wall)
6/05/00 - Beijing (Forbidden City)
6/05/00 - Beijing - CCAA!
6/06/00 - Leave Beijing
6/07/00 - Train To Maoming
6/07/00 - Meet Elizabeth!
6/08/00 - Leave Maoming
6/09/00 - Guangzhou (Civil Affairs) 
6/10/00 - Guangzhou
6/11/00 - Guangzhou
6/12/00 - Guangzhou (Exam)
6/13/00 - Guangzhou  (Consulate) 6/14/00 - Guangzhou (Visa)
6/15/00 - Leave for HOME
6/15/00 - Arrive HOME
This day was spent sight-seeing.  First, we visited the Six Banyan Tree Temple.  There was a renovation taking place with bamboo scaffolding up all around.  I wish I could remember more about the history of the temple.

We did receive a very nice blessing from the monks for our Elizabeth.  We all knelt in front of the Buddhas while the monks chanted and played a kind of cymbol or something.  It was very beautiful and inspirational.
Left - This is one of the monks who offfered a blessing.  Notice that Donnie is wearing one very "empty" baby carrier - gotta have that Mom!  We had to lay a cloth diaper along the leg openings because they seemed to cut into her legs.  It was so hot on this day.  After we left the temple, we went to a fruit stand because my FIL was craving fruit!  Well, while they were picking out what they wanted, a precious "grandma" came up to me and we somehow communicated about Elizabeth.  She first indicated it was too hot and took one of Elizabeth's booties/socks off...then I showed her I did not mind and took off the other.  Then she patted my face, then Elizabeth's.  It was really heart-warming, she gave a big smile and then a thumb's up!
Left - This shows the area with the Buddha of women (I may be off a little on some of these things, it is the best I can remember).  This is the Buddha women pray to for a healthy baby, fertility, etc..  Our guide, Sarah, suggested that I thank this Buddha for our precious Elizabeth.  So - why not?  I studied what the other women were doing (bow three times while kneeling) and gave my thanks.  I said a prayer of thanks as I do every day, nothing unusual.  Christian or Buddhist, it was still giving thanks for the many blessings in my life.  God was with me; it was a holy moment.
Papa getting in a little hug.  Elizabeth was still pretty hooked on Mom at this point!  Great photo of Papa, though!

As we left the Temple, a very nice Chinese man came up to me and asked if Elizabeth was my daughter.  I replied that we had adopted her and she is from Maoming.  I added that we loved her very much and thought that she was beautiful. 

He agreed about her beauty and then said that inner beauty was the most important and the key to a happy life!
Another example of beautiful Chinese architecture at the Chen Family Acedemy.  (I will have to look up the stats on these places and add the info.  I cannot remember much about it.)

I do recall our guide saying that many places such as this were partially destroyed by students during the Cultural Revolution.
We also visited the "Civilian Jade Craft" store in Guangzhou.  I bought several things for 1400.00 Yuan/RMB which is only $175.00.  That price included three jade pendants, two bracelets and a jade cross.  Although it was nice to buy these items, I did not like the bargaining process.  The cases were full of lovely jade rings, bracelets, pendants, etc.  Of course, I now regret not buyng more, but it was hard for me to get into to such an "excessive" buying mode, especially on something like jewelry. 

There were clerks all over ready to make that sale!  They want you to bargain - I just don't like it.  One of my prized pieces is a rectangular jade pendant as well as a bracelet to match, I just love them (these are for ME).  Very few of the treasures I bought in China are actually for me, everything else was either a gift for family, friends, or the girls when they get older.

I did buy some really beautiful peasant paintings in Guangzhou; below are some photos of them framed in our home.  Travel tip: It feels funny to buy so much stuff, but you will not regret it!  Buy, buy, buy!

Below is an email I sent from the Henan E-Business Service Center at 3 No. 23 Street on Shamian Island.  It cost 20 RMB for one hour!  Great price.
Hello from Guangzhou, Sunday 6-11 at 4:55 pm.  Sorry if I ramble, it is so
hard to have good flow when you have so much to tell...

Our little angel was placed in our arms on Weds 6-7, early evening and has
done so well since the moment we first met.  She was a momma's girl within
the first hour and I can barely take a shower still w/o her crying....she is
really warming up to daddy the last day or so, though.  She has the cry of
an infant.  To say that she is a precious, beautiful angel is an
understatement.  We knew those lips from across the room as they carried her
in, she looks just like her referral photo although she has more hair now
and her face seems thinner.  She has gorgeous dimples when she smiles, at
least 12 teeth and is cutting more as I type this.  At 16 mos she wears 12
mos clothing (thanks Lois!) yet she has very long legs.  She is walking
pretty well but it still a bit shaky.  Today, we saw the orphanage director
again while doing some paperwork.  Elizabeth went to her but quickly
preferred to go back to mommy!!  (She was the director's "favorite" and got
lots of attention but now she loves to be with her mommy and daddy!!)

The adoption was final on Friday, 6-9, as we went and had our family photo
taken, signed some paperwork and then promised to the official that we would
never harm or abandon her.  They "pronounced us" the legal parents of Mao
Xiao Chai and I of course cried my eyes out!  The trip to the office (I
forget what it was called) was a wild one.  We had to rush via a small taxi,
there was a downpour and we all got soaked! It was a wonderful morning!

The weather here is quite humid.  We tend to do our sight seeing in the
mornings and spend the afternoons in the hotel room with Elizabeth (Xiao
Chai still for now).  She does something new by the hour...she now has the
full run of our room; however, mommy must be within 5 feet or so.  She has
also been up the last two nights wanting to eat and be held and then will
only sleep if she is nuzzled up with mom.  How quickly she has learned that
we will jump when she cries!

We go for the medical exam Monday, the anxiety producing consulate appt
Tuesday, pick up the Visa Weds and leave for home early morning Thursday. 
Donnie has had to give me more than one pep talk because I miss Emma so much
that I think my heart will break!  When I get that child in my arms again, I
may never let go!  We have loved our stay in China but really look forward
to seeing Emma and Elizabeth together!

There is so much to tell.  The train ride to Maoming was the greatest
experience!  It was 5 1/2 hours one way and the ONLY real way to see the
contryside of China. The trip back was with Elizabeth and what a wonderful
experience!  Everyone commented on how beautiful she is and enjoyed hearing
about our adoption story.  Maoming is a wonderful city, much larger than we
thought it would be.  The welfare insitute is beautiful.  As we left from
our visit, her caregivers were waving good-bye from a third floor balcony,
she was really loved by everyone and it was a very emotional moment, we took
pictures and videos of them.

Today, we were in a small little shop area where they were selling fruits. 
A "grandma" walked up and indicated that it was too hot for Elizabeth to
have socks on, I took one off and she took off the other!! So much for the
clothing police fussing over too FEW clothes!  Then she patted my face, then
Elizabeth's, and gave us the "thumbs up" sign.

We visited a budhhist temple today and received a blessing for Elizabeth, it
was quite moving.

We tried to have lunch today at a local Chinese restaurant.  We selected
what we wanted but then the food never came.  We finally figured out that we
were supposed to pay BEFORE we ate?!  We are still not sure. I took Little E
back to the room and Donnie and Don finally left...looking forward to dinner
tonight, we are quite hungry!

Well, there is much more to tell, but I need to get back to my girl...she
will be very unhappy to wake up from her nap and not have mom there!  :)

This has been quite an emotional, hectic, wonderful trip; one that we will
never forget.  Our daughter is a true gift from God and the perfect addition
to our family (did I mention that she is smart, beautiful, loving and
gentle?).  How we ended up with the two most beautiful girls ever born I
will never know but am eternally grateful.

We miss you all very much and look forward to being home again.

Love to all,

Don, Ashley, Elizabeth Xiao Chai
and Papa Don
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