Friday, July 30, 2010
Guangzhou Day 17 (Friday)Today was a moving day. We checked into the White Swan – oh the memories from when we stayed here for almost two weeks a few years back. We walked the spice market and "Petsmart alley", bargained for a number of purchases, went swimming, and generally had a relaxing day. We got the brown envelope containing ZT's paperwork so we are good to go tomorrow when we begin the journey home by flying to Beijing. We will be visiting the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace – all very exciting prospects, but the reality is we are all getting a bit homesick. We look forward to the day when we can again sleep on a mattress that doesn't feel like plywood with a sheet covering it.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Guangzhou Days 14-16 (Tue – Thurs)
Tuesday we had no adoption business to attend to. Relaxation was the focus of the day.
Wednesday morning we had to be in our apartment to field potential phone calls from our guides when they conducted business for us at the U.S. consulate. Afterwards we had arranged for our good friend A to take us on a shopping trip in the city. As in the past, this was an adventure in itself – wholesale pearl market, bl#@k m#rk%t money exchanges and so on. We got back in the afternoon and then met up with some of our group families to take a dinner cruise on the Pearl River. The weather was great, the food excellent, and the views incredible. We had a great time.
Thursday's main event was a trip to the U.S. consulate to sign a document and for the swearing in ceremony. Tomorrow ZT's entry visa for the U.S. should be ready and we will be cleared for take-off. The first time he steps foot on U.S soil (which will be in Honolulu) he will officially become a U.S. citizen.
Tomorrow evening we are really looking forward to meeting up with good friends from our Group 46 FRC trip when they arrive at the White Swan with their new son.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Guangzhou Day 13 (Monday)We had fun swimming in the morning and then it was off to the medical clinic to check ZT's TB test (it was negative) and help him through three immunization injections. The nurses joked with him a bit, he stuck his left arm out for two injections (watched the needles go right in) and then turned on his daddy's lap so he could get one in his right arm – he didn't like it, but may have endured it better than mama and baba. This concludes his medical tests for the U.S. visa process. The next big paperwork day is Wednesday.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Guangzhou Day 11 (Saturday)
Today we were up early and headed to the White Swan where we met our group. The grandeur of the interior waterfall, pond and fish at the White Swan was very captivating for the boys. Our group walked over to the other side of Shamian Island for photos of the children and then down the street to the medical exam facility. I would characterize the scene inside this facility as fairly well organized bedlam. The space is not all that large and was full to overflowing with dozens of families trying to successfully navigate the process. ZT had five stations to visit: ENT; Ht., Wt., temp, and BP; medical/surgery; vision screening; and a TB test. We'll have to wait until Monday to find out what immunizations he will have to receive. We made one rather astounding discovery when his vision was tested from 20 feet. He could read right down the chart with his right eye, but with his left he appeared to struggle seeing anything but the largest size. We put on ZG's glasses and he could then read right down the chart with his left eye. Are they twins or what? At the ht/wt station they asked him his name and he said ZT (of course all the paperwork says Dang Yu Kai). The nurse smiled and asked if his name was Dang Yu Kai, ZT paused a second and then emphatically shook his head yes – smart boy this one is.
Afterwards it was lunch, and then while Maureen stayed behind at the White Swan for paperwork, Craig and the rest headed back to the apartment for a nice swim in the pool.
Zhengzhou to Guangzhou Day 10 (Friday)Today was a travel day. After some morning shopping we returned to the hotel and received ZT's passport – he is now free to travel. Unfortunately the weather turned bad and once boarded on the plane we sat and sat and sat at the gate. Everything was in Chinese so we never really understood the exact reason for the delay, but when the captain left the plane and the crew broke out the carts and started serving us our hot meals and drinks (we're still sitting at the gate mind you), we knew it was going to be awhile. Eventually we did get off the ground, saw an amazing lightning display all around us as at 35,000 feet as the pilot zigzagged through the thunderheads (yes, it was a sort of scary thrill), and landed in Guangzhou about 10:00pm. Oakwood Residence picked us up and we are now getting settled in a most amazing 3 – bedroom, 3 – bath, full kitchen, elegantly furnished etc. apartment for the week. More on this will follow.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Zhengzhou Day 9 (Thursday)
Today we had no adoption business to complete – just waiting for the passport. Tomorrow it's off to Guangzhou – about a four-hour flight. We began with a visit from Pam and her daughter (6 ½) (check out her amazing story at http://my.opera.com/paminhenan/blog/show.dml/114936) to swim with us at the hotel. We had a wonderful time. Aura Lee went on a tour of the Provincial Museum with some of the other families – saw lots of amazing things. After Pam left we had a good time at a nearby park – complete with amusement rides and a lake with paddleboats – very beautiful. In the afternoon we taxied to one of Pam's "baby" houses – essentially a very small apartment filled to capacity with 10 special needs babies and two nannies. The babies were just finishing being fed when we arrived with a birthday cake to celebrate the birthday of 3 of them. Pam gave us the background on most of the babies – all of which have challenges ahead. One of the more fortunate babies is waiting to be picked up by a family in Michigan. The whole house was obviously set up to provide loving, nurturing care. Pam and Clay are an amazing couple, as demonstrated by the effort they are making to save the life of these and many more unwanted babies, as well as to try and find loving homes for each.Pam's daughter really enjoyed our visit and wanted to go out for dinner at the local McDonald's. The kids had a great time. Here we offer ZG's analysis of the food "the chicken nuggets were just like the ones at Steak and Shake."
Zhengzhou Day 8 (Wednesday)Today was a long day for me and daddy. Mom entertained the boys while we traveled back to Luoyang to visit ZT and ZG's orphanage. The bus was incredibly slow and when we finally arrived we discovered the babies were having their nap so we would have to wait until after lunch to see them. They shuttled us into a meeting room, complete w/ big oval table flowers and water bottles where we met with the assistant director of the orphanage to ask our questions. We asked but after a great deal of talking we decided they really didn't answer any of them. When we asked about ZT we asked for any info or pics under either name ( Dang ZT or Dang Yu Kai) They insisted that they had never had a child named ZT - this was not unexpected. They didn't give us any pictures but did say that they would look through their records and email us any they could find ( they collected all our emails) so we'll see if they do. Then they took us to lunch at an exceptionally fancy and traditional restaurant - evidently very famous for conducting 'the water ceremony. It was a very extravagant meal with much ceremony. The restaurant was beautiful and the waitresses wore beautiful traditional dresses so that was cool and the food was very good. Then we went back to the orphanage and went up to the older children's floor and saw all of them - one of the girls adopted lived up there and she came with her dad to visit them and they were all very happy and excited to see her, she was like a celebrity to them. After visiting up there for awhile most of us went down to the next floor to see the younger children and they took us to ZT's old room (which had also been ZG's room at one point) and all the little children were sitting on their buckets and we had brought some lollie-pops from another family to pass out and so the nannies passed those out and when the kids saw them they all started scooching toward the nannies to get a lollie-pop. We stayed in there for a little while and got a picture with the nanny who remembered both ZG and ZT (as ZT not as Yu Kai). Then we walked down the halls looking in the other rooms at all the Babies/Toddlers in the playrooms with their nannies. Then we went to another room with some children of different ages all sitting at a table and they liked it when we took pictures of them and then let them see the pics on the camera. Daddy took Lots and lots of pictures and I got as much video as I could before my camcorder's memory got full, and I didn't know how to switch to internal memory so I just took pictures after that but we were almost done when then happened so that was good. Then we got ready to go, though it was hard to say good bye to all those children and leave, it was especially hard for the girl who was adopted to leave her friends and for her friends to say good bye, they watched out of the window and were crying as was she. The bus driver took Mikes route back to the hotel so it didn't take quite as long to get back, only about 2 1/2 hours as apposed to the 3+ on the way there. We got back fine, though very tired and Mom, ZT and ZG got back from the pool a little after us. Then Mommy's friend Pam came to visit and we called ZT's Foster Mother and he talked to her and after that he was pretty sad and cried and Mommy held him and rocked him, afterwards he felt better he played Lego's with ZG and then we had dinner (at a small local restaurant) and now we are all going to bed.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Zhengzhou Day 7 (Tuesday)
Today we completed our adoption of ZT through what the Chinese call the registration process – essentially consisting of monetary transfers, a great deal of paperwork written in Chinese characters that we couldn't read but had to sign, and the giving of "gifts" to the officials. It began with a return to the same office building we went to yesterday where an official presented us with a key document and offered congratulations. We presented the customary "gift" and then took the bus to another provincial office building. Here all 14 families were crowded into a small conference room where we signed many more important documents, had our picture taken with ZT and presented more "gifts." This completed the process and we now just wait for ZT's Chinese passport to be issued so he can leave the country.Upon returning to the hotel we had lunch and a great swim in the pool. Maureen and Aura Lee then ventured to the local Chinese WalMart for a few supplies and brought dinner back for everyone back. Craig and the boys played Lego's and watched an Ultra-man video on the computer. When his mama left for the store ZT was very sad and cried for the first time – about 15 minutes or so – attachment is beginning to take hold! ZT seems to have a bit of a fever as we go to bed – hopefully that will improve tomorrow.