our return to China

Earlier this summer my family and I spent three unforgettable weeks trekking across China. We visited seven cities in all: Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Jinjiang, Shanghai, Guilin, and Hong Kong. Summer is just coming to a close and already I'm dreaming of going back!

The trip was part sightseeing and part homecoming for our daughters who were born in China. The last time we visited was 2004 when we adopted our youngest from Jinjiang, Fujian Province, and before that, 2002 when we adopted our oldest from Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

Beijing - Touring the Forbidden City with my family alongside thousands of other visitors. Behind us stands the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian) -- the throne hall of Ming and Qing emperors.

Beijing - Touring the Forbidden City with my family alongside thousands of other visitors. Behind us stands the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian) -- the throne hall of Ming and Qing emperors.

For years we'd talked about returning to China with the girls -- it was never a question of if but rather when. Thankfully this was the year we could finally pull together the funds and resources to make the trip a reality. If you or someone you know is looking to schedule a Heritage Trip, we highly recommend the organization we worked with: Red Thread Tours & Services.

Over the past fourteen years we've celebrated the culture and customs of China and both girls are learning Mandarin as just one way to honor their heritage. Needless to say, both daughters were eager to get this Summer's trip underway.

Xi'an - Early morning light shining on some of the nearly 8000 life-size terra cotta soldiers commissioned by Qin Shi Huang, China's First Emperor and founder of the Qin Dynasty, to protect him in the afterlife. The soldiers were discovered in 1974 (I was six years old).

Xi'an - Early morning light shining on some of the nearly 8000 life-size terra cotta soldiers commissioned by Qin Shi Huang, China's First Emperor and founder of the Qin Dynasty, to protect him in the afterlife. The soldiers were discovered in 1974 (I was six years old).

From an early age both girls were aware of how our family was lovingly formed through adoption. We've shared their adoption stories countless times, answering questions and reliving memories through storytelling, old photographs, and keepsakes such as the outfits each wore when they were handed to us by the orphanage nannies. 

Chengdu - Hibiscus, the city flower. 

Chengdu - Hibiscus, the city flower. 

As for the trip itself, I have SO much to share. We are still "unpacking" the memories and impact of this trip. I may never be able to fully articulate the full meaning, but one thing's for sure: the trip exceeded our expectations and left us feeling incredibly honored and grateful to have made new friends in our travel group and reconnect with/meet new connections at each of the girls' orphanages. Both girls' orphanage directors and staff were thrilled to have had the opportunity to see the girls in their teenage years and learn that they have not forgotten their birthplace but rather embraced it's people and treasures. 

In the coming weeks I hope to share more memories from the trip through blog posts and art. I'm still struggling with how much detail to share publicly, especially when it comes to the actual orphanage visits, but I trust that it will all work out in due time. Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Guilin - Guilin Tea Research Institute, the only organic tea farm in the Guanxi Province. Majestic limestone mountains in the background.

Guilin - Guilin Tea Research Institute, the only organic tea farm in the Guanxi Province. Majestic limestone mountains in the background.