After a bit of a CRAZY time at the Beijing airport,
(that's a whole other post)
somehow we made our flight to ZZ.
As we landed in Henan, I really had a heavy heart.
Tessa Joy's birth family is HERE.
Faces passed me by in the airport.
along the roads.
was that them?
Her birth momma was here.
And if you think this is a quaint little town ( totally thought it was going to be!)
well think again. THIS CITY IS HUGE!
this quaint little town of Zhengzhou is busting huge at 8.8million!!!!
So when we got on the bus at the airport we quickly got to know our 3 agency guides.
my gosh I love those ladies! They are amazing!
They handed each couple a bit of paperwork that took my heart by surprise.
It was all info about OUR CHILD!
The bus got very quiet.
We poured over each word.
What food they were eating.
What they liked.
How they slept.
I LOVED THIS!
We were getting our children the next day!
WE WERE SOOOOOO READY!
A little drive to our beautiful hotel
The Crown Plaza.
Again feeling very spoiled!
Geez! Look at him! You can't take us anywhere!
So cute of the hotel to recognize that we will be getting our little ones here!
Each family got a little gift
Again, the bath was glorious.
The hotel was very recently completely renovated. Everything was beautiful!
We got settled in and then headed out on a group trip to the local Walmart!
The Dragon Boat Festival was the following week, there were holiday specials everywhere.
These items seemed to not need any refrigeration. Hmmm.
pass on that.
heading up to the next floor. No worries about your shopping cart rolling back on you!
Look Mom! NO HANDS!
Magnetic cart wheels and ramp.
China is cool.
Grab a couple snacks along the way up.
You can't help yourself. Dare ya!
We grabbed chicken and seafood flavored crackers for Tessa. ahem.
LOVED all the veggies and fruit on the first floor.
Near the produce was some baked goods.
We grabbed a bag of rolls; along with the honey and peanut butter...we had lunch all set and saved big $. That's a little tip for ya :)
We checked out.
I'm not sure I slept that night.
Thinking of Tessa and how she must of had no idea what was about to happen.
He did. And yet the next morning..
I HAD TO WAKE HIM UP!
For the love!!!
We gathered in the lobby and we were all a mess!!!
Mommas trying to keep it together.
Babas trying to stay strong.
We are about to get on the bus and go get Tessa Joy!!
SO...... there's so much to say about "Gotcha Day"
I think you might want to take a few moments and read about it HERE if you haven't yet.
There is NOTHING LIKE IT.
She wanted nothing to do with any more pictures. This one was an official pic.
She didn't seem to care.
She's inches away from the play area.
After a sad bus ride for her.
some quiet time to play and get to know us.
We knew she loved baths, so she got freshened up and had some more quiet play time.
OH MY GOODNESS
She is real.
And my heart will never be the same.
That afternoon one parent had to go to a meeting with our agency guides to start paperwork.
Nate and Tessa stayed in the room while I went down to the meeting.
Then is was the babies' turn.
They weren't very excited about their craft project.
Yisha gently spoke to Tessa to explain to her what she needed to do; she fussed a bit but got over it quickly. Notice she's holding her pinwheel. Brilliant, inexpensive and lightweight toy. It came in very handy for quick distractions.
Lets talk again about food.
The hotel breakfast buffet is glorious.
Here's the dessert section! Which I think I only ate from once! All the other food was so good, there's no room for dessert!
So the next day (Tuesday)
We headed back to the same official building that we received our children.
Most of the kids outwardly did ok going back to this room, but I have a feeling inside they were confused yet again :(
Official stuff happened.
Official pictures taken.
And a beautiful speech given to all the families about how beautiful it was for all these children to have a forever family, a home, hope, a beautiful future.
Lets take a moment at FEEL with me what the weather was like the week we were there!!!
Then add smog.
Notice at 6am it was 66!
And Wed it was going to be 100!!
Back on the bus to head to the police station.
Up several flights of stairs.
Just be prepared.
We had some more paper to complete.
Some waiting/entertaining toddlers
and pictures with officials
ok..back to food...
Across the street from the hotel is the recommended Chinese restaurant.
We just called it the Turtle. I don't think they serve turtle there.
But they do serve this...
This is bamboo! Its served cold. It's SUPER YUMMY!!!
I'm so glad our friends introduced us to it.
I'll take some right now please.
ok...Wednesday is the day you travel to your child's birth town to apply for the passport. Thankfully we only has to travel blocks away, some families had day trips to take by bus or train.
We traveled with one other family with their two handsome little guys.
We had to get the kids pics taken. Us mommas got to hold them on our laps, loved that.
And that was our first experience of cutting in line. We must of known someone.
Then we walked across the street to apply for the passport.
This was a very big and open space FILLED with rows of chairs, all locals waiting for their number to show up on the screen for their turn.
We again must have known someone.
We walked right behind Yisha, and walked right up to the officer.
Once we applied, we had to wait for a few minutes.
The kids had fun singing songs together
Ok...back to food again...
The hotel has an Italian Restaurant upstairs.
It was VERY good! This was the caprese salad I ordered.
The kids were given a book and toy to play with while we waited for our food, that was very thoughtful of them.
Take note that this wasn't like getting a Chick-Fil-A kids meal.
You will be asked in mandarin to give the book and toy back when you try to leave with them.
We had a free day since we took care of the official business on Wednesday.
We took a optional trip to the ZZ aquarium
We went with a couple other families and split the cost of a van.
The driver graciously helped us purchase our tickets and we found out at this time that the power was currently out and we had to wait outside until they could open back up.
Take a look again at the temps.
Now dripping in sweat. Makes for lovely aquarium pictures.
It was pretty dark in there, even with the power on. So the pics aren't that great.
Notice what this lady is doing. She is BOTTLE FEEDING FISH!
This was a first. I've never seen this before.
For a couple $ you can purchase fish food in a baby bottle and lean down to feed them!
They suck on the bottle!!
Tessa LOVED it! I'm so glad we took her here, fun little adventure.
The traffic was pretty awful driving home. Back of the van was HOT.
The hotel has an indoor pool area. This included a couple table tennis tables as well as a sauna pool.
Opps. We thought it was a kiddy pool.
It was quite warm, but she was happy.
I've seen people shy away from swimming during their trips in fear of "catching something".
We had some of our best family times with Tessa while swimming.
No health issues came of it in any of the hotels.
Signs say to wear swim caps. We brought our own and purchased Tessa a cap at the Walmart for less than $2. The whole time we were in the "kiddy pool", no one said anything about her not wearing her cap. In the big lap pool, it seemed to be required.
Another thing we really enjoyed for entertainment in ZZ is the city park just a 5 min walk away.
These ladies were getting their exercise right inside the front entrance.
They played a song that I recognized right away. It's the song our agency uses when they have you on hold or during a transfer. Of all the songs!! It was beautiful. There is music being performed live all around the park as well. Retirees clearly enjoy spending their time together here. It was beautiful! And Tessa loved it too!
In the far back, right side of the park, you will find a mini-carnival area.
Tessa spotted it first! She was making it clear that she wanted to go there!
There's no gate entrance, it's just part of the park.
You can pay a couple $ per ride right at the ride.
This one was pretty simple. Hold out a net and try to catch the balls that are being blown up in the air as you ride around a small track.
Then Nate wanted to take her on a ride.
It went well.
She kept pointing back to it all as we left.
Hopefully in spite of her fun ride with dad, she had a good time.
The wildlife in the middle of the city was beautiful
We often tried to eat lunch in our room as much as we could.
A few reasons:
It was JUST US THREE.
It was QUIET.
It was much less $$.
IT WAS HOT OUTSIDE.
I've read that it's good to have your little ones FEED YOU. It helps build the bond.
SO even if the french fry has been dipped and ketchup licked off already...it's ok...let her feed you.
SHE LOVES TOMATOS & KETCHUP!
We often ordered from room service as well (got a % off deal)
The Hawaiian pizza was SOOO GOOD!
The club sandwich with fries was a hit as well as a cup of fresh fruit.
By day four we felt like we could call room service "Hey it's us again...yes, we'll take the usual"
This might be my favorite picture of her.
I see the JOY in her eyes.
Pure joy. All is well.
She loved to sit at the table by the window and "have tea".
Juice Fruits work well as tea.
She played and played
Outfit put together by Tessa Joy herself.
I found these haram style polka dot pants (I know...shocker...polks dots) at the Walmart.
It's the team colors of the team up north. SO they are not a fav of Nate's.
But they are so cute!! SO yes, they have 'some' cute clothing and pj's at the Walmart.
The top she's sporting is actually a skirt from an outfit I purchased for her at the mall behind the Walmart. DONT MISS THIS PLACE (for those who like to shop)
There is a GIANT mall in the buildings behind Walmart. as well as the Burger King.
The whole 2nd floor are children's stores!!!
I love the style of clothing I found there. Trendy. NOT traditional. So don't go looking for silks there. There are also little kids mall rides that dads can take advantage of while momma shops a bit
At the very end of the mall there is a 2 story ropes indoor ropes course.
Our big kids would of loved this!!!
We walked over to the Walmart area a few times while we were in ZZ. It's quite the busy place over there. We did enjoy the Burger King once, Tessa wasn't a fan though. Good girl!
You have the option when you leave ZZ to leave behind any items you would like to donate to the local orphanages. Medicines, good condition toys or children's clothing. We lightened our luggage.
We hated saying goodbye to Tessa's birth city. We hated saying goodbye to our agency guides.
But we were ready to experience Southern China...
Tessa loved to try to carry her lion backpack...
It was quite the experience...AGAIN... flying in country. We didn't get seats together. That's right...all 3 of us got seats all over the plane.
It happened to all our families. and we all found the humor in it.
On the tram out to the plane there was trading of seats going on like I've never seen.
"anyone in row 28? anyone want 35C?? Anyone? Who wants to sit with my kids?
Who wants to sit near my husband??" We all were laughing and rolled with it.
I sat with Tessa near the back of the plane. Nate sat along near the front.
The local gentleman that sat on either side of us were SO KIND.
It 'could' have been an awful experience.
It was about as nice as it could have been considering...