Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday It's Done

Well, we thought that today we would be processing our papers at the Consulate and tomorrow Friday we would go to the swearing in ceremony. Our friends from Portland were doing their swear in today in the afternoon.

We had a late breakfast since we were all beat. David our guide called and said our papers were ready early and the driver would pick us up today at 3 PM - the same time as our friends and turns out another couple from Bellingham that we have met each morning at breakfast.

So suddenly our plans changed and we needed to stick around. So we walked around a bit and then gave the kids lunch and tried to get them to nap early since we definitely did not want issues :-) Or try not too!

I had gotten some American Flags at Joanne's Fabrics for a $1 and there was three in a package. So had each kid with one, I had bought matching outfits for Taylor and Kaitlyn - which were pretty cute - had to safety pin Taylors but they looked ok on both. Made sure we brought the autograph adoption book. Each trip I have bought the book..."Mommy Near, Mommy Far" for the kids, then throughout the trip, we ask officials and people we meet to write something for the child in the book as their memory. The first two I have also their footprints, in Guangzhou they do it before we got Taylor so will redo it at home. I had two of the officials at the consulate sign the book for Taylor.

We got picked up at 3 PM and the driver took us to the new embassy. We missed the move last time - which was a month after we got Kaitlyn or pretty much two years ago this week. It is a temp. facility in a newer area, which will be replaced with a building they plan to build after the Olympics and will be ready in 2010?
There are a lot of changes we are seeing beginning to take place which will make what some of us old adoption folk memories a thing of the past.

We then went to this tall office building (AIG Building - an insurance company) Another new concept for the Chinese.
We went up to the 3rd or 4th floor and through security - of course no camera's but I took photo's on the way... it was raining a tiny bit but was actually a pretty good day out. We finally here herded with the rest of the families into a large waiting room - at least three times the size of the old one, very modern and comfortable. The old one had few seats.
Finally after to approach the window, confirm the paperwork to the child, and sit down - a lead American official comes to talk to you. You sit as she explained to us what not to do to our very important paperwork. Which as soon as we land on American soil we head to Immigration and hand over these papers which tell them she is an immigrant claiming American status in the US. Within 45 days she will receive her papers which are a certificate and a letter from the President claiming her to be an American Citizen. It has usually taken us two weeks to get this in the past.
(Last time we did not catch this, but Kaitlyn's papers were wrong, China had forgot to change her name to her American Name - so we had to spend another six months and $$$ to officially change her name!)

The lady then went on to the swearing in asking if we have not lied about anything we have reported .... we won't abandon this child.... and then we are done. It was rather comecial. We all have to stand and lift our right hand to do this. Right then all these calm chinese children start to fuss, cry and make a lot of noise LOL

Then we are done... we get herded out, confusion sets in as people lose their guides, people don't know what elevator to take and if they are going up or down it... our guide quickly gets us past this and we get out and into the van. I take a quick shot of this plain building - non-discript - my guide making sure the Chinese police do not see me do this and we are off, back to the hotel - DONE!

So all these months of paperwork and as many parents write - a huge let down. Since this was our third trip down the CA asle we know all to well that the true moment in this event is the gotcha moment and nothing else comes close. The moment you first see this living body - no more photo's that rarely discribe this person who has experienced a life we will never understand. A little person who desperately needs and wants to be loved and now the wait is over and this person has a family to belong to, an identity that is recognized, a life of opportunity and hopefully one day an appreciation for both cultures that have molded and formed their lives.

We pray only to be able to give these opportunities to our three children. An appreciation for the ones who touched their lives. To their parents who instead of ending their lives gave them hope since each one is a precious gift and God has given them all very unique gifts. We hope to that one day that they will give back to the orphanages or these people and also to help other orphans like themselves to have such an opportunity too.

Adoption is a unique gift, as one who has experienced it from both sides I can say how sad that we have to actually go through this, since each child is a product of their parents and ultimately they should grow in their environments. But when adoption is the only option..... these children do receive the blessings of parents who truely want them and love them. The parents receive even a better blessing to be given the opportunity to be touched by these childrens love, be given the chance to mold these little lives and guide them. I think it is almost the ultimate gift next to God's own love.

Well enough of the emotional stuff, you can tell it means a lot to me.

We ended the day with dinner with our new friends Kerry and Joanne and their children. They live in Portland and will be leaving very early tomorrow for home. We wish them all the best with their new daughter Lily who is 5 and a real sweetheart.
We also met another couple at Starbucks - they are another Dongguan family who recognized our faces from the blog LOL

So I will try and post some photo's but it is already 1 AM and I am getting tired.
Hope to connect with a few more friends coming in this wknd. Less than a week to go now!!!
Goodnight - Lavonne

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