China: Days 3-6

Hey, friends! Happy Friday from China! We are wrapping up our time here in Hangzhou today and headed to the second destination in our trip – Guangzhou. Here’s what we’ve been up to!
Tuesday morning, we had breakfast and then headed back to the Civil Affairs office to finalize the adoption in Brooks’s province and receive our Certificate of Adoption. He’s officially an Ezell! 
After that, we loaded up in the van and headed out to Yiwu City, Brooks’s birthplace. It was about a two-hour drive, so Brooks snuggled with Mommy and Daddy and snoozed a little bit on the way. 
We went first to Brooks’s finding spot, and friends, can I just tell you how hard that was. Brooks was found on September 22, 2015 at the intersection of a VERY busy street in a village. While we there, I just couldn’t help but wonder why someone would abandon such a precious little one, so I asked our guide, who knows the area very well, if she knew why women in this village would abandon babies. Given how healthy Brooks is (his only medical “conditions” are prematurity and mild anemia), she suspected he was born to an unwed teen mother, although we’ll never know for sure. I just stood in that area praying for his birthmom. I know it’s absolutely NOT the case, but I sort of secretly hoped she could see us there, holding and loving on her little guy so she could be assured he was healthy, happy, and safe.

After leaving here, we headed on to his orphanage. Here it was a very different story – it was as if the prodigal son had returned home. It was OH SO CLEAR that Brooks (or Zhi Qiu, pronounced GEE-CHEW, as they all shouted) was a favorite “toy” for the older girls in his orphanage. Not only did all of the caregivers light up when they saw us, but the older children did as well. He loved the attention and went easily from ayi to ayi before (thankfully!) reaching back out for me when it was time to leave. 
This is Brooks with our amazing guide in the exact spot where they took his original referral photo five months ago.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get this image out of my head…rows and rows of cold metal cribs.

This is Brooks with his orphanage “mama” who absolutely LIT UP when she saw her little guy. He was equally excited to see her and reached right out for her to hold him. It was equally heartbreaking and thrilling to see how much he was loved. She was also SO concerned that I had him dressed in only a long-sleeved onesie and hoodie. It was 60 degrees outside, and he was sweating…but all of the kids in the orphanage were bundled in parkas and coats fit for the Arctic. 😉 I guess when you have no heat or A/C in the building, you take more precautions.

This is the crib where our boy spent 13 months of his life. Although I will forever be grateful for these women who loved and cared for him as his own, this is no place for a baby to be raised, friends. These babies need HOMES. If you’ve got adoption on your heart and ever want to talk, PLEASE reach out to me! 
After leaving the orphanage, we drove another hour or so to Jinhua City to apply for Brooks’s Chinese passport. He did SO well in the van (probably because China doesn’t use car seats…eeek!), and then we headed back to the hotel for dinner and bed.
Wednesday was a free day, so we ate breakfast at the hotel and then went for a walk around the lake. We stumbled upon this amazingness, so we obviously went in for a latte break! #yesplease

We walked around the lake a little more after our coffee with our little guy in the Ergo. He is NOT a fan of riding in the front, but he seems to love the back option. 

After our walk, we rested at the hotel for a bit and then headed to the Chinese grocery store. We found some “treasures” like this…

and Brooks rode in a shopping cart for the first time. Get used to it, buddy! Mama loves her some Target. 😉 
It rained Wednesday afternoon, so we spent most of the rest of that day hanging around the hotel…womp womp.
Thursday morning, our guide took us shopping at a local souvenir market. It was an older, more historic area of town, and it was so pretty!

Have I mentioned how much we loved Echo? Because if not, it should be said again. God bless Echo!

Little man fell asleep in the backpack toward the end of our shopping adventure. It’s exhausting being adopted, y’all.
Thursday afternoon, it rained again but we ventured out to check out the “mall” across from the hotel. Not much there to buy, but we did enjoy the escalator! 😉 
Friday morning it was time to say goodbye to Hangzhou, so we took one last walk to the lake for some Starbucks and fresh (okay, not fresh) air, grabbed an early nap, and headed to the airport. 
We survived the flight (and I do mean survived) to Guangzhou, and things are looking VERY, VERY up here! Hangzhou was great, but we absolutely LOVE our hotel and the weather here in Guangzhou! 
That’s a wrap for now! I’ll recap some of our Guangzhou adventures in a day or two! We are SOOOOO ready to hug our big kids and sleep in our own beds, but it’s all part of the process. Have no fear, there will be GALLONS of queso consumed upon our arrival home. If anyone wants to throw us a little queso party at DFW next week, we wouldn’t turn it down. 😉 Happy weekend, friends! 

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