Today we celebrate four days with Judah. Monday afternoon our lives were changed forever. We arrived at the civil affairs office early so we walked next door to exchange some money. For some reason this ended up taking an hour so I kept the girls entertained with sticker books and origami butterflies.
Our guide had walked into the civil affairs office before we went to the bank. Judah was already there with his nanny and orphanage director. So the entire time I was entertaining the girls I knew our son was just next door waiting on us. Here it is customary to take a lunch and nap break from 1 – 3 so we had to wait on the director of civil affairs to come back to work anyway. Don’t you wish lunch breaks worked like that in the U.S?
After we wrapped up at the bank we headed over to meet Judah. I was so nervous. So much so that I let Michael Luke and the girls walk in the room first. He wasn’t in there though. His nanny had gone to change his diaper and as soon as she walked back in the room I was all tears as she handed my son to me.
Our guide, Lily, had Michael Luke’s phone so she filmed and took pictures of the entire event. Judah was worn out from his eventful day and almost instantly fell asleep in my arms.
We signed some papers and and were able to ask his nanny a few questions but overall it was a quick event. Unlike Esther who came with two suitcases of belongings Judah came to us with only the clothes on his back. He had on a new pair of yellow pajamas with a giraffe on them and a red and blue quilted pant and shirt with a penguin on it.
One of the things that surprised us the most was that the orphanage gave us a disc with pictures of Judah. This is such a special gift for parents and adoptive children who will never know much about their life before joining their forever family.
Judah is small for a two year old. Right now he is wearing 9-12 month clothes… Which makes him the perfect size for snuggling. I’m not sure how much he is used to being held or if he’s ever attached to anyone before but the last four days he’s been held and loved on lots. In four short days we have already noticed him becoming more alert.
This afternoon we flew into Nanjing, China. Tonight Judah sleeps four hours northeast of here in Lianyungang for the last time as an orphan. Tomorrow at 2:30 he will join our family forever. He will receive a new name and a new future!
Before our life completely changes though I want to take a few minutes and remember everything about Saturday… our last full day in Hong Kong.
This is actually my second time writing this post on my phone. Earlier today I was adding the last picture and the app froze and deleted my entire post… even though I had already saved the document several times. This is the second time it has happened to me this week.
I wasn’t able to successfully install a VPN app on my Chromebook so the rest of my posts during this trip will be written on my phone because WordPress is banned by the government here. So to hopefully prevent my posts from being deleted again I will be including all pictures as part of my Instagram and Facebook posts included with the link to the actual blog post.
Yesterday, we met two former Mother’s Choice workers for a dim sum brunch. Gloria brought her six year old daughter Novia. Novia and Noah became good friends almost instantly and had fun shopping together after our brunch.
Connie had known Esther since she was one month old. As a must of an adoptive child it has been special to connect with so many people this past week so have played a part in carrying for Esther.
Yesterday afternoon Noah and Easter finally got to ride a double decker bus. Sitting on the top front row bush exclaimed, “when I grow up I’m going too live in Hong Kong.”
We took the bus to a cafe famous for their egg tarts and afternoon tea. It’s a small cafe that makes fresh egg tarts all day. A line firms down the street waiting for a seat at possibly a table with random people… This happened to Michael Luke and Jelly Uncle. Eating here was a treat and for a few minutes we felt like a local.
The day before Aliena and Rupert (Kai Ma and Jelly Uncle) offered to watch the girls for us so that we could go on a date for our honeymoon. Never would we have thought a night out on the town would have been possible. Mr. Rupert made us reservations at the Dragon King Restaurant… The same place we had eaten dim sum at a few days earlier. The New York Times lists the Dragon King Restaurant as one of the worlds top ten restaurants.
An American couple who only speaks English sticks out in an atmosphere like that though. After we were seated at our private table for two with a view of Kowloon Island and the harbor the manager brought us a special menu in English and then helped us select our five course meal.
The main course was tiger prawns but I’m not sure about everything else. It’s probably better that way because it’s really no telling what we eat. I do know ml had jelly fish as an appetizer… I didn’t eat mine.
Overall the meal was wonderful though and we are thankful for such a special night out. After tomorrow who knows when that will happen again.
The past two days have gone by so quickly but have been a blast. Both days have been focused on the girls and a celebration of their last time to spend together before gaining a little brother.
Thursday we visited Ocean Park.
Kai Ma and Jelly Uncle wanted to take Esther here as her gift from them. Think of Ocean Park as Sea World meets the Georgia Aquarium with the hills of the San Diego Zoo. The park is packed with rides, roller coasters and huge aquariums filled with fish, sharks, and other marine life that is native to the Hong Kong area.
The girls were captivated by all the roller coasters and basically wanted to ride them all. Unfortunately… or maybe fortunately for me Noah was only tall enough to ride one of them. I’m just dumbfounded why people enjoy thrill rides so much. What is so great about feeling your stomach catapult outside of your body?
We didn’t share with Esther that she actually met the height requirements for more coasters than the Arctic Blast because a family is only as strong as it’s weakest link or in this case it’s shortest link. We couldn’t let one ride and not the other. The girls were ecstatic to finally have a roller coaster to ride though. It left me wondering whose girls these are. Is my future filled with vacations where we conquer the world’s scariest roller coasters as a family?
Like a good mom though I boarded the Arctic Blast with them. We screamed and raised our hands, and had a wonderful time. Noah and Esther loved it… I did too to be honest. Maybe it was because it didn’t have any big drops. The Arctic Blast left them with a thirst for more roller coasters the next day at Hong Kong Disneyland though.
After Ocean Park we too the MTR (the subway) back to the hotel and then walked across the street to a sushi restaurant. Esther got to pick what type of food because it was her birthday. She had been requesting sushi all week so sushi it was. While we were waiting on our food Kai Ma went downstairs to order an ice cream cake as a gift from her two girls.
Esther was all smiles to have a strawberry ice cream cake with candles and a bear made out of icing. We sang Happy Birthday to her and then she ate until she couldn’t eat any more of the cake and chocolate bear. Ten minutes later she was passed out in Michael Luke’s arms before we could even make it down one of the four flights of escalators out of the shopping center.
Friday morning we walked back to our new local breakfast cafe for more egg tarts and milk tea. With a long day ahead of us we ordered a few combos of food too. This included rolls, a slice of deli meat, soup. The soup kind of threw me off but it ended up being a hit with our family.
We tried two different kinds. One consisted of spaghetti noodles, a red broth, and beef and the other had ramen noodles, a clear broth with tiny pieces of cabbage, and shredded pieces of white meat that was probably chicken. Esther loved the ramen soup and Noah was head over heals for the red soup. I might have to try adding soups to our breakfast menu when we return back home.
After breakfast we found a little side street that served as a local market. It was fun to wander down it. Many of the booths were still closed because it seams that as big as the city is it doesn’t really come to life until around ten in the morning.
Next, we made it to the part of the morning the girls had been most excited about…. Hong Kong Disneyland. When we came three years ago to Hong Kong we took Noah to Hong Kong Disneyland as her last treat before meeting Esther. It was fun to do the same thing with the girls before meeting Judah this coming Monday.
HK Disney is great because the ticket are much more affordable and the average wait times yesterday we were 5-20 minutes. With one of the longest waits being for Dumbo. I think the short lines had to do with it being a weekday because last time we definitely waited longer.
Like I mentioned earlier the girls were on a hunt for more roller coasters. The first one they saw was Grizzly Gulch. A mine car roller coaster that goes backwards and forwards. Noah just missed the height requirement by a couple of inches.
She was tall enough for Hyperspace Mountain (Space Mountain for the U.S. folks) though. Can I just add this is the part of the day where I really began to panic. I’m talking about sweating, nausea, and the uncontrollable desire to bathe my body in Lavender. A roller coaster in the dark? Did I mention I’m terrified of thrill rides. The girls were begging me to be a big girl so we could all ride it together but in the end I begged Michael Luke to ride it first with Esther and then with Noah.
Esther came off of the ride all smiles and begging to ride it again. She pleaded with me to ride it and convince me that I could handle. So I put my big girl underwear on, endured the five minute wait for Hyperspcae Mountain, and then found myself locked in the roller coaster. Esther sat beside me for moral support.
Come to find out maybe roller coasters aren’t so bad. Space Mountain was fun! So much fun that we rode it again. Not exactly what I though I would be doing on my tenth anniversary but I don’t regret it.
We ended up spending the entire day at Disney where we enjoyed milk tarts for snack….
mushroom and chicken tarts for supper…
and egg tarts for dessert. Has anyone caught on to the fact that we are a little head over heels for tarts?
My day was perfectly capped off by returning to the room to find a gorgeous display of roses from Michael Luke.
Really, I’m just blown away by how beautiful they are. I’m a little sad that I will have to leave behind tomorrow. But like the scripture says, “the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.: Isaiah 40:8.