Break From Life

We went to Mexico!

It was paradise.

Sunny and warm.

The pool bar.  Yes, please do bring me something to drink while I lounge by the pool.

Yes, please do bring me some fruit in a kayak while I lounge by the pool.

Yes, kids you can go play in the pool while I lounge by the pool.

Look!

The iguanas were huge!

Titus found a “boat”. He grieved the fact that he couldn’t keep it for a loong time.

But he made himself a little “fire” to feel better.

No photo editing was done on any of the pictures – it was just that beautiful.

Catch Up: The Zoo

Most of our riding around was done in a tour bus.  We were with a group of ten other adoptive families, so the bus needed to be big.

Most of the time we were going anywhere this is what Titus Hui looked like.  Heaven forbid he miss a bus or motorcycle.

This is the entrance to the zoo.  I never would have guessed a zoo was there, right in the middle of the city.  It was a typical zoo, from what we saw.  The two pandas were a big hit.

This panda was pretty active and played in the water and climbed around quite a bit.

So were the baby monkeys.

The kids and I had a great time standing on the platform feeding the giraffes.  Titus did not like when the giraffes licked him though.

I think his favorite animal was the elephant, but it went inside before we could get any pictures of it.

Here I am packing both kids.  Go me!!

Just so you don’t think Jared is a total slacker, he packed Hui quite a ways too (Sunita was having a bit of an attitude problem and got to live in the Ergo for the duration of the zoo trip).  Hui liked to try and fall asleep on his head though.

The zoo was enjoyable, but hot and humid … 99ºF and 80-90% humidity.  It was good to be there only about two hours.  I don’t think we saw much of the zoo; I saw lots of offshoots where we didn’t walk.  I’ve heard there were dogs (like pet dogs, not wild dogs) at this zoo, but we didn’t see them.  Maybe next time  =)

Catch Up: The Cruise

Early in the day (on the 27th) we took it pretty easy and just played around on the play area at the hotel while Sunita rested.  We were so hopeful she would take a nap, but she didn’t.  We were sure she would be in a terrible mood since it would be a late night night and we wavered back and forth whether someone should stay at the hotel with her so she could get to bed on time.  We decided we would all go and make the best of it.

That evening we enjoyed a cruise on the Pearl River.  It was beautiful and very fancy.

It wasn’t a dress-up event, but we all ended up looking pretty spiffy.

The bridges were beautiful.

Much of the waterfront had received a facelift for the Asian games that were held there recently.

During the night, as we were on the top deck they began playing some music.  It was then we learned Titus Hui loves to dance!  Sunita ended up having a ball (thank Heavens!).  It was one of those treats we wouldn’t often indulge in and it was wonderful.

Homeward Bound

Today begins our journey back to the states.  Hooray!!!  It’s been a great trip to China, but we’re all very ready to be back home.  This evening we’ll catch the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong and then fly out early tomorrow morning.  Oddly enough, we leave Hong Kong at 8:25 am Saturday morning and arrive in Portland at 8:20 am on the same day … 15 hours of sunrise.

The last couple days have been a bit busy, hence the lack of new posts.  Once we’re back to home sweet home, we’ll plan to get a few more posts out.  See ya soon!

Guangzhou

We had less full days since we’ve been in Guangzhou.  We got Hui’s visa picture and did his medical exam on Saturday.

Here’s our bus.  It’s huge.

This is one of our guides.  I’m pretty sure she deserves a skin-tight suit and a cape, because she must be a superhero.

This is the outside of the clinic.  It isn’t a large place.

The street outside of the clinic.  The roads aren’t very big either.

Hui didn’t like this, none of it.  I can’t blame he.  Sunita cried every time we went to the doctor for awhile.  I expect he will be the same.

On the island where the medical center is (Shamian Island) there are many wedding photos being taken.  I wish we had more pictures of the different wedding dresses here.  They are very creative!

On Sunday, we did a little shopping.

We checked the TB test and did a little more shopping on Monday.

One of our purchases was this North Face backpack.  I’m pretty sure it was the real deal at 130 yuan (around 20 US dollars)…

Today is Tuesday and we have a mostly unstructured day.   We really have just hung out.  We fed the fish, walked around, and ate.  Hui is napping and we are hoping Sunita will very SOON.  She is hitting the end her accommodation of new things.  She has been having a hard time the last couple days.  She hasn’t been sleeping well, she is starting to envy her brother more, and she is all off schedule.  All that being said, she generally is still doing really well for as much as we are throwing at her.  You can pray for her.  She is ready for “normal” food and a normal schedule.

We are loving our time here in Guangzhou.  The food has been wonderful.  We’ve taken to eating at McDonald’s almost every day for Sunita to have something she is really comfortable with and we found out Hui LOVES french fries (with ketchup, of course).  We would rather eat elsewhere, but both kids eat well there.  Our hotel is excellent.  We’ve all enjoyed feeding the fish, the play structure, and the pool.  But it isn’t home.  We miss home and all of you and as much as we have enjoyed our time in China we will be glad to be heading your way soon!

From Grandma’s Perspective

We are staying in probably the nicest hotel I have ever been in.

But all this opulent luxury pales in comparison to the joy I feel in watching this Ocker family of three becoming four.

To see Titus Hui blossom under his mama’s patient, persistent teaching; to see him go to papa and raise his hands to be held, to see him play gently with his sister (who still loves her little brother) – to see him become an Ocker gives me delight beyond words I can express.  And the “little” things – he loves to dip his eggs in ketchup like Mama (Amy says this is a giant understatement, egg only begins the story), he likes to grab the knife (like Papa), and if he were allowed, he would saw through the tablecloth.  He is very neat and tidy – not liking anything left on his fingers or mouth and using a napkin to take off it.  He is learning to play so nicely with his sister – to color together and play ball together.  He even allows her to touch him now. 

He loves to crawl under things, to play peek-a-boo, and to run!  He is already picking up English words.  His giggle and smile are so precious.

We can feel the power of God in answers to the prayers you have prayed for us.  We are so grateful.  I thank Mark for making it possible for me to come, for Jared and Amy allowing me on this journey, and to God for His abundant blessings – in so many ways.

Opulence

Thought I posted this yesterday but it looks like something didn’t work right…

Getting caught up.  We flew into Guangzhou two days ago, but we got here just in time for the kids to go to bed.  We are with a group of ten other families, and Rebecca and Lily are taking amazing care of ALL of us.  It’s truly a feat.  Our flight to Guangzhou was only two hours from Kunming and it was very smooth.  Hui and Sunita both did very well.  Our hotel is truly 5 stars here.  It is incredible.  Check out the video of our room below because pictures don’t do it justice.  We’re on the 26th floor and have an amazing view.  I don’t know if I’ve ever stepped into a hotel this nice.  It is a wonderful way to end our journey.  We are staying at The Garden Hotel.

Yesterday we did the doctor appointment (ENT, exam, TB test) and it was no fun.  There might be more on that later.  Today we shopped, nothing much to mention there.  As for the hotel, we are loving this part of our “vacation”.  Oh, and I think I’m losing weight, while having ice cream almost everyday.  All kinds of good things happening!

Cultural Zoo

While in Kunming we went to a people zoo.  Our guide called it the cultural village, but it really did feel like a zoo.  It’s kind of like the places we have where you can go to see cultural or ethnic exhibits, except the people actually live here.

Some of the guides.  When we saw them taking breaks they would take off some of their outfit accessories.  The people who live there are true ethnic minorities, but you could tell they were still putting on a show.

The grounds were all beautiful and park-like.  It wouldn’t be a bad place to live, minus the hundreds of strangers passing through the space everyday.

We joked that this will be what all the pictures of Hui (sounds like “Hway” by the way) will look like.  He is starting to sleep less, but still is sleeping a lot for a 2-1/2 year old.

Each “tribe” had their own dress, own religion, own housing, etc.

These pictures are from the Thai section in the village.  It was interesting that our guide still called them “a tribe”.

He also called the Mongol people a tribe.  But he said they look like normal Chinese because of intermarriage.  This is one of their houses.  It was impressive.

There were 25 tribes in the village.  We saw maybe ten percent of the village, and it still took us around two hours.

The man riding the bicycle here was part of a tribe our coordinator called “black”.  Supposedly the darker you are in this tribe the more value you have.  They were eating lunch and our group accidentally walked in on them taking their break because we thought the house was open for viewing.  As soon as they saw Sunita, it was like a stampede.  We got her out of there as quickly as possible.  They were very sweet, just overbearing.

We thought this area was beautiful.  I forget what tribe this was for, but it was for worship.

It was strange seeing people living their lives under our gawking eyes.  It was a beautiful place and very interesting, but also very strange.

Found

Hui, like most adoptable children in China, was found.  He was left behind this school.

He was meant to be found.  I asked our guide why mothers didn’t take their babies to the orphanages rather than leave them somewhere, especially when it is obvious they want them to be found.  He explained that orphanages won’t take babies if parents bring them in.  If parents can be found, they are expected to care for the children.  So the parents aren’t left with many good options.

It is hard to express what emotions overwhelmed me while I looked at this spot.  I wondered if his mom lived nearby.  I wondered if we may have passed her on our way here.  I let my heart break for her as I envisioned her walking away from a 2 month old baby, knowing he would be alone and not knowing for how long.  I let my heart break for Hui, as I wondered how long he was there without anyone to hold him, comfort him, and let him know he would be okay.  We know the police were called and they were the ones who delivered him at the orphanage.  I pray the Lord can heal the hurt, for all the parties involved, that occurred in that spot.  I wish I could tell Hui’s other mother that I will do my best.  That I will love him and care for him and be his mother, just as if he came from my body.  I wish I could tell her that he is laughing and smiling.  This was a much more emotional spot for me than the orphanage.  As I held my babies in my lap (I stayed in the van because both kids had fallen asleep on me) I was so thankful for my children and so sad for their birth families and for all they have lost.

Tomorrow will be a happier post, but this one deserved its tone.  Thank you for loving my family enough to let me share the good and the bad.  And I am so thankful for the good:  Titus Hui has a forever family!

Brother and Sister

I know I’m getting behind, but we had a busy two days.  There is so much I want to share with you, just not enough time to do so.  I had to share this darling photo.  It looks so sweet, doesn’t it?  In reality they were actually trying to take the book from each other, but I’m going to pretend they were laying there together, cuddling, and reading books.  You can too!

thanks

#51 family and friends who help to shield my kids from too much attention

#52 spontaneous laughter

#53 being able to distract a crying boy

#54 good food

#55 hui likes his baba (dad)

#56 sweet big sister, who has been incredible

#57 good sleep (i think this has popped up more than once)

#58 big, free breakfast

#59 maids

#60 god’s faithfulness (always, all the time)