Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Tuesday morning bright and early we had our consulate appointment with the US Embassy in Guangzhou.  Only one parent had to go for the appointment so Leo, Harper and I went along with a few other families in our group.  Before the appointment we all headed down to breakfast together.  Leo had not been a fan of Josh or the boys a ton, but was finally warming up and coming around.  At breakfast I watched as Josh leaned in for a kiss and Leo gave him his very first kiss.  My heart soared because I knew he was learning to trust all of us…he was learning to love all of us.  And I knew what that little kiss had just done for Josh’s heart.

The trip had been hard and painful for so many reasons and at so many different times, but I actually did not foresee the consulate appointment being as difficult as it was.  As we waited for our number to be called in that same little area we waited with Everett I was totally overcome with emotions.  Our number was called the first time and I picked up Leo and our paperwork and headed to the first window.  This was just to take certain paperwork and check a few things and as I stood there I just sobbed to the pour guy checking over our paperwork.  Dude did not see it coming and I couldn’t even muster out words to explain my emotions to him.  He surely thought I was just some crazy mama.

I walked back to our seat and tried getting myself together.  Harper went and got a drink from the vending machine as we waited.  Leo played in the little play area for all the kiddos and I just missed Everett.  I missed his little self and his personality and the way he loved us so well.  I missed his little body and his hugs and kisses and his voice and giggle.  I missed him all.

While we waited 3 separate women came over to me and acknowledged my pain.  They knew of Everett and his story and our heartache.  They each offered kind words and hugs.  One kind new friend leaned in close and prayed for us and bought me a water.  I couldn’t help think of how easy it would have been to just soak up their own moment with their own child and how each one of them decided to draw close to a hurting stranger…to voice their knowledge of Everett and our pain in this moment…they could have easily and rightfully moved right along…they owed me and Everett and our family nothing, but instead they chose something altogether different and it made me feel seen in this little office all the way in China.  I want to be that kind of person.  I want to love others like that.

After our appointment we headed back to our hotel for some lunch and then one of our guides Sarah took me, Harper, Hudson, Solomon and Amon shopping.  We went to a big local shop area that was floor after floor after floor of shopping.  The kids all wanted to take things back for their classmates so we we’re on the hunt and found the last of our souvenirs.  As we left we saw the lantern shop we bought things from last year and I grabbed a few big lanterns.  One beautiful big bright colored lantern with the “Fu” character for our Fu Shuai and two gorgeous cherry blossom lanterns.  It was so nice being out with some of the kids and doing something fun and light after such a heavy morning.  We all needed it.

Wednesday and Thursday were full of just whatever we wanted to fill our days with.  One morning after breakfast we spent some time just walking around the courtyards at our hotel.  There were lots of fish to look at and paths to explore.  It was nice to have nothing on the agenda and to have a slow morning with some time outside.

Hahahahaha…so zen-like ^ 🙂

 We also did lots of swimming, packing up and spending the last of our Chinese money. 🙂  Leo got in on the swimming action too, but his lips we’re crazy blue so Josh ended up drying him off and taking him back to the room.  He LOVES water so he was not happy about having to leave.

On Thursday afternoon the big kids and I walked down the the Walmart and 7-11 while the littles napped.  It was really fun walking around the store trying to find things to take back with us and to snack on for our last night.  We ended up with all the chips, fun new treats to try and cookies to devour pretty much instantly, a funny coffee mug for Josh, training chop sticks and small spoons for Leo and more Kinder eggs.

As we walked around one store I saw a rainbow umbrella propped up against a cooler in the fresh food area all by itself.  Every rainbow anything we saw felt like a wink from God and a sweet reminder of our Everett who we always carry with us anywhere we go.

At this point we we’re all incredibly homesick.  We could not wait to get home and the next morning…crazy early…we’d head out for the airport and start our journey home.  Everyone was so excited and ready to go.  China had been hard and painful and exhausting and beyond beautiful.  China will forever have a piece of our hearts and will hold such precious, irreplaceable memories, but everyone was beyond ready for home.  Tennessee we we’re coming for you!


  1. Andrew Marsh says:

    Hi Kelleys! I imagine There’ve been lots of very bittersweet times this trip.
    Let Little Leo bless your hearts again. I’m certain he will.

  2. Marianne cupples says:


  3. Thank you again for your honest feelings and emotions. One day your journey needs to be in a book for the children to remember and the world to see how awesome your family is. I’m so glad other Moms reached out to you and honored your precious Everett. Prayers for a safe trip back and for Leo as he adjust to his forever home. Hugs!

  4. Gretchen says:

    Lovely photos and words to document your stories. What a mix of heartbreak and delight you are walking. You are strong and courageous! God’s blessings to your family!

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