So here we sit, nearing the home stretch and last leg of our trip., Ryan is doing GREAT, and is completely absorbed in all of the attention he is getting from his brothers and sister. We usually need the establish “the plan” for the day. This is something that Ashley’s been pushing! Every day starts with a detailed discussion of meal seating arrangements, van seating arrangements, and hand-holding timetables. (For instance, Ashley would confirm for everyone that SHE would be sitting next to Ryan at Breakfast, while Dylan would be next to Ryan riding in the van…but if it’s going to be a long ride, Dylan would need to switch seats with Kyle, so that D doesn’t get too much time.) Lisa AR and I are taking bets on how long before we start hearing: “Mom, can you tell Ryan to leave me alone, he’s bothering me.” !!
Anyway, Ryan continues to impress us with his math skills (he knows his numbers up to about 20 and can do addition of sums up to 20 as well.). He is relentless – asking constantly for more math problems in his notebook. He’s good at matching games and practices his letter formation on an iPad app. He colors well in his coloring books, and knows his colors. It’s amazing to see how far he’s come, despite his challenges. This is a testament to the efforts of the Sunshine Academy! Thanks everyone – he has been very well prepared.
He is adapting to our routines (as least as far as we have them in the hotel) and is a very happy and upbeat little boy. There was only one incident so far where he’s been overcome by sadness. Lisa noticed that he’d gotten quiet and his face had started to look sad. She pressed him a bit to say what might be wrong, but his eyes only got redder and more teary. He finally began crying, quietly at first, then more loudly in a few moments. We carried him to our room in the apartment, and tried to comfort him. He was inconsolable for about 20-25 minutes, never giving any hints as to what was wrong. We wound himself back down, the tears dried, and we walked him to the kitchen for a cold drink. He took a few sips of water from a water bottle, his face broke into a slight grin, and he came back to us from wherever he was. In 5 minutes he was back at it again doing all of the same Ryan things he’d been doing, no worse for the wear.
The US Consulate appointment is usually a highlight of the trip. It’s a chance to set foot on “American soil” in a foreign land – and see the American Flag flying highest on the staff. It has always had a very significant impact on me. This year we visited the new Consulate compound (opened about 2 years ago) in a different part of town that we remembered. The process had changed a bit as well, likely due simply to the decline in volume of adoptions. It does not take long as we made our official request for Ryan’s Visa to enter the USA, and were briefly interviewed about him and about the adoption. We had the chance to meet a few more adoptive families and chat about our children. Before long, we were finished, and we made our way outside. The new compound was much different that he old offices (located in a large office building) and there were hundreds of Chinese – and other foreign – citizens gathered outside awaiting their chance to take care of their business with the US State Department. The walk back outside was a bit intimidating…we never felt fearful, but we were certainly the objects of many stares and comments (we’re used to it…). We had to keep reassuring the kids that we’d be fine – which we were. We met up with Kelly back at the van, and were on our way back to the hotel for breakfast.
We managed to get one or two photos outside before we entered:
The rest of the day was spent at Baiyun Mountain and White Cloud park. We took a gondola ride to the top and we walked down. Mom had a difficult time, but she was a trooper and made it fine. Kelly rode with us and we got some great views on the way up.
Journey of a thousand miles…
On the way down we visited an active Buddhist Temple. There were actually several buildings with altars and incense gardens, and we saw all of them.
We saw a tree full of “wish ribbons” which were actually hand written wishes for children, parents, health and happiness – each one carefully tied to a tree branch.
The Gate was decorated with marble elephants.
One of the Temples
There was a Turtle Pond…
And we saw a blind rabbit, left by someone in hopes that it might be found and healed through the prayers of the Monks. It was said that people also brought their Turtles to the pond as well.
At each Temple, we stopped to offer prayers and burn incense.
Inside the Temples were many Buddhas, including the Laughing Buddha
As well as many Buddha Bodyguards…
The walk down…another example of a sign that discusses “good behavior”
Selfies on the way down…
Finally, another first for Ryan – The Exclusive AR mani-pedi!
More soon. Thank sfor following – please share.