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Welcome to my family blog. I have been married to Mike for over half of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six terrific, interesting children. My 3 oldest were born to me in my younger years, while my 3 youngest were given to me by God in my older years. I am very blessed. ~Cheri



I don't get on my blog often...obviously.  Life happens.  There are other priorities.  But a few times a year, I read through blogs that I kept up with years ago...over a decade.  I miss that time of life.  The excitement of adoption.  The anticipation of a new child.  The fear, concerns, and the joy.  But it has been almost ten years since our last child was adopted.  Ivy is now 17 years old.  Our lives are busy and crazy at times with 3 teenage girls in the home.  They definitely keep us on our toes.  Sadly, I take less pictures.  I know I should be more diligent.  But, those darn cell phones with their convenient cameras make it too easy to set aside the bigger, better camera.

As my girls get older, I think about their China family more often.  I think about who they resemble.  I talk to my girls about how they feel about adoption and the fact that they have a family in China.  I want them to be secure in who they are...our daughters.  But, I don't want to overlook any concerns they may have.  So far, all three have been well-adjusted, content in who they are and where they are going.  They do not seem to dwell on where they've come from.  I know that it can change in a moment.  That being said, I've always wanted to take them back to China to see where they are from.  Eva and Joy have no recollection of their life in China.  Eva did travel back when we adopted Joy, but she was only two years old.  Ivy does remember her time in Zhongshan, but as much as any seven year old can remember.  So, last year we decided to take a Heritage Tour using CCAI.  It was amazing.  I would do it all over again.  My girls are amazing travelers.  Well, all six of my children are.  Our flights were great...even for coach.

As usual, I didn't sleep on the long flight over.  We had plenty of entertainment and books to keep us busy.  I did doze off after we landed in Beijing.  I slept for the 30-minute taxi ride to our gate.  It was enough to keep me going until bedtime.  We started a full day the next morning with two days in Beijing.

Even though I have been to Beijing before we adopted Eva, it was amazing to visit this place with my Chinese-born daughters.  They've seen pictures and read about their country of birth, but this was the first time they got to experience it.  When we first arrived in Beijing, Ivy's first words were, "It smells like China."  She remembered.  It had been nine years, but it was familiar to her.

Next, we flew China Southern to Chengdu, Sichuan, to see the panda preserve.  Eva loved China Southern Airlines.  She has become a flight connoisseur with our travels in the last few years.  They've all been in coach...but still.  She is picky about the entertainment and food.  Chengdu was a beautiful place.  I wish I could have spent more time in the city.  We loved the food there..Hot Pot.  Our first stop was the park.  Parks in China are always a great experience.  Afterward we went to the tea house.  We had an evening of entertainment including a mask-changing and opera.  I wish I had taken pictures, but I felt I really needed to put my camera down and just enjoy myself with my girls.

The second day, we headed to the Panda Preserve, then the fun Jinlin Walking Street.

Panda Play Area

Joy was adventurous with her cotton candy and jellied flowers.

The next morning we took a train to Xi'an, Shaangxi.  We finally had some sunshine.  The weather was warm for late March. For the whole trip, we didn't need more than a light jacket, if that.  Spring is the perfect time to travel to China.  We avoided the heat and the large crowds of summer.  Once we arrived in Xi'an, we visited the Ancient City Wall that surrounds the city.  Joy and I rode tandem bikes.  Ivy and Eva headed out with new friends.  

The next day we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.  That was neat because we just studied this time in our Ancient History class.  It is a very fascinating time in history.

Late in the afternoon we flew to Guilin, a Guangxi city that I have wanted to visit for over a decade.  I always hoped one of my daughters would be from this city.  Instead, we got to enjoy seeing it all together for the first time.  I was not disappointed...maybe a little because of the drizzle.  But, I've read that this is normal for the area in the springtime.  The flight to Guilin was terrifying.  China Eastern was fine...but the turbulence was not.  I'm sure because of the rain...this was common.  But, I was so thankful once we landed.

We were up early every morning.  On this day, we took a four-hour trip down the Li River.  It was so relaxing.  The scenery was breath-taking.  It was also time to visit and get to know other adoptive families on the trip.

The cruise ended in Yangshuo.  This had to be my favorite stop.  I am just partial to mountains because I live in Virginia, I guess.  I wish we could have spent another night there just exploring.

Later in the day we headed to a cooking school for the adopted and whoever else wanted to participate.  Even with Joy's little hand, she managed to make a delicious meal.  At one point, Eva forgot to turn on the heat to her ended in uncooked chicken...not good.  But, it was fun watching them.  Joy got a kick out of the chef.  She apparently had trouble say "veggies".  Instead, she said "wedgies", and everyone giggled about that.

Later in the evening, we attended a laser show on the River.  It drizzled a bit, and I did not get any pictures. 

After a few other sites, we headed back to our hotel in beautiful Guilin. 

A few people in our group tried the snake wine.  One man was sick to his stomach the next day.  No, I didn't want to try it.  The girls and I had not had any problems with our tummies, so we were not about start.  The next morning was our train ride to Guangzhou.  I really had no need to go there.  But, I just wanted to take my girls back to the place we met (Joy and Ivy).

 Train ride view

 White Swan Hotel

View from hotel in Guangzhou

We walked around Guangzhou, bought some tea, ate at Lucy's and McDonald's.  It was an amazing trip.  As much as I would have loved to take the girls' to their city of birth, we just didn't have the time.  I am thankful that I had this opportunity to experience China with my girls.  It will always be a special place for me.  

Somehow we managed to get up at 3:30 am and made it to the airport.  We made it to our gate after our connection in Shanghai with just about 20 minutes to spare.  Once we arrived home, jet lag arrived too.

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