Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello From Guangzhou!

Saturday morning at Tienamen Square
We landed in Guangzhou around 4:30 this afternoon, about an hour later than anticipated due to delays in Beijing.  We are soooo glad to have arrived at this point in the journey.  While Beijing was fun, for us laid back Okies it's nice to get away from the huge city of Beijing and it's population of 30 million to the sleepy city of Guangzhou and it's 15 million inhabitants! 
Our guide for this portion of the journey is Grace - an appropriate name if you ask me.  She picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel.  I'm not even going to talk about how nice the Garden Hotel is, I'll let Martha do that.  Just suffice it to say that they don't usually let peoople like me in a place like this!  The beggars on the street.  Martha is speaking to that tonight.  I need time to process.
Not sure how well I'll sleep tonight. A constant prayer of ours has been that the Lord go before us to prepare Samuel's heart, but yet I find myself half expectant that he will not like me at first. That's okay, cause either way I'll still be his daddy!  Here I am, at 46 years old, on the other side of the world and I'm about to be a daddy to a 5 year old Chinese boy!  Who woulda thunk it?  Only God the Father can write a story like that!

~ Matthew

We spent the day traveling, so we took no new pictures.  Matt mentioned the hotel.  Grace told us the Garden Hotel is the nicest in Guangzhou.  It is very opulent, roomy, kind of an oasis from the crazy outside world truthfully.  This is the hotel chosen by our  adoption agency for all of its families.  Because tomorrow is the start of the Canton Trade Fair, the hotel is incredibly busy with business travelers from all over the world.  I can tell they feel more at home here than we do.  Don't get me wrong - I am SO HAPPY to be here.  Like I said, it's kind of an oasis.  We are very near some good restaurants and stores.  We ate at a Thai restaurant tonight.  All of us ate well for about 20 US dollars.  The same street has Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, 7 Eleven.

Here's the difficult part.  On our way to & back from this restaurant, we have to cross a crazy street.  Chinese drivers will not slow down for pedestrians.  They will just hit you.  Scary crossing! 

The other, much more difficult part, is the beggars on the street.  I'm not talking just homeless people (and I am not downplaying that), but people with serious deformities lying on the sidewalk.  So hard to walk by knowing there's really nothing we can do to help.  So hard to watch our girls see that.  Just hard, especially walking back to our opulent hotel with a full belly.  I can't get the image out of my mind, that sick feeling out of the pit of my stomach.  Don't know how to react.  Completely at a loss. 

Enough rambling.  My brain is full.  Here's a few more pictures from yesterday.  This is the funny sign of the day.  Again, you'll have to click on the picture to see the close up.

 This is the lake adjacent to the Summer Palace.
 Here's part of the Forbidden City under renovation.
Interesting fact learned about the Forbidden City and Summer Palace and apparently houses in China as well.  The thresholds in both palaces are like 6 inches tall.  You have to step over.  Our Beijing guide explained that these are to keep out "devil  spirits."  They believe these spirits can't jump over these thresholds.  The guide said her childhood home had thresholds like this.  They also represent the father of the family and are never to be stepped on, only over.  Cassidy found that funny and stepped on every one she had a chance to from there on.  Ornery girl. 
Tomorrow is THE DAY.  We will meet Samuel at last.  What a bundle of emotions I am.  I'm tired and words are failing me.

Please pray for us - that Samuel will just know in his heart that we love him and that he can trust us completely; that we will know how to meet his needs; that his health will be strong; that we will all stay healthy; that the overwhelming parts of this trip will not be overwhelming but that God will teach us what He wants us to learn from it all.

Thank you all!  Good night.


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