Day 2: Henan and a lot of elephants

Another travel day and this one a little more challenging but well worth the endpoint.
Our taxi driver (who we met at the airport) walked us in and tried VERY vigorously to advocate for us to be moved through what seem like somewhat random lines. The “accessible passage” lines never had anyone else with visible disabilities. Our driver was more passionate than effective though so he eventually wished us luck and we waited…with our boarding passes in hand, we headed to domestic security. Their rules are different so some of our portable chargers had to be cleared. I was thankful they didn’t take our electronics!
We boarded without too much trouble. There seems to be no such knowledge of an aisle chair here so I climb/crawl and Adam knee walks. We also repeat what a new friend with OI who lived in China advised, “Mei wen to”. It means “I’m ok. No problem.” We repeat this because people are trying to be helpful but could cause more harm than good.
When we arrived in Zhengzhou, we climbed to the bottom of the stairs on the jetway and managed to advocate for our need for chairs THEN and not at the baggage claim. Once we had our own wheels, the flight crew found us new “VIP” van to the terminal. even through their learning curve of what we needed, everyone was really nice.
Once we got our baggage, we met our guide Rosary. She is amazing. So knowledgable and kind. I couldn’t be more grateful we have her by our side for this adventure.
She brought us to our hotel where we met 3 other families who are adopting! I’d known 2 of these from the Facebook groups that have taught me so much about his process. Eventually, we walked to another nearby hotel for what turned out to be a very confusing but hilarious meal . Adam thought he was ordering egg drop soup for all of us and instead, it was congee (a watery oatmeal-type dish). I was so hungry but my lack of chop stick skills were frustrating!
After lunch, we walked to this beautiful park. We do see a major difference In stares here but we’ve been so distracted by the life-threatening scooters on the sidewalk that we’ve got more important things to pay attention to….like surviving!
After all this-we couldn’t help but crash for a few hours. We missed out on easy/safe dinner options so a granola bar will do until morning.

One last little tidbit before signing off…
Ladybugs are a popular sign for Chinese adoption. Maybe because I can’t dress my lil guy in ladybugs, I haven’t collected much ladybug paraphernalia. Instead, I have a couple of adoption t-shirts with elephant designs from friends’ fundraisers who are adopting from Africa.
In painting my nails for the trip, I picked out ELEPHANTastic pink AND in response to my pants problem, I bought a pair of black leggings with elephants on them the night before we left. I don’t typically wear animals on my pants but I thought Eli might like them. and the final elephant connection….Our guide said that the character that represents Eli’s province translates to mean “a lot elephants” because this area used to have a high population of these animals. They might seem silly connections but it’s just one of so many signs that we were meant to climb this mountain. I’m so glad I have the partner I do to climb it with me and grateful we didn’t change course in moments of doubt, fear, and uncertainty.

Tomorrow is THE day. Eli is in his bed spending his last night as an orphan.

See you in the morning sweet boy. We love you!