Journey to Gia: Day 12-- Beginning of Goodbye

How's this for a soft top? 
We are huge fans of the show "The Amazing Race," that features teams of 2 people traveling around the world in a race, competing in a variety of challenges while desperately trying to avoid being last to arrive at a pit stop. I thought I'd expound more on that theme later, but I can't resist introducing today's post, our last from the city of Guangzhou, in the birth country of our daughters, China, in Amazing Race fashion. Just imagine as if Phil Keoghan was giving a trip summary (as of tonight) for us. (we still have a couple shuttle rides and 2 flights left!)

Miller family, over 13 days, 5 cities, 3 flights, 2 Train rides, multiple bus/van commutes, 4 separate Hotel stays, redemptive reunions, heartbreaking goodbyes, Medical exam, River Boat Cruise, US Consulate Appt, trip to the zoo, and so much more. I'm pleased to tell you, you are officially winners of the #journeytogia Amazing gRace. 

It really has been a blur, if I may use that idiom, because any other description would not illustrate our last 2 weeks adequately. I can tell you that as I have mentioned before, each of our 3 adoptions has changed my life in many unique and fulfilling ways. This cannot be overstated. Seriously, I cannot quantify the depth of emotions and love I have experienced this week. On top of meeting Gia Pearl ChunYu, we have been blessed to be able to spend time with, and get to know some other amazing families who are also adopting children. We still have very special memories and friendships with the families we met in 2004 & 2011(Romboletti, Doody, Freeman, Hsia, Betterton, Pegram, and more... I'll remember more when I'm 100%!) This trip we made even more lifelong amazing friends with some families that inspire us with their actions and words. I think I'll expound more on them later too, when I can devote some time and thought to it.

This post will merely be another attempt to share with you what things we experienced today, while continuing to let God graft us together as a family. If you stop to think about it, just the geographic aspect alone is mind boggling when you consider how we came to adopt Gia Pearl ChunYu. But if you factor in all the other details and challenges like logistics, finances, paperwork, and even the language barrier, it is just too much to comprehend, at least for us it is. There is no way we can do this on our own.

We started off the day as we have for the last 2 weeks, eating some of the most amazing breakfasts we have ever witnessed. I can say, without any regrets or shame, that I don't think I can muster up the strength to eat another strip of bacon. Seriously. Today, I continued my streak of mega-calorie laden breakfasts, because when you can have as many omelets and strips of bacon, waffles, pancakes, donuts, as you want, you go for it right? Well, that's what we did again this morning, followed by feeding the highest carbohydrate level koi fish on the globe. This hotel is legit y'all.

I'm seriously on bacon overload. The struggle is real y'all. 

Next was a trip to the Guangzhou Zoo. We had an opportunity to go on a much larger scale Safari adventure, but it was a 7+ hour activity, and we wanted to enjoy our last day and spend some time with our new friends. The zoo, albeit suffocatingly hot and humid, was awesome. All the kids enjoyed the animals and forgot about the heat, at least for a while as they watched Lemurs, Giraffes, Elephants, Lions, Lesser Pandas, Flamingos, Gibbons, and much much more. But holy frijoles it was hot!  I need to also say that the commute to and from the Zoo with the Flythes and the Goodsons was every bit as great as the zoo experience. We are so blessed to have been able to get to know them better. Thank you guys!

Zoo tour! 

Lesser Panda!


There is a panda in there I promise. 
When we got back from the zoo, we had a little down time, then ventured out for some lunch followed by a trip to the Aeon shopping center. Just think of it as a multi-floor Chinese Target. The cool part is that we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to use a "side street" instead of the main road to get to the store. It was a really surreal chance to experience a more authentic Chinese neighborhood. It still fascinates me how you can go one block from the busiest street and come across sidewalk fruit vendors, people napping on the side of the road, and a really cool "quiet" feel to the whole community. Amazing.

Awesome back street in Guangzhou

Haircut anyone? 

Retail therapy

More retail therapy

Are you seeing a pattern here? 

After a little retail therapy at Aeon, I tried a bubble tea, which was interesting but very good!

We then went back to the glorious hotel lobby, to get our paperwork and Gia Pearl ChunYu's Visa from Miko, one of our guides. We then saw off the Mounts family and the Flythe family as their chapter in Guangzhou was coming to a close. Again, what a blessing to meet these families. Pei Pei is from the same orphanage as Gia so seeing them say goodbye was a little sad, but we knew we would keep in touch. We savored every last minute with Tripp, Heather, Drew, Ella, Roman, and little Harper Flythe before they were off to the airport as well.

Some Mounts, Flythe, and Miller kids!

Saying goodbye... Roman kept turning around and saying "bye" *sniffle

After that, we wanted the girls to get some fun time in at the pool before dinner. Despite being dead tired, (Gracie uncharacteristically declined the pool invite initially) we went for one last swim in the luxurious Garden Hotel pool. Have I mentioned this hotel is legit? Bomb diggity. We savored every last splash, and then made our way back to our hotel room once more, to get ready for our last dinner in Guangzhou.

We chose to have dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant near our Hotel, because it was there where little Gemma first started coming out of her catatonic shell when we adopted her. So this overpriced Mexican eatery, in the middle of Guangzhou, China, has a special place in our hearts. We celebrated with strawberry smoothies for the Gs, the same drink that perked Gemma Lu up a few years ago.

Our last night in China... 

Smoothie bliss
After that we hit the Starbucks for one last stop, as I wanted to pick up a souvenir. From there it was back to the hotel as it was time to pack. I have another post started, but want more time to reflect, but I want to end by saying that although we are anxious to get home, we consider China, one of our homes. It is the birth country of our 3 daughters, and we have love and respect for the traditions and people. We have so many life changing memories in this country... so it is a bit difficult to say goodbye. OK, the 5 star Garden Hotel doesn't hurt matters either. Legit, people... legit.

The Garden Hotel Lobby. #legit 

By the next post, Gia Pearl ChunYu will become an official US Citizen when she steps on US Soil, and the next chapter will begin.

(Photos from today can be found in our Google+ album, here)


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