Yesterday we had a very leisurely day at the hotel. Joel's passport would not be ready until 3 and our flight was at 4:50. It was nice to get to lay around because Joel did not sleep well. He tossed and turned all night long. He and I took a nap together and then got up for a late lunch. Once done we headed to the Civil Affairs office. Joel's passport photo makes him look so big. It is pretty precious. It was easy to pick up and then the drive to the airport was uneventful.
playtime in the hotel
At the airport we encountered some problems with luggage. It seems that we might have packed a little too much. We had to pay for an extra bag and then off thru security. It was hard to tell our guide Ashley goodbye. He was such a joy and we truly enjoyed meeting him and learning from him. We decided to take a bathroom break before we loaded the plane. Yes, EVERYBODY took a bathroom break. Ethan first, then I changed Joel then me. (WARNING POSSIBLE TMI! SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU ARE AFRAID) I had my very first experience with their public restroom. I had been so good and had always previously prepared to not go while I was out since I was uncomfrotable with my ability to use the 'hole" in the ground. But, this time it didn't work out that way. My bladder who has suffered through the trauma of birthing 4 babies, 2 of which were pretty big, told me I had to go and I could not wait. So I did. It was clean but it was still a hole in the ground and NO toilet paper. It just happened that I had been a little weepy because Joel was leaving his Province forever so I just happened to have a tissue in hand. So that answered that question. I will spare the other details for the world wide web but if you wanna ask me in person I will give you a play by play account of the event. You just need to know that I was successful in my venture and didn't have to change my clothes due to any mishap or miss-aim.
Joel did great on the plane and we were even delayed on the tarmac for about 20 minutes. He ate almost the whole flight (approximately 1 hour). Our guide Jack met us in the airport and took us to our hotel, The Garden Hotel. It is huge and beautiful and close to a ton of different things. We were so excited to be here. It is more Westernized and tourist friendly. We checked in and crossed the street to pick up some more formula and look for somewhere to eat dinner. We would have never tried this on our own in Changsha but we would here. We found an Italian restaurant and was so excited to have something beside authentic Hunan food. We like Hunan food but it was wonderful to find something different. We also found people of different races there which is something else we didn't seen in Changsha. It seemed outside of the hotel in Changsha we were the only caucasians to be found in the city center but here we have the rainbow and that was a nice feeling.
By the time we reached the hotel we realized that we were exhausted but Joel was not. He fought sleep desperately. We do not know if it was grief driven or just that travel had his clock all messed up or both. It took us a while to get him to bed and even then he had a restless night. Joel woke up at 4:30 ready to go. Thankfully he was content to play in the floor while we let Ethan sleep a little more. At 6 we found ourselves eating a delish breakfast and meeting lots of new moms and dads with their sweet bundles of joy. Here in this hotel there is a gorgeous garden right outside this restaurant with a huge Koi pond. It was the most peaceful breakfast we have had since we have received Joel. The fish kept him mesmerized. I can't wait to get him out there and get some pictures.
After breakfast we had our morning Skype with the kids. They are doing well and enjoying some time with Bebe. It has taken Leila 5 days to realize that Joel doesn't have a paci and she was not excited. She even acted like she was gonna cry. We told her that she could give him one of hers and that did not go over well. We miss them desperately. We then had a special Skype session with some of the college students from church. Of course, by this time Joel was taking a little snooze. I was a little sad that they could not see him awake and in full action. It was so good to see some familiar faces and it just made us more anxious to get home and reunite with our family.
We met our guide downstairs with the other family that is from our agency. Today was the medical visit. It was fairly easy. We did see that Joel knows doctors and he is not a fan. The past surgeries have affected him in a negative way. He was fine until they got the stethoscope to listen to his heart. My heart sank when he immediately turned away from them and started crying. I tried to calm him but he wasn't happy. The physician had read about his heart condition and was trying to listen to his heart. He closed his eyes in concentration trying to hear over Joel's sad whimpers. Joel constantly tried to push the stethoscope away and I cried silently while whispering," No surgery today, No hospital, I love you." The physician took us to the other physician to get a second opinion and see if that one could hear better than him. This time the new and slightly younger one listened while the first and older one handed Joel his stethoscope to push away (ingenious, they have obviously done this a lot). They confirmed that they still hear a murmur like symptom in his heart and they wanted to know if this is what we expected. They also looked at his fingers and toes checking for the blueness and of course they found some. They aren't really blue but more gray foggy looking. I was glad when it was over and we could head back to the hotel.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing. We went for a walk. Joel and I took a nap while E went to go get a couple of things. We then tried to eat a late lunch at an Irish restaurant called Patty Fields. We made it 3/4 of the way before we remembered that Joel needed some medication and we were already 2 hours late so I headed back to the hotel to give him meds and E got the food for take out. It was delicious or either we are so starved for different cuisine but I would like to say it was the latter. Starbucks was our after dinner drink while we walked around and went for a visit in the garden in the hotel. We have now spent the rest of the evening letting Joel play.
He is doing a little better with Ethan and even let me take a shower and played with E without a whimper. Going to bed was so much easier tonight which I am thankful for. A few more randoms- Joel's breath has not smelled like roses even after I brushed his teeth. I haven't been able to figure it out until today. The formula. We bought the formula that the orphanage was using which he likes but I personally don't like the smell. While napping today E ran and picked up some Enfamil. We daringly tried to change him cold turkey and so far so good. He is a wonderful eater and we have slightly abused that. The past 2 days we have started dropping the local cuisine and since he eats off of our plates his has as well. His stomach would like for us to stop that nonsense and after what I smelled today I very well might comply with that request. He cracks me up in the tub. He makes the biggest mess and loves it.