no washi tape in Guangzhou

We began our day with an appointment at the United States Consulate. I was expecting something very official feeling, but it was actually quite simple. We were there with about 20 other families that were also adopting. As a group we recited a pledge on behalf of our children. It was the same pledge that immigrants make coming into America (or at least that is they way I understood the immigration officer). After the oath, each family came forward to sign some official documents. We got to see Little One’s passport for the first time – adorable.

I wish we could have taken some pictures, but it was not allowed. After the appointment, our guide helped us search for a washi tape manufacturer. She talked to them on the phone and evidently they don’t have a place for us to do any purchasing. Bummer. So, our guide dropped us off at a gifts & decoration marketplace.

The view from the middle of the building ~ a diy paint-by-number booth!

We really have enjoyed our time in China learning and soaking in the culture. We have tried to go to more ‘local’ places and many of those include markets. The malls/markets here are incredible. We went to one yesterday that we thought was 4 stories tall. Once we got inside, we realized it went below ground 2 stories and covered several city blocks below ground. And the whole place was just dedicated women’s clothes. We’ve seen a fur coat market. A scarf market. An undergarments market. An auto parts market. An electronics market. Seriously, everything you can imagine you can find here because it is all made here.

Except one thing – washi tape! We walked 7 floors of a crafts market and found a few types of decorative tape, but not washi tape. I guess it really must all be made in Japan…because you sure can’t find it in China!

Last week we were pretty slow to take her out among on the hustle and bustle, not knowing how she’d respond. Well, she really seems to enjoy it. She soaks in all the sights and nestles close to us as we explore.

Thankfully the boys have done so well eating nothing that is part of their normal day to day diet at home. We’re are going to miss all the little restaurants and the food here once we are back in Oklahoma. Thanks for the help yesterday on the name of that other restaurant!

After a lunch pick me up, we headed back to try one more time to find washi tape – this time we were at what looked like the office supply marketplace. No luck on the tape, but we found endless booths of papers and writing tools. If I could have packed an entire suitcase of office supplies, that would have made me very happy. What is it about office supplies that makes them so fun? “A bouquet of newly sharpened pencils“…anyone? anyone?

These are 2 of the booths…there were at least 100 more almost identical to these two in the same little marketplace area.

The boys found imitation legos at several places…that made them very happy. And is also the reason my suitcases didn’t have room for my office supplies.

Most leave China with pearls, jade and silk. I am  leaving with Paint-by-Numbers, pretty melamine chopsticks, hairclips, some cute tape (not washi), scarves, stickers, paint pallettes and a bunch of other little gifts. I miss the days when airlines let you take 2 bags. I am sure Chris is thankful we are limited on luggage and that I had the bright idea we should only bring small suitcases!

On a different note, I thought I would mention a couple of other things I picked up for Little One – in case anyone else is on a similar journey. On the day Little One was placed in our arms, we got a copy of the China Daily in english and the local Guangzhou newspaper. I thought she might like seeing them one day.

This was not my idea, but I can’t remember where I first read it. When we were in her birth town, Yangxi, I picked up some stationary from the hotel. Then today after our Consulate Appointment I wrote her a letter. We will mail the letter back to our house so it will have Chinese postage on it. I did copy the letter on a extra piece of paper from Yangxi, just in case the original gets lots in the mail. The letter is a combination of where she is from, where we met her and where her new home is. So much of a story in a little letter. It reminds me of our girl. So much to the beautiful story of our Little One.

I know this photo is blurry, but goodness what a treasure it is to me. Do you see her little arms lifted for me to pick her up? That is very new. I don’t know how much she was held the last 14 months, but she hasn’t seemed to know how to reach out her arms to be picked up. She’d cry like she wanted to be held, but she’d just sit crying – not reaching up for us. It could be she just wasn’t comfortable with us or it could be she just wasn’t held much. Either way, she is reaching out for us to hold her now. Melt my heart.

She is slowly starting to get okay with us touching her hands. We aren’t pushing it, but we are trying to help her trust us. She is still very content most of the time. She laughs, smiles and giggles, but she also feels very far off. It is obvious that she is not one to quickly let down walls and trust. She’s got a twinkle in her eyes though when she looks deep into ours. Each day we are making progress. Today she is trusting me enough to let my finger rest for a moment in her hand before she pulls it away. One day she’ll reach out to hold my hand. One day she will realize we are not going anywhere. She will learn that we are constant, that we answer her cries, that we are safe. She will learn what it feels like to be loved to the deepest core. One day she will understand that I am her mom…and she’ll understand what it means to have a mom. And one day this time of earning and working for her trust will be a distant, but beautiful memory.

“Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity.

Bittersweet is courageous, gusty, earthy.”

~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

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