The Dreams That You Wish Will Come True
Our favorite international hotel

Our favorite international hotel

Just like America!  But different.  And smaller.

Just like America! But different. And smaller.

"Ellis's" tea cups??  Oh, Alice's!

“Ellis’s” tea cups?? Oh, Alice’s!

The adults' favorite ride.

The adults’ favorite ride- Mystic Manor is the most elaborately themed ride in the park, similar to Haunted Mansion.

Today was the most enjoyable amusement park experience I’ve had in years. A perk for having just two kids, Joey and I each had charge of one, we went on all the rides together and I never had to stop to change a diaper or wait at the exit with an infant or toddler while everyone else enjoyed the ride- it didn’t feel like work today, and it was actually quite “amusing” and now I understand where the name comes from! We arrived at the park around 11AM and left by 4, and still we were able to do all the rides (the girls had no interest in the shows or parade, and I knew we’d be more than done by 4!), including Space Mountain three times (Claire rode hands up- this girl has no fear), and Grizzly Gulch (think Thunder Mountain railroad) three times. Claire barely met the height requirements, but that girl is too big for her britches. As our usual Hong Kong Disney experience has been, the longest we waited for a ride was 10 minutes, and during that time we had more than our fair share of entertainment people-watching. We took note of several “Americanized” name tags on the “cast members” such as “Susandy” and “Illusory” and enjoyed trying to figure out what people thought their labeled clothing actually meant based on what it said, which was usually gibberish.

Serioustic!  Srt!

Serioustic! Srt!

Body by "Carbs" right here!

Body by “Carbs” right here!

Toy Story Land.  The combination of Chinese and broken English spoken by these guys was riotous.

Toy Story Land. The combination of Chinese and broken English spoken by these guys was riotous.

Prince Eric's Castle.

The Fairy Tale Forest – a new walk-through area of miniature replicas of Disney castles designed exclusively for picture taking- a favorite Asian thing to do.

The Beast's Castle

The Beast’s Castle

Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle

It’s good to start out the trip in an International city like Hong Kong before heading to the mainland, because the jet lag shock is enough to deal with on top of what will soon be culture shock. I am pretty sure we won’t be nearly the spectacle here or draw a crowd like we usually have with just two kids this time, no baby, and no red-head. I thought about how terrified Carrigan was of most of the rides last time we were here and I’m glad we decided to do Disney on the way in, rather than the way out. Chaela’s car trip experience has been likely only a handful of times, she’s probably never been on a plane, and taking her to a thrill-ride park right off the bat would probably have her thinking we were nuts. It was a hard decision for us not to bring Carrigan this time. We had planned to at the start, but after a few months to think about it and realizing that he still is quite needy and immature (he acts more like a 3 year old like Griffin than a 6 year old), we decided he would do best at home, and so would we and Chaela. He’d likely be confused taking him back to China so soon, he possibly will be jealous, and we don’t want him to be concerned we’re trading him in for a “new model”. We don’t really know what to expect yet as far as Chaela’s needs or how she will do with us, so we want to be able to focus these two weeks on her. We also needed to be able to fit into one hotel room everywhere cost-wise this time!

Picture taken for Garrick, who loves Winnie the Pooh.

Picture taken for Garrick, who loves Winnie the Pooh- “Pooh-Dat!”

Rapunzel Tower.  See Flynn being pulled up behind Claire.

Rapunzel Tower. See Flynn being pulled up behind Claire.

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Sure, rides are fun, but who can resist running amok in engine blast?

For the first time in recorded history I have a child begging me to go to bed. I told Caitlin she has to press on until a reasonable bed time and I have not let her fall asleep the couple of times this afternoon that she’s started to. It’s the only way to get adjusted to the new time zone, which is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time in NY. On top of being exhausted, I am coming down with what feels like a bad cold, so please pray for good health for this trip! It’s going to be hard enough completely healthy. What we have ahead of us is not for the faint-hearted!

Not a continental breakfast.

Not a continental breakfast.

The Small World is great in any language.

The Small World is great in any language.

Caitlin is so done...at 7pm local.

Caitlin is so done…at 6pm local. Claire went strong all day until the end. She’s a tough cookie.

It’s hard to believe that in just two days we will be meeting Chaela! We are just as excited as we were the first time with Charlotte, and just as the 7th baby born was not any less special than the first, she is no less special as #10 in the family! I am a little more nervous this time than either of the past two because it is just going to feel strange to meet a grown ten year old child and immediately know that she is my daughter! It was easy to bond with Charlotte because we could rock her and feed her a bottle and hold her close in the Ergo baby carrier, fairly easy with Carrigan because honestly, he would still enjoy that treatment if we did it, but with a ten year old we know that bonding is going to take time and more effort. It just might not come naturally, and while that’s okay and expected, it is going to be a labor of love. We don’t see this as “rescuing” her at all. In fact, for her it will likely be a time of great grief and sadness as she leaves everything and everyone she has ever come to know and love as “family”. While we know this is best for her future, she may at first resent us and feel afraid and threatened as we are complete strangers to her! We have learned much about her recently, but she knows very little of us. When a child in China reaches the age of ten, they actually have to sign the adoption paperwork themselves and give consent to be adopted. While she has done that to some extent on the initial file we were given in her adoption paperwork as shown in her video, it’s a whole different story when what you “wish for” actually comes true.

I wish she could have met Mickey in person...maybe next time!

I wish she could have met Mickey in person…maybe next time!