Today was just crazy full of so many emotions! This morning we had a great time hanging around our hotel before heading to the train station. We loved Hong Kong and are so excited we will be back for one more day there after our time in Guangzhou, before we head back to Dallas. It was not too hard to leave though, because that meant we were headed to Guangzhou!
Lila is in an orphanage about 60 miles away from Guangzhou, which is in the Guangdong province of China. It is just a 2 hour train ride from Hong Kong. We had a van take us to the train station, and then we had to navigate through to find our way to the right line to get us on the right train! Whew! We are becoming airport/train/subway navigator pros these days! :)
After a few wrong turns and asking around, we found the right spot and everything went as smoothly as possible. I am usually totally, absolutely stressed out about places like that. I have anxiety just checking in for a domestic flight at DFW, so this is just…well…Y’ALL. There are people literally everywhere, very few people speak English, things aren’t clearly marked at all… but the good news is you all have been praying for us because we made it just fine and to the right place!
We boarded the train and it was awesome! The kids dove into their backpacks and started coloring and playing with their iPads.
I loved watching out the window and just taking in so many different cities and countryside scenes. Trey and I were both able to spend some time catching up on Join the Journey, the Bible study that we are following with our church where we are reading the entire Bible in 2015. We are in the Psalms and it was just a great time to reflect on what the Lord has done and what He has promised us! I read Psalm 121 today, and it gave me such peace that He is our help through all of this- the good and the bad, no matter what!
We arrived in Guangzhou and navigated our way (again) through another train station, then through customs and immigration, and then we started looking for our guide, who was supposed to meet us there. We saw other drivers/guides with signs, but none had our name, so we just kept walking thinking that we would see her at some point as we walked out. We were about to go down another escalator, and I turned around for no reason and the first thing I saw was a white sign with “Clemens” on it. I truly think that was such a God thing because I have no idea why I turned around, and if I had not seen that sign, we would have gone down that escalator and who knows where we would have ended up!
So, we walk over to the sign with our name on it, and it is a man that works for the hotel we are staying at. We were confused as to why our guide wasn’t there, but we decided to go ahead and go with it since they had our name even though he didn’t speak English! We followed him for what seemed like forever and then waited outside for our hotel van to come pick us up. As we were waiting, the driver hands me his cel phone and says it’s for me. It was our guide calling. I talk with her briefly, and she says she can’t make it to meet us, but that she would call us later and just to go with the hotel driver.
So, that was that and we headed to our hotel! It was a short drive and then we checked in. We had booked a small suite-type room for the five of us, but when we got to our room they had given us a HUGE apartment. It is 3 bedrooms with a kitchen and laundry room! It is definitely “dated” to say the least, but it is clean and we are so thankful for the extra space. The kids have their own room with two twin beds, and they set up a crib for Lila next to our bed in the master bedroom!
Since we are going to be here 12 nights, we unpacked and put everything away. It will be so nice not living out of a suitcase for a couple of weeks! It was extra fun unpacking all of Lila’s things! I made her bed and just got so teary thinking about how she only has one more night in an orphanage! Tomorrow night she will be sleeping right next to me!
After unpacking we still had not heard from our guide, so we decided to venture out for dinner. I checked Google maps and found a KFC close by, so we walked there for dinner. It was so crazy trying to order by pointing to pictures of things, but we all figured it out and the kids were so excited for chicken nuggets! They both devoured them quickly, and after we were done we walked next door to the grocery store to get a case of bottled water since we can’t drink the water here.
Oh the Chinese grocery store. That is for another post, but I will say it was CRAZY. Just insane! We got our water and the kids both grabbed a Snickers bar, and we were on our way!
Once we were back at the hotel, our guide finally got in touch with us and we were able to talk about tomorrow. We will leave our hotel at 2pm to head to the government office where they will bring Lila to meet us! When we meet her, we will take custody of her at that time. Then we will go to our hotel with her and head back to the government office the next day to officially adopt her!
I have so many things on my mind and heart right now. I can’t believe it is finally here. We have been waiting for this day for so long! Tomorrow there is one less orphan in the world, and our Lila Mei will finally know her forever family.
Next time I post, it will be pictures of us with our girl!