Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Last Day!!!


Well, we finally made it to our last full day in China. Our trips to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City seem like they happened a month ago. We have had a wonderful time and always enjoy coming to China. The first time we came here, when adopted Gracie, I viewed China as just a place to go in order to adopt our new daughter. However, China soon became so much more to me. It is a fascinating place with a lot of beauty. The culture is so different from our European/American roots that there is always something different here whether it is the way things are done to the beauty of the landscape that catches your attention. I highly recommend coming to China to visit.

We spent our morning in the park so the kids could play on the playground. I sat and watched, sipping my Starbucks while Todd walked around the island taking photos of the beautiful architecture, the people & the landscape. We then came back to our room to finish packing. Kind of a boring day.

This afternoon, we got on a bus and drove over to the US Consulate. Although, I have been there twice before, it never ceases to amaze me that as soon as you step into the Consulate, you instantly feel as if you were in any government building in the US. It is kind of surreal when you step back outside into a totally different culture. Anyhow, we took our oath and then received our visa which allows Ruthie to enter the US. Once we land in the US, instead of heading towards the line where the US citizens are to go; we have to go to the line where the foreign passport holders go, because Ruthie has a foreign passport. We then hand the immigration officials her visa packet and then she officially becomes a US citizen. How cool is that?!

As wonderful as this trip has been, we are so excited about coming home. I actually can't wait to step on the plane tomorrow (actually there will be 3 different planes). We leave from Guangzhou tomorrow morning at 11:30 and then fly to Hong Kong, where we will have a 3 hour layover. We will then fly from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, where we will have another 3 hour layover. Then we will fly to our final destination - PHOENIX!!! *From the time we leave our hotel tomorrow morning until the time we arrive at the Phoenix airport, 25 hours will have elapsed.

Ruthie is such a joy and each day she fits in more easily with our family. We had our guide tell her that her friend "Katy" will not be coming with us, as she lives in a different state. That made Ruthie a little sad, but she will be blessed to have two girl cousins close to her age (one of them being her best friend Sofie, who was adopted from the same orphanage last year).

My last "Chinism" is actually kind of sad one. The gender imbalance, while improving in many areas, still exists. China's "One Child Policy" (one child per family), unfortunately means that boys are favored over girls. Because of this, the orphanages are filled with many more girls than boys. Many girls are abandoned at birth and then the parents try again for the much coveted son. Below, is a photo of a preschool class that we saw walking by while we were at the park. I counted a total of 15 children, 6 of which were girls. However, we have seen many more little girls with loving parents around the cities that we have visited then during our previous visits. The old way of thinking is slowly changing, especially in the cities.

Well, I would like to thank you all for "taking" this journey with us. Your prayers, support & comments meant more to us than you will know. I will update our blog periodically, especially during our first days at home to let you know how Ruthie is doing.

We are so grateful that God has blessed us with 5 wonderful children (and a new son-in-law).



Brittney said...

I can't wait to see you!

kathryn said...

Dear Noelle (T,K,G & R),

How I wish I could fly to Phoenix to welcome you home. However, I know you will have the blessed multitudes and will be exhausted! I've been reflecting on all of the frustrations/roadblocks/months re: getting your trip together, and yet once you got to China it seems as if it has gone so smoothly. I get teary just imagining the little family in Los Angeles, that huge crazy passport control area and then IT'S DONE! You and Todd are quite amazing. Thank you for your love for the whole world! Also, hugs to all of the Smith clan. It's been fun reading everyone's greetings. Grace, give 35 kisses to Finley for me. Do love you all, and I will be praying for as smooth a trip home as possible. How could the flight attendants not love you. Welcome home, Kathryn

Anonymous said...

Well, it's almost over! We are just so anxious to meet Ruthie! I'm sure she will be quite overwhelmed with all of there, but it will be nice to see the rest of you as well. It's been so fun reading all of your "Chinisms" and details about the places you've gone and the people you've met. We look forward to getting to know Ruthie! See you soon!
Love, Scott & Marisue

Brett and Jennifer Humphrey said...

Hi Family,

We can't believe your trip is almost over. We'll be so glad when you are all home safely.
Today we are celebrating Sofie's Gotcha Day which means she's been a part of our family for exactly 1 year. What a blessing! Her best gift will be seeing Ruthie once again. What fun Christmas will be watching the 2 of them.


The Humphreys

Grace said...

Just one more day until we can see you all!! We are so looking forward to meeting you at the airport. I know this will be a huge adjustment for An An so I'll leave my bells and whistles at home :)

Prayers sent for safe and comfortable travels home.


Anysia J. said...

Hi, it's Anysia. Though I've sad it many times before, I can't wait to see Ruthie! I think we will get along well, considering we both like similar things like art. We can both teach each other so many things. Well, see you at the airport tomorrow!!!
Can't Wait!
Anysia J.

Forrest said...

Thanks for all the updates, Noelle! Just a request--could you do one more blog entry when you get back and tell those of us who live far away how the homecoming goes?

Love to all of you!


Anonymous said...

Safe travels to you and Welcome to America An An!

Tina and YuMei

YvetteC said...

I'm anxious to hear how the homecoming is going! Please post!