Our Journey to China - Days 7-12

If you missed the first post on days 1-6, click here to read it. 

April 1st - Day 7

On Saturday, April 1st, we had another fun filled day with great weather.  Still you will see most people in winter coats while Cooper is walking around in a t-shirt and shorts.  The babies are literally in like a ski bunting clothes, I don’t know how they even breathe in them. I think the high was in the 70's with the sun out.

We had some time to play in the room before getting out.

I mean, I can't even handle the cuteness!!!!

We visited the City Wall. Basically a mini version of the Great Wall.  I already shared several of these pics on Facebook so here are the highlights.

See Tyler and Cooper at the top :)

We got a lot of steps in this day.  Around 15,000 or so. :) We met a family from L.A on this day.  First family we have met from the U.S since being in Xi'an.  Its so nice to be able to talk to somebody in English with no language barrier.  Its the little things, right?  

Willow enjoyed being in her carrier today. On prior days she did not like it but I’m glad she let me carry her this way. Its great for bonding and sometimes easier than a stroller.  She took an early nap in it and then was ready to get out and play.

We visited a park close by where Willow and Cooper could really move around and we didn't have to worry about the crazy traffic around us.  If you have been to China before, you know what I'm talking about.

Since I mentioned the traffic here, let me explain a little bit more. Aside from the crazy drivers, several people are also on bikes or scooters and nobody wears a helmet.  There are no crosswalks in the areas we have been either.  Its basically like human frogger whereever you go.  You have to always be on guard.  I tried to video us walking across the street one time but I was scared for my life. lol. 

We got back to the hotel around lunch time and were starving. We tried so hard to find a Pizza Hut.  I’m not even sure why, the reviews said it wasn’t very good but we were desperate for something different. LOL. After a full hour of walking, we were back at our hotel with empty stomachs. We bought some fruit, pineapple and apples and went back to the room and just ate some of that with snacks we had.  Oh well.  

After Willows nap, we went downstairs for our hotels dinner buffet.  They only have dinner buffet on the weekends so we took advantage of it.  We were pumped and hoping for some different options.  Tyler had king crab and sushi.  I didn’t care for the food options but I was excited about the dessert options. Sweets is something I’ve had way less of on this trip which is probably why I have actually lost some weight. LoL.  Also because we have never really gotten full on any of our meals, we just eat what we need and not any extra if that makes sense.  Here was my dessert plate.

There was a little play area by our table that Cooper and Willow were playing at when she fell and bumped her head on a toy.  She came running to me for comfort which made me so happy.  Not happy that she was hurt of course, but happy that she wanted one of us to comfort her.  I held her close and then went in to the playroom with her. As I was watched her laughing while they were playing,  my eyes filled with tears.  My love for her grew in that very moment.  I can’t really explain it other than God is so Good.  The way he is growing our love for each other and just thinking to myself, Willow is no longer an orphan. She is ours forever.  Forever! 

We spent the rest of the evening playing in our hotel room that for now is our little comfort zone.  Willow had a grand ole time in the bath before bed.  She loves to splash and pour water on her head.  She thinks its hilarious.  Games we play in our hotel room are hitting around these little beach balls, playing with magnetic toys, the stackable cups, looking at books, occassionally finding a show on tv we like.  Its either CNN or HBO. HA!  Every now and then there is a good cartoon or Disney movie on in English.  

April 2nd - Day 8

We had our usual breakfast in the buffet at our hotel and then spent some time in our room just playing while Cooper worked on some homework.

Miss Willow checking out herself in the mirror.

And lots of tickling.  At first she didn't like to be tickled but she is starting to really like it now.  I love her shirt as well from my sweet friend Meagan.  Its a little blurry because she was moving so quickly.

We ventured out to check out some outlet stores and found Cooper some new balance tennis shoes. We skipped lunch again and just had snacks in our room because there really was no options around us besides stuff we had already eaten so many times. After willows nap we began planning where we would take a taxi to for dinner. Our first couple options were not working and right before heading to KFC, I found the review of a little place that had mainly Italian food and the reviews were all awesome.  All 7 of them, lol.  So we made it there by taxi and went to the 3rd floor of a big building to find the most quaint and charming little place.

As soon as we sat down they were ready to take our drink and food order and they did not speak any English.  So we quickly ordered Cola’s and orange juice (not sure why) because you don’t drink the water in China. We decided on cheese pizza, spaghetti and carbonara.  We thought those were safe choices and boy did we make a good choice! Wow! The food wasn’t just good, it was outstanding.  Like even if this restaurant was in McKinney, Texas and we all know there are great restaurants there, we would go back to this place.  All the waitresses were so polite and we have never been so excited and happy about our meal.  This was the first time on the trip we actually ate and got full.  I think I ate past the point of full, it was just so good!  This meal made for one of the most memorable moments on our trip. I can't tell you how excited and giddy we were to find this place.  Here are some pics from Dinner.  Probably some of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.

Now, the taxi ride home was another story. What should of been only 10-15 mins back to our hotel turned into almost an hour. Our driver took us to the wrong hotel and then couldn’t figure out where our hotel was. Not to mention he drove like a nascar driver.  Much crazier than our first taxi driver.  He didn’t speak English and my translate app didn’t work without wifi so I was definitely starting to get nervous and thinking all those crazy "what if" scenarios in my head.  When we finally arrived to the hotel, I had never been more relieved.  Whew! 

We made it through another day and despite how this day ended in the crazy taxi, the meal we had made it one of our most favorite days so far. 

 April 3rd - Day 9

It’s the tomb sweeping holiday here in China so everyone is off work and its busy. We decided to skip our big breakfast buffet usual and have an early lunch about 11.

Good Morning from my 2 loves.  I adore how Willow is looking up at Cooper. Watching their relationship grow is just so precious.

Doing a little coloring.  When she colors, she changes positions every few seconds.  I guess she has to get just the right angle. :)

And she loves her some patty cake.  She learned all the motions really quick. See how she is starting the "roll it" part a little early. She is so smart. 

This video won't work but I love the still image it captured. 

We wanted to try this other western style restaurant with awesome reviews but it was still closed for the holiday when we arrived so our taxi took us to the other Italian restaurant we were at the night before.  We figured, why not? We loved it so much. The waitresses were happy to see us again too. 

This time they brought us out this assortment of breads with some super tasty dipping sauce.  We ate that so fast, one of the waitresses came over with her itranslate app and it said something like, You like this place and you ate all the bread.
Hahahaha! Yes we are Americans and eat a lot of Bread!

We ordered cheese pizza again, hawaiian pizza, french fries and a steak with a cream brandy sauce.  All of it was Delicious!  Willow had her first slice of pizza, She will learn to love bread and cheese as much as we do.  So far, she fits right in. Yum!

Cooper and Tyler <3

We over ate…..Again! Here we are right before leaving and saying goodbye to all the waitresses. They loved Willows bow and how friendly she was. And of course Coopers red hair too. ;)

It was past Willows nap time so we went back to the hotel and laid her down.  I went down to the spa in our hotel and got the most incredible 1 hour foot massage.  Lets just say it was an experience.  All very professional but there were times I had to keep from giggling.  And it was only like $25 American dollars.  I might have to do that again before I leave. 

Afters Willows nap, we ventured out to an electronic store because Tyler is so determined to find a fan. We brought one with us but it burned out the first night in Beijing.  Instead, we found our way to a mall but it was a tea and food mall only.   4 stories of only tea and food. Insane!  We quickly became the attraction as they wanted the Americans to sit and try their tea and drink it the way they do.

Here is Cooper helping make some tea.

And here I am :) What you can't see in front of me is about 30 different people taking pictures of me trying their tea. lol.

  The tea was really good and they kept giving me more. As soon as we left, it began to rain so we went back to the hotel. 

April 4th - Day 9

I was pumped about today because we would go back to the more commercial area and shop some stores that were familiar to us.  We took a taxi to the drum tower, walked around and checked it all out.

In front of a fountain show, we actually had to leave this area as crowds started to really build around Cooper. Everyone wanted a picture. Even if this more commercial area we were in, it was extremely rare to see another American so we stuck out like a sore thumb everywhere we went.

Cooper wanted pics with these characters. :)

We finally found our way to the H&M.  Then we found a Gap and more familiar brands to shop.  

It was time for lunch right as we were passing a McDonalds so we tried it.  We were surprised to find that it tasted the same.  Or close to anyways. Look how cute these mini ice creams were that they brought us.  I wish the video would play that we got of her trying it for the first time.

We spotted a Haagen Dazs located right above McDonalds so we were sure to make a visit there after lunch for some real ice cream. Can you tell how excited we get about food??? haha

Willow isn’t too sure about eating or drinking anything cold because she is used to having it all warm but even as she made a face with each bite of ice cream, she kept wanting more.

Cooper can tear up some ice cream!  Look at that smile :)

We kept walking and Cooper’s legs were started to get tired.  The famous words from Cooper we often heard were, "My legs are hurting." We made it back to the hotel for Willow to have a late nap.

We ventured out again after she woke up and went to a nearby grocery store and stocked up on some waters, snacks and a few toys for the kiddos.  Today we did lots of walking, closer to 20,000 steps.  So needless to stay, we were all ready for bed and slept pretty good until someone kept calling our room up till 1am. We finally had to unplug our phones, who in the world would keep calling us?  

 April 5th - Day 10

This picture is actually from yesterday but this is the current mood for today.

I woke up wondering what in the world would we do today that we have not already done.  Staying busy was the only way to help pass the time but sometimes its good just to rest and lay low.  We did just that.  There was a wedding in our hotel and on the signage by the entrance it said,

"Love is not a matter of counting the days, but making the days count."

What a great reminder because we were counting the days as we just wanted to be home with our other babies but I knew I needed to soak up this time to bond with Willow and enjoy our family of 4 at this point.  Soon we would all be together. Because no matter how much we wanted to be home, there was no way to speed up this process.

We watched a few movies that came on the TV and just played and had a lazy day in the hotel room.  Exactly what we needed. I took several videos but unfortunately haven't figured out how to get them to play yet on the blog.

In our last attempt to try out a restaurant with high reviews that were closed prior days during the holiday, we went to a place called, The Cyclist Restaurant.  This was our one and only outing today and it was worth the wait.  It was another one of our most memorable moments.  Notice most of them are revolving around food. LOL.  Everyone in the restaurant was a foreigner.  Whether British, Australian, you name it. They just came pouring in to this place.  Apparently everyone reads travel advisor like us and knows where to get good western food in Xi'an. We ordered more pizza and had the best bruschetta I've ever had in my entire life.  Like, I could eat just that for days it was so good.

How adorable is this place?  The decor, food and service was Incredible. I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone that will be in Xi'an.

And then this happened right before bed. My heart might have melted.  Their sweet bond is so obvious!

April 6th - Day 11

After the 4 free days we had all on our own, it was our last sightseeing day with a guide and a driver before going to a new city.  Woo hoo!  It's so nice having a translator with you and a driver who is always there waiting for you wherever you go.  We decided to go see the Giant Pagoda and watch the water show which was all in the same area.  It was a gorgeous day outside.  Lots of pics from this day!

This area was actually a cemetery.  That might not be what they refer to it as in China but very interesting. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

This tree was so pretty, loved the color.

Cooper the Celebrity.

They were so excited to get a picture with him.  In China, you put up your best peace sign. ;)

That face! When she is free to run and play, she gets so excited!!!

We love this face she makes too.  Pretty much everything she does is cute. :)

Don't limit this girl either!!! I know she will be showing Down syndrome who is boss her whole life.  

She is totally smitten by her daddy.  

At the water show.  This pic doesn't even show how BIG it is.  It's actually in a "T" shape and its really awesome to see. At night, it is lit up.  That would of been cool to see. 

Before we headed back to the hotel, I enjoyed my second Starbucks while being on this trip.  Woo hoo!

While packing at the hotel, Willow and Cooper played on the bed.

And I got some loving too! Her kisses are just so sweet!

Time to sleep our last night in Xi'an. 

April 7th - Day 12

YEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!  This was an exciting day because we were traveling to another city.  Guangzhou! We were so ready to get to this city after being in Xi'an for 9 days.  It also meant we were that much closer to getting home.  Typically you would only be in your child's province for 5-6 days but ours was extended due to the holiday.  You need at least 5 business days in order to get your Childs passport, then you can travel to Guangzhou which is where all adoptive families have to go for their Consulate appointment.  After your consulate appointment, within 48 you receive your child's visa and are free to go home.

About to board the plane for Guangzhou.

Airport Security and the flight all went smoothly! Thank you Lord!

Helen, was our next guide for this city and I knew instantly when we met her, she was Amazing!  She took us to our driver and we were on our way to The Garden Hotel.  As we were driving to the hotel, we realized we left Cooper's iPad (well he did ;) in his seat on the plane. (Sigh) But by the Grace of God, Helen called the airlines and they located the iPad for us. Can you believe it? Our driver went back to pick it up for us the next day. How awesome is that?

It was love at first sight as soon as we entered this hotel.  Wow!

Here is Cooper at check in. Peace!

I didn't take many pics on this travel day.  

By the time we got to our room, it was almost 8pm so we ordered a late dinner/room service.  We were so excited to find more channels on the tv that were in English.  We had already noticed several other foreigners in this hotel as well.  We couldn't wait to meet other adoptive families here. 

More random tid bits about Willow that we noticed from days 7-12.

She does not like the blow dryer.  

She isn’t a fan of others tickeling each other.  It makes her nervous. But she likes to be tickled now and tickle others.

She has repeated the words Baba, Mama and I swear she said Bye Bye and used the word correctly as well.   She is so smart.  She also waves to everyone and even says Hi!

I can ask her to go throw something in the trash and she does it.

She knows the sign for sit and even does it when I tell her (without the sign)

She can do an awesome front roll over.

She isn't a fan of pineapple. One of the only foods she has turned away so far. 

We have seen a few tears, not sure if its grieving but its super brief and she will be smiling within minutes afterwards.

Lots of people try to take her from us.  Not in a rude way but they want to hold her so they put their hands out.  She tries to go right to them.  We have to teach her that we are her parents and if she is getting passed around, that will just make it more confusing for her. She is very loving so we have to make sure she is not just trying to love on anybody.  We have been encouraging her to do high fives. She likes to do that.

Not always, but she is turning to her name Willow more and more.

When we tell her not to do something she is pretty good about listening and not doing it again.  She at least understands when we tell her to stop.  I'm blown away how much the language barrier has not been an issue at all.

She loves music!  We have taught her several songs and she loves signing to them.

Well, we made it through day 12.  I can't believe it!  I will post our days from 13-19 soon, stay tuned!


  1. Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I guess you'll go into what adoptive families call "cocooning" for Willow which is hard for the family and necessary for attachment. Your family is so loving and fun: May your days continue to be blessed. I'm so glad this darling little girl has her forever home with you all.

    God bless.

    Brett Butler


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