Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 18 – Red Couch photo, Dinner at Lucy’s

We are home!!! We arrived last Saturday, and have been hibernating for a while. We all got sick as soon as we arrived in the U.S., and are now on antibiotics (all of us including the baby). We are doing better now, but needed a week to get settled and feeling better. I will update the rest of our days in China soon. Thanks for the calls and concern.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 18 – Red Couch photo, Dinner at Lucy’s (short version)
~Shopped for Red Couch photo dresses
~Matching sisters
~Terrified kids
~Crying babies
~Family photos
~Dinner with friends

Day 18 – Red Couch photo, Dinner at Lucy’s (long version)
When I first became a member of the adoption community over five years ago, I heard about a special photo that many adoptive families were eager to get while in China. It is called the “Red Couch Photo,” and is “the photo” to get for those who stay at the White Swan Hotel. I remember the day almost four years ago when we gathered all of the little Holt babies and placed them on one of the red couches in the lobby of the hotel and all of the parents took photos as the children started crying. Watching this happen in like watching Chinese drivers trying to make their way around a round-about… you swear it isn’t going to happen, but by the grace of God it actually does. It is absolute pandemonium; parents are trying to keep their children occupied and tear-free, the children honestly don’t know what is going on, and the photographers (often the other parent who does not have child duty at that particular moment) try in vain to get one good shot of all of the children where most of them look somewhat okay.

Nana and I knew about the upcoming photo and we wanted to make sure that the girls were dressed appropriately so we headed out (once again) to one of the little shops on the island to find the perfect dresses. We finally found our way to a great little place just up the street where we found not only traditional silk dresses, but beautiful cotton dresses as well. I had never seen the cotton dresses before, so I was very excited to see this new style, and decided that it was the perfect dress for the infamous photo. We purchased a few different dress colors for both girls and were on our way.

The Ladybug was so excited to see our purchase, especially since we brought back matching dresses for the girls. Now that the Bug has a baby sister, her favorite thing is to dress alike (as some of you noted in a previous post). We arrived in China with a few matching outfits that the girls could wear, much to the excitement of the Ladybug. However, today’s purchased completely trumped those other outfits… these were Chinese matching outfits. What more could a girl want?

After the girls dressed and primped, we made our way downstairs to meet with the other families for the photo. While we were still waiting for some of the other families to arrive, I took the opportunity to take some special photos of the Ladybug and the Butterfly together on one of the red couches. We had explained to the Bug that four years ago we had taken some similar photos of her with and some friends. With that information, the Bug was totally excited to be back at the red couches, ready for a photo-op a second time. I was able to get some adorable photos of the two girls together, the bug happy and smiling, the baby very unsure of what was going on.

Eventually all of the families arrived at the couches so the chaos could start. I moved the baby into position toward the center of the couch, and gave daddy the camera. Soon babies were being placed all over the couch. Some were crying while others seemed to be in complete shock. The Butterfly was still in shock mode when we started, but as more children were placed on the couch, many of them crying, she started feeling a bit uneasy. Eventually she followed the majority and stared fussing and then crying, all while cameras and flashes were going off, capturing every moment. Just as quickly as it started, it ended, and the children were taken off the couch. We captured a few good photos of the crazy event, but I am so happy that it is over.

Following the photo session we took some family photos in front of the beautiful waterfall in the hotel, then headed downstairs for an “English High Tea.” Now, what I remember about high tea is little finger sandwiches and various flavors of tea. However, the Chinese take this event to another level. With our tea we were given free roam of another buffet, this one offering cold cuts, pizza, French fries, chicken, egg rolls, a salad bar, rice, noodles, and many, many, other food selections. For dessert we were offered ice cream, amazing cakes and pies, fruit, and a chocolate fudge fountain that you could dip fruit or breads. Needless to say, we really enjoyed the Chinese version of “English High Tea.”

We had a few errands to run in the afternoon, then met up with our good friends from Guizhou Province for dinner, Mindy, Allen, and Karis. We went to dinner to a tourist favorite on the island, Lucy’s. We all enjoyed dinner which included some burgers and fries (yup, we have been away quite a while… sometimes you just want some comfort food) and some refreshing cold drinks. But, much more than the food, we thoroughly enjoyed the company. We shared stories about our families and the adoption process, but most of all we shared stories about our little girls. We marveled in amazement that in one week’s time how these precious little girls have started to bond with their families and come out of their shells. We are both seeing many more smiles and giggles as each day passes. It was such a joy to visit with this family again and see first-hand how their daughter has started to blossom.

Following dinner, we took a few more photos and then said our goodbyes. We are now back in the room and getting ready for bed. Tomorrow is a free day for us so we have nothing special planned. Coming up on Wednesday though is the Oath Ceremony. More to come…



Ellie said...

I love these photos! It is always so exciting to get to the "red couch photo!" Those dresses are adorable! So much more practical for little girls! I am going to google to see if they are available online - so cute! Enjoy the rest of your trip - it has gone quickly!

Jinji's parents said...

So glad you arrived home safely. Get well soon

Robyn said...

SO cute! I have to know where you got the dresses. It will be a must-visit for our GZ trip. Welcome home!!

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

BEAUTIFUL! Yes, what more could a girl want...2 little girls in matching outfits. We will not be adding to our family anymore, so I will just have to do the matching outfits w/ photos of Dori and her BFF who was adopted from Vietnam.

We are home now. Our trip to Alaska was awesome. Hope you are feeling better.

Yoli said...

Congratulations! Beautiful images, it brings back so many memories.

China Dreams said...

She certainly seems to love her big sister-and not that red couch!