Gotcha day was on a Monday, and we spent the next several days in Lucy's city- Guiyang City in Guizhou Province. Guiyang City is in southern China and is known for its spicy food- perfect for these Texans! We had several appointments and paperwork to be done, but there was a lot of down time, which was wonderful as we had a new family member to get to know.
Our hotel (the Howard Johnson, which is apparently a 5-star chain in China- who knew?!) was very nice but if you've ever entertained kids in a hotel room you know you'll have to get out of there at least a few times a day! So, we ventured out- to a nearby park that is home to hundreds of slightly-too-friendly monkeys (read: possibly aggressive), a local Buddhist temple (beautiful!) and the BEST (and super cheap!) street food. We even found the local mall and Starbucks!
Random side note: if you watch my stories on Instagram you know I researched the best kind of instant coffee and packed myself a little coffee survival kit with it, powdered creamer and coconut palm sugar. It was one of the best, most comforting things and I'm so glad I had it! Here is the link to the coffee.
Our first excursion was to the monkey park. I need to take a minute and describe China's parks first, though. Here in Lubbock, trees are scarce. Our "parks" are literally lots of grass with maybe 10 trees and hopefully some playground equipment. You come, you wish you'd brought sunscreen, you play for a bit, and then you go home. China's parks, however, are all-out communities. They are acres and acres of land- beautifully landscaped and featuring places of worship, restaurants, boats, shops, community centers and animals. We could have easily spent all day in there. This park was just a short walk from our hotel and our guide wisely escorted us to the gondola which took us to the highest point in the city- where we could get a fabulous view.
On our way down, we got to walk through a Buddhist temple where people were burning incense and witness the hundreds of monkeys literally swinging from the trees above us. It was one of our kids' favorite things!
After the park, we got to eat hot pot which was easily one of our favorites. They brought out fresh fish and boiled it in a spicy broth right at our table. It was delicious!
The next day we ventured out to the local mall which was next to a large man-made lake. There was a playground for the kids, musicians playing, and Starbucks! As we walked around the lake we couldn't help but be in awe of this huge mansion that overlooked it all- and were told that it was the home of the mall developer. It was the largest home I have ever seen- check out the last photo in this series.
One of the most special things we had the chance to do in Guiyang City is to find the hospital where Lucy was "found". Lucy was born prematurely and had multiple issues because of that, so her records state that she was "found" at this particular hospital. We do not know anything about her parents, nor do we know if she was actually born at the hospital or was taken there after birth. And we may never- though there are professionals who will search for birth parents if and when Lucy wants to try to find them.
In China, you must pay for your medical procedures at the time of service, and if you are unable to pay, you are unable to be treated. So, it is possible that Lucy's biological parents knew they had a sick baby and could not pay for her treatment. We are thankful she was left in a safe place where she could receive the treatment she needed. I'm sure the people standing outside of the hospital were wondering what in the world we were doing!
Getting used to each other. Thankful we had ipads and plenty of time for sleepy mornings!
That's it for now! Part 4 will be coming up as quick as I can type!