Today Matt and I and CaiQun got up early (that 6:00 a.m. alarm is a killer for me, no matter what continent I’m on) so that we could leave our hotel at 8:00 a.m. to head to the US consulate. We needed to take an oath (basically swearing that all information we had provided throughout the adoption process was true and accurate to the best of our knowledge) and finalize the paperwork requesting CaiQun’s visa to immigrate to the United States.
I actually got a bit emotional there, which caught me off guard. It’s something of a formality – we’ve already prepared the paperwork and filled everything out, and our guide has helped us put together a folder containing all of the documents in the proper order, etc. But just thinking about my daughter…the lives she could have lived here, had things been different – whether with her birth family or in her orphanage – and the life she will instead live with us in America. My heart hurts for her that she has experienced so much loss already in her short life, though I’m glad she will spend no more days in an orphanage, and I want to honor the sacrifice her birth mother made and honor CaiQun as we live out this life with her.
Our guide will pick up her visa and some other paperwork tomorrow, and once we land on American soil on Saturday, CaiQun will be an American citizen!
After our appointment, we came back to the hotel, and while Matt ventured out for more adventures at art museums, my mom and the girls and I went back to the play area in our hotel.
Then it was back to the hotel room for some oatmeal and bananas and peanut butter for lunch, followed by a nap for the little girls! After naptime, we took a taxi over to Shamian Island and met up with another family from our group. The US consulate and the building for the medical exams used to be on Shamian Island, and pretty much all adopting families from the United States used to stay on the island in the White Swan Hotel, now closed for renovations.
And honestly, walking around the island this evening, I kind of wished that was still the case. Everything was very peaceful (don’t be deceived by the parking-lot-and-construction photo above). Car traffic is limited. You can walk places in peace. You’re not quite as likely to be hit by a car. It’s quieter. There are playgrounds and fountains and a restaurant called Lucy’s that serves both Chinese and American food. I now see the appeal of the island. Even if we don’t get to spend our week there, it’s still a nice place to visit and walk around.
We took the traditional photos with our kiddos joining the line of statue children here.
And then it was back to the hotel. The early wake-up time had us all worn out pretty early this evening. We played a bit in the room – here’s a picture of Miranda playing “store” with some empty water bottles and CaiQun happily dragging her sippy cup around inside of an empty bag that used to contain diapers – when you’re on day 15 in China with limited supplies, you use what you’ve got 🙂 And don’t mind the dirty laundry strewn about the room…again, it’s day 15 here for us!
Tomorrow we’ll shop for a new suitcase (the zipper on one of ours has started coming apart from the rest of the suitcase, so I’m not sure it will survive the trip home) in some of the shops near our hotel and begin to pack up all of our belongings in preparation for our journey home. I’ll probably post again tomorrow, but in case I don’t get a chance, please do pray for our travel home, specifically –
1. for safe travels for all of us.
2. that our flights are not delayed and are able to safely take off, fly, and land as scheduled! Every domestic in-China flight we’ve been on so far has been delayed by several hours. Guess what the first leg of our trip will be on Saturday? That’s right, a domestic in-China flight, which, if delayed too long, will cause us to miss our international flight back to the United States. We’d really like to get home as scheduled, both for the joys and comforts of home and to avoid spending long hours in an airport (or an airport hotel) with two little girls.
3. for our little girls to travel well. This is going to be an incredibly long day of traveling – over 24 hours by the time we get home. We’re not particularly looking forward to it.
Thanks, friends. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!