Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Coming Home

We ARE coming home! It was a bit stressful as we waited to receive Maeve's passport in time for the consulate appointment this morning. Our guide, Shiyan, was able to go to the airport late last night and pick up the passports. What a relief. The consulate appointment went well and was pretty quick. We were back at the hotel by 10:30.
Some of the people from our group had their consulate appointments yesterday, so they began their homeward journey today. Tomorrow we will leave around 4:30 and take a 3 hour bus ride to Hong Kong. We leave the following afternoon and 15 hours later we will be home!
Today we wanted to take some pictures of the girls in their Chinese dresses. Maeve can barely squeeze herself into her dress :) I tried to get a good picture of all three girls together, but it wasn't to be!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fabric Market

John and I, along with Maeve, took a taxi to the fabric market today. Tristan spent a quiet afternoon in the hotel room! We handed our taxi driver a piece of paper that gave him the address of where we wanted to go. It felt a little strange to be completely unable to communicate and simply trust the driver to take us to the place written on the paper. I think it's good to be in these situations once in a while. It was also a bit strange to have Maeve sitting next to us in the taxi without a car seat. I've heard that we should prepare for the carseat battle when we get home- can't wait.
The taxi dropped us off at a street where all the shops sold drapery. We found a lovely young woman who directed us to the fabric market that we were looking for, just around the corner. I think we were quite a spectacle as we walked through the market, as this probably wasn't a typical tourist attraction. The market was a large building with 4 floors, packed with small stalls, all selling fabric. We saw so many facrics that it became quite overwhelming. John did some bartering and was quite proud of himself in the end. I think we got some good bargains!

Taxi ride!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Disappointment with the Public Security Office in Jinan

Our adoption journey has gone very well so far.  We arrived in Beijing, and found the airport, hotel, and other citizens to be helpful and kind as we explored the city.   The staff at the train was able to make sure that we found the correct car and seat.   Most of the individuals and agencies we interacted with in Jinan were also helpful.  The Civil Affairs staff made our paperwork process fast and tolerated the noise from our children.  We were even able to meet a important Official just below the Governor.  Unfortunately, we have not been as pleased with the Public Security Office.  We are only in China for two weeks, and need the passports for our children to be done quickly.  The Public Security Office has been slow in doing this and has not been helpful.   When we have talked with families who adopted children from other provinces, they had no problems in getting their children's passports done.   This has made us wonder why the Jinan, Shandong Public Security Office has been so unhelpful and so slow.    We are now in Guangzhou waiting with two other families (Preston & Jennifer and Kurt & Janet) to visit the embassy to acquire our child's Visa.  Everyone in Guangzhou has been helpful and kind.  Unfortunately the delay from the Public Security Office may make us miss our Visa appointment.  

Please pray that the Public Security Office will finish our paperwork so that we can make our Consulate appointment and leave as scheduled.   When you travel to Jinan for your adoption, make sure you are prepared for a slow and inefficient Public Security Office.   

John and Anne Contant

China Top Twelve

These are all in random order, except for number 1!

12. Meeting some local people! This Grandma was so excited 
to bring her 7 month old grandson over to meet us and Maeve!


11.  Seeing lots of cute hinders everywhere!

10. The rickshaw ride where we almost lost our lives a few times!
 Our driver was weaving through traffic at quite a clip!

9.  Bean Bread PB&J Sandwiches

8. This. Everywhere.

7. Squatty Potties
(very hard to do without peeing on yourself)

6. Laundry in the tub!

Rinse Cycle.

5. Climbing the Great Wall of China!

 4. Meeting the Cosgrove Family. Their daughter, Anna, is a month older than Maeve 
and also from Jinan. Getting to know them has been a highlight of this trip for us.

Preston, Jennifer, and Anna
(sorry, couldn't resist 
the pic on the left)
Jennifer and I on the bullet train from Beijing to Jinan!

3. Spending special time with Tristan
We have watched Tristan as he has embraced a new little sister into our family.  
He is a wonderful big brother- patient, kind, and putting others' needs first. 
We are so thankful that he could be a part of this trip.

This picture was taken a few moments after we 
met Maeve for the first time- I think she likes him!

Part of the fam!

2. Visiting the Orphanage and meeting Maeve's nannies.

1. Meeting Maeve!!!
After years of dreaming of this moment, it has finally arrived.
She is more wonderful than we could have imagined and we
are in love! We are thankful that God has been faithful to 
our familyand given us the desire of our hearts.


Folk Art Museum & Shamien Island

While we wait for Maeve's passport we have a few free days to do some sightseeing! 
Things are going well, but we are counting the days until we come home :)

Here are a few highlights from the yesterday and today:

 Street vendors in Guangzhou
Stuck in the rain yesterday at the park!
Dinner out last night with the Bethany group! With us is Madison, 
a little sweetie who is here with her parents adopting her little brother.

Maeve LOVED the pool last night!
She has absolutely no fear - kind of reminds me of some other kids I know :)

Yay for sunglasses! Maeve is finally keeping them on her face (for a little while!)

 And then they're off!

 An artist at the Folk Art Museum. This man paints with his hands- his work is amazing.

Our next stop was Shamien Island where we bought 
lots of presents for some special people back home!

 Tristan is learning the Chinese version of Hacky Sack from a girl at Shamien Island.

A little stop at Starbucks was perfect!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

T's 13th Birthday!

 What a bad mom- I just realized that I never posted pics of his birthday party in Jinan!
We had a little gathering at the breakfast- complete with singing, cake, and presents!
And a weird looking balloon :)

We left Jinan on Tristan's birthday.
This was our guide, John.

Hanging in Guangzhou!

We're in Guangzhou until we head home next week! Most of our paperwork has been completed (just waiting on Maeve's passport for our consulate appointment on Tuesday- please pray that Maeve's passport will arrive soon.) While we wait we have some free time to enjoy Guangzhou and gear up for the big flight home!

Since my last post was somehow deleted, I'll repost a few of those pics and some from today! Maeve is doing great and we are enjoying her funny antics.

From yesterday....

We went our to dinner at a local favorite- the restaurant is know for it's fried eel.

Best Big Brother Award!

 Skyping with the kids- Maeve's first glimpse of the crazy that awaits her!
Aidan did every silly thing he could think of!

This morning we visited a park by our hotel. Unfortunately we got caught in a rain shower and stayed under cover for over an hour until John and Preston ran back to the hotel for umbrellas. When they got back, it finally stopped raining and we walked around the park for a 1/2 hour before heading back to the hotel. Maeve loved the carrier and fell asleep for most of our outing!