from Hong Kong to Guangzhou

Taxi – check.
Ferry – check.
Train – check.
Miles walking – check.

Today (Sunday) was full of more exploring. Chris and our 6 year old woke up early and went out for breakfast. Back at the hotel room I taught our oldest how all you really need for an decent breakfast is hot water. Instant coffee from our Asian market back home (brought it just in case I couldn’t find it quickly here) and instant oatmeal – works for camping and hotels in new cities. We were both happy. Add hot water and stir.

In case you ever wondered, “Drug Driving may be your journey to death”.

We took a ferry to Kowloon for a couple of hours.

I prefer to avoid all touristy places (the Ocean Park yesterday was Chris’ idea). We headed to the back street markets. I wish had better pictures from this street, I’ll get more in Guangzhou. The boys were wide eyed and excited at all the new sights, smells and sounds. I so want them to grow to have respect and appreciation for different cultures and different ways of life. We are looking forward to more local markets in the next two weeks.

After another ferry ride and taxi ride, we boarded a train to Guangzhou. We will meet our Little One in Guangzhou tomorrow. She is not from Guangzhou, that is just where the official adoption stuff takes place.

2 hours of sitting still on a train watching the diverse countryside of China speed by us…thinking about all that will happen in a few short hours. I love that Chris captured this moment. I was listening to the same playlist that I ran to earlier this year for those 5ks. Felt so different listening to the same songs knowing I was on my way to the city where I’d meet my daughter.

Guangzhou China from our hotel room.

We didn’t waste much time before we headed out on foot to find an area away from all the hotels and big shops. I needed to buy some formula, rice cereal and diapers…and wanted good prices. We winded down streets and found another local market full of small family owned restaurants. Dinner was delicious. We will be headed back a few more times while we are here.

My oldest asked me to figure out how to make the rice dish when we get home, he was surprised how much he liked it. For those concerned travelers, don’t worry we’ve been to China before (and other countries) we know what to watch out for when eating locally.

So that was our Sunday. Tomorrow we will wake up, go run around as a distraction in the morning. While we are running around, our Little One will leave her orphanage 3 hours away and begin her journey here to meet us. And then in the afternoon she will be placed in our anxiously awaiting arms! Thinking I better take something to help me sleep tonight….

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  • Sophie - Best of luck to all of you for tomorrow – you’ll all be in my thoughts. Hope all goes smoothly and have a WONDERFUL day!

  • Anna - I have butterflies in my stomach for you all! Tomorrow will be an amazing day. It’s finally here!

  • bopha - I am so, so glad that you are continuing to post so that we can stay updated on your journey. What a wonderful experience you guys are having and getting to share with the boys. I’m anxiously awaiting hearing about when you finally get her and seeing you all once you get home, love you guys!

  • Julie - Thank you for sharing this journey with us. I’m so excited for you and your family.

  • NanaDoll - I am praying and so very excited for you all! God bless you all in this awesome adventure!

  • Ashley E - I have never been so excited for someone I’ve never met! Crying tears of joy for you today and praying the transition goes well for you all.

  • beth - oh how you build the excitement for your readers…..GAAH !!!! i can hardly wait to see the next post….your blog has been like reading a book i can’t put down !!

    and the memories your photos brought to me….the ferry to kowloon for example…..oh we did that so many times when we were there….

    okay…back to waiting…..

    and your boys…..i can only imagine how excited they are. it’s all just so wonderful !!

  • beth - oops….my blog address is wrong πŸ™
    lets try that again…..

  • Karen F. - Awesome! So great to see you in Guangzhou!

    Seeing those water bottles on the train instantly transports me back to China. Funny how little things jog my memory!

    You’re so close! You’re little one is so close!

    Praying God’s blessings on you as you wait these final hours!!!

  • Honeybee Mama - oh i’m so emotional anticipating the moment you get to hold your sweet baby girl in your arms! sending love to you guys!

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - I cannot wait to see your face when you are holding your little girl. How exciting!

  • Jenni - Oh my stars – that picture of you on the train. If anyone knew the butterflies I have in my stomach from all of this I would be committed. CAN NOT WAIT for you to have your moment. Even if there aren’t pictures. Just to know that you had it!!

  • Marsha in OK - Praying you through these next hours (and days), and Little One, too!

  • darcy - can’t wait to log on tomorrow morning! thinking of you and your family!! what an exciting time!

  • Amy L - Tears in my eyes!!! So excited for you all. Thank you for taking the time to keep us updated. Been thinking about you and praying for you.

  • Paige Y - Im so happy to see your updates. Just a little while longer. Bless you!

  • Suzanne - Tears. That’s all I have. Tears. So excited for your family and your little one. So surprised at how touched I was seeing the sights of the country I lived in one time during college. So privileged to read your blog and pray for your family. Sleep well tonight!!

  • Gayle - Praying for a grace- filled day for you and your little one tomorrow. She doesn’t know it yet but she has a wonderful family waiting to meet her. Abundant blessings!

  • angela - I can’t wait to see you and your daughter together! I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I love your family, and think that what you’re doing is amazing. Can’t wait to see you all together!

  • Liane - I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now! I am so looking forward to hearing the story of you meeting your daughter.

    I have been thinking of you and will continue to do so! x

  • JoAnn - Your dreams are all coming true!

  • Sarah - Thinking of you all. Thank you for graciously letting us see glimpses of your experience. May tomorrow be a day of all joy — for all of you.

  • Jamie - Loving the weekend posts and updates!!! Your trip looks amazing. I think it’s awesome the oldest 2 are with you! Tomorrow is going to be AMAZING! Congrats.

  • Lindsay - This post makes me so happy – the thought that you are in China ready to meet your Little One is so heart warming to me. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us!

  • amanda Scott - Can’t. Wait. For. Tomorrow.

  • Lisa - Oh Ashely- I have goosebumps! So excited for you. It’s finally time to get your girl!

    Ps- I’d love to know what foods you are avoiding as I am not an experienced traveler and hope to make your journey one day too.

  • Erica - As I’m reading this, it’s approximately 2am in China (1pm Sunday in Tulsa). Know that my prayers are with you as your life will be dramatically different in the next 12 hours or so! I cannot wait to hear that she is in your arms!

  • Angela - Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! Thank you for posting. So jealous of that jiaozi. But more than that, I’m so excited for tomorrow.

  • Natalie - I agree….simply cannot wait for the final pages of this chapter!!

  • Ryan - Bai Jiu will help you sleep!

  • Stefanie - You are soooo close! And I am loving your pictures, Ashley… amazing!
    Cannot wait ’til you are finally holding your little one in your arms, will say a prayer for you tonight that all goes smoothly and that He supplies your every need during this time!

  • kimber - I can’t really explain my heart right now… Part of me is burning to go back. I’ve been three times, and have been to Guangzhou. I miss the street markets, the smells and the delicious foods. Part of me is so envious {even though envy is wrong on every level} that you are going to bring home a little treasure to be your daughter. I’ve wanted to adopt for more than a decade and I oftentimes wonder why God would put that so strongly on my heart… My husband has never been amenable to the idea thinking we were too old. We are now 49 and 57, so it’s just not in the cards. But the thought of it does make my heart ache with longing. Instead I count my blessings and marvel at the thought that God allowed me to be a parent at all. I’m so excited for you and your family and most excited for your precious daughter. What a blessing to grow up in a home where people have moved heaven and earth to bring you into a loving family. Praying for a sweet transition for you!

  • Alisa - I am in a heap. Thanks for letting us take this journey with you.

  • Jen - Oh my!! Tears of joy!! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!! Praying for all of you!!!!!

  • Paola - Oh Ashley, I am so excited that you will finally be able to meet your little princess and that soon so will we!!! You are such an inspirational human being. Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with us.

  • Cindy - So amazing to see you in CHINA… Love the post, love the pictures, love you guys! This is your last night away form your sweet girl… Praise the Lord! Praying for tomorrow…

  • Jenny B. - Love that you’ve been able to blog some while there! I’m thinking it should be around 2 AM there right now… Praying for a great day tomorrow! Can’t wait to see Little One. πŸ™‚

  • Shara - Isn’t there such a fine line between excitement and anxiousness. As I read about your youngest leaving to drive 3 hours to meet her family, I couldn’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach. Just imagining all that you will experience over the next several days/weeks/months. Excited for you and anxious for your Song. Excited for the forever family she receives and anxious for all the changes she’ll experience. Being able to pray for ALL of you, what a gift. Blessings!

  • MG Atwood - What a wonderful journey. Love all the photos! We had a whirlwind trip through Hong Kong. I loved it, and am enjoying your views. So excited for you to meet your daughter! such a happy time.

  • Kelley - So very excited for you and your family! Praying for your Little One as you requested! Cannot wait to finally see her face and know her name!
    After so many long months of waiting… TOMORROW is the day! Yay!!

  • Robyn Farmer - I can hardly stand it! I cannot wait for your family to be together at last. Praying!

  • Lanny Lou - well usually I don’t want Mondays to come but in this case … Hurry it up LORD πŸ™‚

  • Susan - Today is the day that the Lord has made …. be happy and rejoice in it!

    I’m so full of Joy for all of you, and can’t thank you enough for sharing this experience with all of us. For you to take the time to write a post and your beautiful photos, I feel like I’m right there with you. Thank you!!!!

    My prayers, thoughts, tears and thankful heart are right there with you. Enjoy the day that the Lord has made πŸ™‚

  • Emily B - It’s amazing to me that I don’t know you, but I am compelled to check in on your adoption journey. I am celebrating the profound connection that God has given your family to this little girl, around the world, but in your hearts. The waiting and trusting in the Lord you’ve had to do before you ever hold her in your arms takes my breath away. God is God!

  • amber - Praying for your sweet girl…

  • Alisa Muir - I am so very excited for you all. I cannot wait to hear she is in your arms for good.

  • Rachael - i live in new zealand. i have been following your blog for nearly three years. its the first thing i click on in the morning. at the moment i literally feel like i am holding my breath x thinking and praying for you x

  • Alba - Best wishes for you all. Looking forward “meeting” your little song.

  • Cathy S - Oh I remember those anxious/excited moments of the waiting for the exact minute to see your daughter. Can’t wait to see you finally holding Song in your arms.

  • Shawna - Reading your post has brought back tremendous emotions as our daughter was placed into my arms June 13, 2011. What a day. It’s crazy how you can have such extreme emotions. On the one hand joy, for the LONG awaited blessing that has come into your life and then sorrow, knowing that this treasure you love so dearly has experienced such pain and loss and you can never take that away.

    We had the privilege of staying in Guangzhou for most of our trip, as our daughter is also from the Guangzhou province. I’m anxious to see your upcoming post and pictures as a piece of my heart was left in Guangzhou.

    Take it all in as you continue your journey to your precious one.

  • Lori - As I’m reading this it is almost morning in China. Hoping you all slept well and praying for the day ahead…mostly for your Little One. Praying our Heavenly Father will hold her tight, fill her heart with peace and love for her Forever Family.

  • Kathryn - So wonderful! I’ve checked the time difference, only 2 hours between Guangzho and Canberra Australia:) so its easy to track you in my prayers as you prepare to meet Little one this afternoon. It feels like waiting for news of the birth of a friends baby. Thanks for allowing us to be a small part of your “birth” story. Its been a long gestation. xx

  • Elke - I’ve been following your journey and just thinking of where you’ll be tomorrow makes my all teary. Will be thinking of you and praying for you, all the way from South Africa…

  • Katrina - Hi Ashley, I live in Australia and I have been following your adoption journey as well. I usually read your new daily post just before I’m going to bed. All the best in the next few hours as the excitement builds and you get to finally add that missing piece to your family puzzle, if that makes sense. Sweet blessings.

  • Stephanie Santiago - Ashley, I’ve been following your blog for 2 years now and never posted a comment! LOL But I know tomorrow will be the day you have longed for! Congrats on becoming a new mommy again! Im excited just thinking about how happy you will be and knowing that a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders when your little one is put in your arms finally! Enjoy the moment!

  • Kelly - I just entered china into my world clock on my iPhone and it says it is 7:16 am there right now! Your day and your sweet little girls’ day have begun! I will pray for peace and Gods timing over these next several hours as I’m sure the morning hours will drag by for you and the journey will seem long for Song. Kelly

  • Katrina - Hi Ashley, it’s my second comment but I can’t help but keep checking in on your blog to see if there is anything new posted. I’m here watching ???? from Australia and its exciting for me being on almost the same time zone as you for a change instead of complete opposite. It is 8.50am on Monday morning here. It’s been terribly cold the past week here, but today just for you the sun is shining brightly!

  • lesley - I am so thankful you’re posting all these pictures! I wish I were there to see it all in person and that food looks amazing! We’ve been thinking about and praying for you guys all day every day.

    It’s like 7:30 your time and I can only imagine how your day has begun. Not much longer and you get to see, hug and kiss your youngest!!! AHHHHHH. I can’t take it.

    We love you guys!!

  • Luciana - I came back to see if you had updated a bit today. I’m following along in real time. I’m in Suzhou.
    THIS IS THE BIG DAY! I’m so excited for you. Saying a little prayer for calm hearts, serenity, healthy attachment. I pray your little one knows in her heart that this is her family and that she won’t have too much grief.
    I hope you’re all having a great time “running around”. Looking fwd to gotcha day pix.


  • Dawn - I’m so excited that in a few hours you will meet your Little One! You have handled the wait with such grace and patience – thank for sharing with us. She will love to read all about her story one day. Good luck tomorrow!

  • twirlingbetty - Oh my gosh…I can’t believe this part of your family’s journey finally culminates tomorrow…and then you’ll start a whole new one with a Song in your heart! I will be stocking up on tissues today for when I read your next post. Sending so much love.

  • Megs - So thrilled and excited for you, thanks for the update!

  • Olivia - I am SO excited for you Ashley! Reading your blog is a daily treat for me. I participated in your first snapshop course and was thrilled when you shared that the funds would be going towards your adoption. I have loved reading about your journey and can hardly wait for you to hold your baby girl tomorrow! My daughter is asleep in her crib now, she is my first so the emotions of holding your child in your arms is very real to me. I praise God for the journey that he has taken you on up to this point and pray his blessings upon the journey that is about to begin!

  • Leanne - Ashley,

    Thank you so much for updating your blog in this amazingly special time for you. Thank you for letting us live vicariously through you. Enjoy these moments. xo

  • Rebecca Kurber - I don’t think I”ve ever officially commented on your blog before but I’ve been following it since this summer sometime and I just wanted to say that I’m so excited for you! I seriously get so excited to check my blog roll and see if you’ve made a new post about your little one. We are hoping to start our own adoption process soon and your journey is just so uplifting to me — thanks so much for sharing your heart and your journey — can’t wait to read your next post!

  • Anna@agoodhome - Crying while I read this! I’m so excited for you to get to meet your sweet, sweet girl!!! (actually, considering the time difference, you’ll probably be meeting her very, very soon.) The Lord bless you and keep you…

  • BeckyH in MA - Ashley – I just looked up the time difference. Guangzhou is 12 hours ahead of E.S.T.

    So while we are sleeping tonight, Little One will be placed in your arms for the first time!! πŸ™‚

    I hope you have time to update us with all the excitement and awesomeness. If not, we all completely understand.

    Many, many hugs sweetie.
    You’re a MOM again!! πŸ™‚

  • Kassie - My heart is bursting for you and your family!!!! Xoxoxo to all the campbells and everyone who helped you make it to this moment!

  • Kimberly Troth - It’s 9:51pm here in Ohio, I’m not sure of the time difference but I really hope you are close if not already holding your little one in your arms! Praying everyday for you & your family. Praying little one takes to you just like all of your followers on this blog do. We care about you all so much. I’m smiling with tears in my eyes, can’t believe your wait is almost over!!!

  • Holly - Praying for a day full of great joy!

  • Heather - I am tearing up for you…you should be close right now to getting her. We have adopted twice…china and Taiwan…with our most recent this year. It is beyond amazing and the greatest blessing. Congrats….cannot wait to see more pics.

  • Katherine Marie - Soooo overwhelmed and thrilled and excited you ALL!!!! Sending a million billion hugs and prayers from Indiana. Xoxoxoxxo!!!

  • Jennifer - Ha! That is the same view from the hotel that we had, two months ago! Such a nice hotel! Enjoy your special time there!!! Found your blog when you did the incubator project. Blessings to you and yours!

  • Robyn - Ashley… when you started this journey to adoption on your blog a long time ago, at first your blog made a bit of a transition from crafts and photography and your awesome DIY projects… I wasn’t really thrilled, I dont’ like change and I really missed the old and wasn’t all that interested in your “personal life”… Now… I can NOT wait to read what happens next, I get butterflies in my stomach as I read your steps along the way in this journey and look forward to your posts about the updates. I am so excited that tomorrow is your big day you get to meet your daughter. I love your candidness and raw openness about this experience. I haven’t adopted, and probably never will. But I am a social worker and have facilitated adoptions and fostered children many times. Thank you for sharing your story here! Even if, at first, I was adverse to change!!! Looking forward to reading the rest of your journey here!

  • Kathie - It is 8:30pm on Sunday nite in Colorado as I write this and I get chills thinking you are just a few short hours away from finally holding your sweet Little One in your arms…I remember all too well how those last few hours seemed an eternity! Holding you up in prayers during these final hours of waiting! Don’t know how I will sleep tonight with the anticipation of your next post! lol! Hugs from Colorado!

  • Chris - So glad to be following your journey to your daughter. We adopted our daughter from China in 2006. So excited for all the joy that’s coming your way:)

  • Nicole C - Oh that photo of you speaks on so many levels, so many thoughts. It got me choked up. I know we’ve never met but your journey has captured my heart. So happy for you and your family to sing to your Song tomorrow. Love and hugs from las Vegas..

  • Fliss - Love coming along on your journey… I am seeing little things I never got the chance to see before… I was TO BUSY with Shauna… lol… but now seeing all your photos… I am ready to go back… look forward to catching up again… hugs

  • Jessica H - So excited for you all! Praying you have a wonderful, memorable day πŸ™‚ Everything will seem so right and perfect as soon as she is in your loving arms!

  • casey - It’s late morning right now in Guangzho and I’m lifting you up fervently.

    Lord be near. You are God. You are Good. I praise YOU for who You are and how you continue to knit this family together. They are truly a testament of your graciousness and unfailing love.

  • Leslie - Praying for you Ashley.

  • shadi - I have been reading your blog for over a year now…tonight, I am very anxious…I am a mother of 2 little boys and admire your courage…I hope your little daughter feels the warmth of your love and feel at home in your arms.

  • Sara - I have read your blog for awhile now and never commented. I am so inspired and moved by your adoption story. Waiting in excited expectation for getting to see pictures of your little one and hearing the story of your first meeting is the same feeling as waiting for a friend to go into labor and knowing the wait is finally over. Congrats doesn’t even begin to cover it!

  • merideth a - oh my goodness. oh my goodness. tomorrow!!!

  • Aimie Mattinson - I just found your blog and loved your gratitude journal. I clicked on the 2012 version ****You can find the 2012 version, by clicking here**** and it didnt work. If you have it handy would you mind sending it to me. I would love to put this together for 12 girls if you have it available.

  • Paige Rodriguez - Laying down to go to sleep tonight, and you popped into my mind … Knowing what tomorrow brings for your beautiful family. Oh the excitement! Soooo many of us following along, praying for this next part of your journey. Can’t wait to read more, you are OFFICIALLY a family of 7!!! 5 kids!!! Oh my word!! :))))

  • Amy D - So excited for your family!!! What a privilege to get to “witness” it on your blog! Thanks, Ashley! Praying for your first day together!

  • Liberty - SO excited for you!! Your wait is about to be finally over. Praying blessings for you and your family tonight. May the Lord bless you, may He shine His face upon you, and may He bring you and your little one peace.

    I love seeing your travel pictures and hear your travel pics…we hope to be in your shoes this time next year…


  • Nicole - aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited for you! Thanks for sharing your journey!

  • Robin L - Oh my goodness…your journey is almost complete! I will be praying for you tonight and thinking about you tomorrow. Thank you for sharing this journey, with all of its bittersweet and heartwarming moments. It means so much to me to be a “fly on the wall” at this incredible moment in your family’s life. Wishing you the best for a moment you have dreamed about for so long.

  • Mrs. Saukas - So happy and praying for you and your family πŸ™‚

  • Lori Danelle - I don’t know how you’re doing this!! My stomach is in knots for you just reading this. Thanks for taking us on this journey.

    Praying for you right this moment as I think there’s a very good chance your with your daughter right now as I’m writing this! Can’t wait to see pictures of her IN YOUR ARMS!!!!!

  • Lisa - My sister-in-law passed your blog on to me and I am enjoying reading it! My family and I have been living in China for a year and we all study Chinese. We are in the process of adopting an 11 year old girl, so we rejoice with you that you will meet yours today! A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul! (Prov.13:19) Congratulations!

  • Jennie - So exciting! Thank you for sharing your journey! I’m holding my breath and praying for you and your family!

  • linda - thank you for sharing.

  • Alisa Muir - I have checked back to thist post several times today.. I always stop at that picture of you looking out the window with your playlist on. I actually feel anxious, nervous, excited as i look at that picture. I can almost imagine how i would feel. I hope your sweet song is in your arms… and you are feeling complete (or as complete as you can til you are home with your other two babies as well.) Much love to you all. From Alisa in New Zealand.

  • Alisa Muir - and randomly… When listing things in my gratitude book today. One was that you and Chris will be with little Song today. I have been so touched by your story. And your blog in general for a long time.

  • giozi - Pictures are really beauties. Ohh you must to go to Peru. Food there is really good too πŸ˜‰

    Love these water bottle.

  • Carmen - so close!!!

  • Sharon Halter - Today is the day…my thoughts and prayers for God’s continued guidance and favor will roll through the day.

  • Lindsey - My heart is racing in anticipation right now! I know you are or probably already have met your little one. Ahhh!!!! So excited and I know thousands of
    Prayers are covering you now.Can’t wait to see her in your arms!

    P.S. it’s 6:40am and those pictures have me drooling for some fresh Chinese!!

  • Erin - The first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning was what time it is in China. How by now oyu have surely met your little one. It make me so happy for you and her.

  • Amy - You must be staying at the same hotel we stayed at. I recognize the cafe you are eating at…my favorite place to eat in all of GZ! I would go back to China just to eat there! We probably ate there 4 or 5 times while we were there. Also good, a place around the corner to the left called “Double Happiness”.

  • Stacy - I have been reading your story for months, I don’t know you but I feel connected. I have cried with you and felt your anxeity and joy, today I was overcome with happiness for you. I cried for you and your family, congrats. If WV and OK weren’t so far away I think we could be friends.