Days 7 & 8: To Guangzhou we go and medically cleared

We headed out of Zhengzhou yesterday with high spirits to make it to our last spot before HOME. I’d talked to a new friend with OI who lived in China for several years and expected that in-country flights were going to be challenging for us. We had relatively good luck coming from Beijing though so we weren’t overly concerned. Our guide managed to get our chairs past the ticket counter (they insisted that they be checked as baggage) but security had a MAJOR problem-thus causing a GIGANTIC kerfuffle-with our attempt to bring the chairs through security. Our guide argued for nearly an hour while we huddled against a wall as people continued to stream by. We inched closer and closer to missing our boarding time. It came and went. Our event (and apparently the possibility that we *could* have a knife in our chairs!) eventually shut down the security…which resulted in all the people who had been standing in that line shouting angrily. It’s a bit hard to explain what was happening because I really have NO idea. There was a great deal of yelling, gesturing, eye rolling, stomping, seeking supervisors of supervisors, and waiting…….I eventually got out of my chair to demonstrate that you could look in every part of our chair…NO KNIVES! We disassembled our chairs and they tried to fit them through the carry-on scanners. In case you’ve ever wondered, they don’t fit!

Eventually, they decided to scan them with the baggage. Our flight should have already boarded so we were terrified that this “scanning” would result in our chairs being held but the flight taking off. We had no choice to trust that they would be at our destination. We got in terrible airport chairs with terrible drivers that took 10 times longer to get us less safely to the plane. It was a bad scene.

I boarded the plane so sad wondering if our chairs would be in Guangzhou and if so, in what shape. When Eli took his seat, so much of my burden was lifted. He was SO incredibly joyful. He made the sign for airplane and proudly touched his chest. He read the safety brochure and pointed out every detail. He practiced with his seatbelt, pointed out the clouds, clapped as he beamed, INHALED unidentifiable Chinese airplane food, and was so, so happy. We were meant to be HERE….with the tough comes the out of this world good.

Our difficult journey also made this fantastic hotel that much sweeter. There are more food and shopping options. Our room has much more room for Eli to play and burn off some of his energy! There are many more families here and several have adopted children around Eli’s age. It’s been fun to meet them and see these amazing kids blossoming around us.

After our travel day on Friday, Saturday was filled with firsts. Before the fun ones, Eli had to clear his medical appointments. He bragged to our guide that he would never cry for his shot this morning. And he didn’t! He did, however, inform every doctor that he was 4 (not 7). When our guide tried to find out why (because it’s possible he’s been told this by a nanny) he changed the subject and asked our guide to tell us that he prefers sweet foods. He is too much! Overall, his medical exams went well. We know we have lots of medical/dental assessment in our future but we’re glad to sail through one of the last hoops here in China to get H*O*M*E. Now, we wait for his TB test results to come back on Monday.

After medicals, our guide took us to a shopping mall to find some better fitting shoes for Eli. We brought three pairs but his measurements given to us by the orphanage were a little off. Eli was so excited to go shoe shopping. He was jumping up and down in the elevator jabbering away. When we got to the shoe section, Adam offered him choices and Eli told our guide, “I will love anything you pick for me.” Which did hold true UNTIL……….he spotted Boonie Bear light-up sandals. Boonie Bear is a Chinese cartoon and it’s Eli’s favorite. These sandals are a sight for sore eyes (not to mention Adam’s household ban on character shoes) but Eli is now the VERY proud owner. So proud in fact, that we just had to convince him via the translator that he really did need to take them off to get into bed. He’d put them right back on after his bath with his pajamas.

And one more important first that I must share-Eli’s first SWIM! I will have to ask our guide tomorrow but I am fairly certain swim in Mandarin is something like “yolo”….if so, it’s very fitting! Eli definitely looked the part of swimmer and within 2 seconds of hitting the water, he went ALL out! Thankfully his NeiNei (Mamaw) was holding him in his inner tube when he dunked his head under and sucked in half the pool. He coughed, sputtered, and flapped his hands…We thought we’d just enjoyed the shortest swim EVER but he recovered within a minute or so and eventually became quite the little inner tube swimmer. He’ll put his face under, holding his breath for several seconds at a time. He kicked well and eventually balanced in the tube all on his own. He definitely needs some (MAJOR) swim instruction but if enthusiasm is any measure, count him in for the 2022 Games:)

Tomorrow we do a bit of sight seeing and I hope to pick up Eli some affordable but meaningful momentos from his country of birth. We will also find out about the status of visas. More to come. We are (hopefully) in the HOMEstretch now.