Saturday, September 18, 2010


Blogger is acting funny, and won't let me move my pictures around, so they are all here at the top. You can read about our day below the last picture.

Garden at the Great Wall

Yeah, it's steep!

The Jade Factory

Rush finds a friend

The Forbidden City

Wow....what a day. We are tired to say the least! Beijing is a very cool city. In a lot of ways, it seems just like any other big city....lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of buildings. But there is definitely a different vibe here than any other place we've ever been.

We started the day with a great breakfast at our hotel and most importantly, coffee! Then we headed with our group to do our day of sightseeing. First, we hit Tiananmen square and the Forbidden City. It was chilly and rainy this morning, so we did a lot of umbrella dodging, but it was better than being 100 degrees! The Forbidden City was beautiful and HUGE. They are restoring a lot of it. It was interesting to see the contrast of the restored and unrestored areas. The history and age of the entire place was incredible. I believe our guide told us it was built in the 1400's.
Our guide, Michelle is great. She's done a great job getting us around and filling us in on a ton of information. She cracked us up earlier by telling us that when she first started working as a guide and was still improving her English, with her first tour group, she replaced the word "concubine" with "cucumber." The group couldn't understand why the Emperor thought China had the world's most beautiful cucumbers! :)

Apparently, Beijing, as a city, has 5 "rings." The inner most rings to the center of the city are more expensive and housing gets less expensive as you move to the outer rings and beyond. Younger couples or people who cannot afford otherwise, live in the outer rings, which causes their daily commutes to be 2-3 hours in each direction! In fact, because of this, often when couples have children, the children are sent to live with the grandparents. The grandparents essentially raise them until they are schoolage when they go back and live with their parents, because then childcare is not as much of an issue.

We also learned that the southern provinces of China are generally more traditional than the northern areas. This is why a lot of adoptions are done in the southern provinces. The cultural preference for boys still dominates there more than in the north. Rylie's province of Jiangxi is considered southern.

After lunch at a restaurant/jade factory (i.e. a seemingly transparent attempt to get people to spend money at the gift shop) we headed to the Great Wall. That thing is no joke! I have no idea how it was built. It is massive and STEEP!!!! However, it was beautiful to see it crossing over the mountains outside of the city. Fortunately, it had stopped raining by the time we got there. Otherwise I am not sure we would have climbed it at all considering we probably would have fallen to our deaths on the slippery steps!
We grabbed dinner with another couple from our group who is also adopting a child with cleft lip and palate...a boy. We hate to leave them tomorrow as they head to a different province, because we had a blast with them at dinner. But we will meet back up with them next week.
TOMORROW we have to meet our group at the crack of dawn to head to the airport and fly to Rylie's province. We are supposed to head to the Civil Affairs Office at about 3:30 pm (3:30 am eastern time) to get our girl. We will post as soon as we can!
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and messages you have been sending us! It is hard to believe we are on the other side of the world...thank God for the internet! Please be praying for Rylie. As much as we appreciate the prayers for us, she is about to experience the biggest transition anyone could ever imagine as in the next days and weeks she is losing every single thing she is used to....her name, the sights, sounds and smells she is used to, her home, her culture, her citizenship...everything. It has to be terrifying for a 21 month old little girl who cannot understand what is going on. Please pray for her to have peace and for a smooth transition.
We can hardly believe the day is almost here! It truly is surreal.
Special Munchkin Message Below:
J-man and Crazy Cakes: Boy do we miss you guys!!! We hope you are having fun at Mawmaw's house and behaving yourselves!! Today when we were driving back to our hotel we passed by the Bird's Nest and Water Cube from the Olympics! They were so cool! We will show you pictures when we get home. Jonah....guess how many rooms were in the Forbidden City! 9,999!!!! That's a few more than we have at home, huh? Reagan, at the Jade Factory, we saw a bunch of little animals carved out of jade.....there were elephants, snakes, tigers, mice, even a monkey! You would have loved them! There were also some HUGE lions and dragons that were bigger than you! Tomorrow, you get to become a big sister! And Jonah, you get to be a big brother again! We can't wait for Rylie to meet you both! Love you guys so, so much! We hope to Skype again soon...sorry it wasn't working well tonight. At least we got to hear your voices! Hugs and smoochy kisses! XOXOXO


  1. Ahhhh you guys! It's beautiful! I'm so excited for you today. We will be praying for you and for the transition. I'll pass along the request for prayer to my friends at work today.

    Colossians 3:15 - May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!
    (even over all the excitement and jitters and emotions!)

  2. Catherine and I are following your blog with great interest! She remarked how much the palace in China looked like the palaces in Seoul. Can't wait to hear all about your big day. It will be sweet, sad, amazing, heartbreaking and yet wonderful. Just remember for all Rylie is losing, she is gaining what she needs the most, a loving FAMILY!

  3. Today is the day - praying for you all- can't wait to see pics.

  4. So much fun!! I can't wait to see you guys with Miss Rylie. I'm praying for you, all three of you!