Yesterday we went to the Great Wall. Because of a traffic reroute it took us 3 hours to go the 90 minute trip. Once there we had to decide if we should go to the easy side or the difficult steep side. Guess which side won? Conner, Emily and Christian took the side least travelled, the steep side! Two other CCAI families joined us for the steep hike. It was an incredibly difficult accent and a terrifying descent for this 52 year old mom. I did not exactly keep up or go as far as my kiddos but I was proud of my efforts. When I got back down I realized that I had climbed up 41 stories and the kids had climbed up 56 stories. The biggest challenge in climbing up is not only how steep the steps are but how different the heights of the steps are. The view from the point I made it to was breathtaking. After my kids were out of sight I hiked up with another CCAI family. It was nice to have someone to talk with on the trip up and back. The saddest part of the trip to the wall is the realization that in order for this 5,500.3 mile wall to be built it required that 1/5 of the population of China to be forced into building this wall. 9 out of 10 of the forced laborers died while building the wall. Because there was nowhere else to put them those who died were buried in the wall making the wall the world’s longest cemetery.
From the wall we went to lunch at a jade factory. The factory is owned by the government as is the attached restaurant. A delicious lunch was served at round tables with lazy Susan’s. We enjoyed pepper steak, rice, sweet and sour chicken, and more. After lunch we went on a tour of the the jade factory and learned how to discern real from fake jade. A skill I am sure we will be glad to have discerned LOL. We were able to skillfully avoid the high pressure sales and headed off to the acrobat show.
This was the third acrobat show I went to and it always amazes me how there are little to no safety rules for the performers. We just found out after the show that the acrobats train for 10 years and start as young as 5 or 6. They are chosen to be performers. Their skill is incredible but oh so sad to realize that they have no say in this way of life. I read online that they train for 8,000 hours or about 1 year of time between the ages of 5 and 10. I believe that these children while they are training do not live at home and are given the opportunity to get a better education by joining the acrobatic troupe. Another way children are being exploited. They have giant hamster wheels that young men run in and on with no guide wires. There is also a giant metal ball where motorcycles race around. They start with one motorcycle and eventually 7 motorcycles with lights are all racing around the metal ball in the dark. The exhaust fumes and ohs and ah’s fill the theater. I left wondering what these young performers experience knowing that they have spent their young lives dedicated to doing something that they likely did not choose but instead chose them. More children and young adults who have been exploited under the guise of better education. It is our prayer that children in China and everywhere would be loved cherished and allowed to live lives doing what they love to do. Because we just found out about how the acrobats join the troupe Conner has written a letter to our adoption agency asking them to not support this show.
Once back at our hotel we met two missionaries and their 4 children, ages 2, 5, 6 and 9. These missionaries are ones that Conner stayed with for 2 nights a few weeks ago when he was in China delivering the “gospel”. We enjoyed connecting with them and had dinner together at Subway. Their boys were so excited to eat at Subway! This precious couple has great faith and are currently in the process to adopt a little 2 year old with Down syndrome. They have lived in China for 3 years building bridges and sharing Jesus with those they meet. Please pray for them to be able to adopt precious “Young Mei” as it is clear that she sees this family as her own.
We finally went to bed completely exhausted. We had woke up at 1 am so it had been 21 hours since we had been up. We fell asleep immediately to prepare for the 2 1/2 hour bullet train ride to Zhengzhou in the Henan Province. This is the Province where our precious little girl lives. This will get us one step closer to meeting Sophie! We will Lord willing be meeting her around 9:30 or so your time on Sunday evening (our Monday morning). Keep praying for her transition to our family! Thank you.
Mother of 13 and writes this blog.