Traveling In China – 2002

 

Thursday, December 5, 2002 Drove to San Francisco International Airport. Flew to Beijing on Air China.
Friday, December 6, 2002 Arrived in Beijing in the evening. A hotel shuttle drove us to the Grand Hotel (just a few blocks from Tiananmen Square).  We arrived at the hotel around 8 PM.  Since we barely slept on the long air flight, we had just enough energy to order room service before turning in for the evening.
Saturday, December 7, 2002 Sightseeing in Beijing. No tour guide. We walked around the city on our own. We went to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We ended up having dinner at the Outback Steakhouse located in a hotel next door to the Grand Hotel. Food was exactly like the food at the Outback Steakhouse back home.

E-mail sent to friends on December 7: Hi everybody. We arrived in Beijing last night at about 8 PM. Although there is only one other couple with us adopting through our agency, there were a lot of people from all over the country on our airplane who are also here to adopt a daughter. Although they will be traveling to other parts of China to pick up their babies, we will meet all of them again in a week when we are in Guangzhou (the only Chinese city with a U.S. Consulate that deals with international adoptions). While we were at the Forbidden City

today, there was a large tour group made up of families with adopted
Chinese children in strollers. It is very cold in Beijing. We think it was in the 20s while we walking around the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Tomorrow we will fly to the city (Nanchang) where we will meet Emily. Hopefully, we will meet Emily tomorrow.

Sunday, December 8, 2002 Flew to Nanchang (capital of the province of Jiangxi, where Emily was). Met our adoption guide at the Nanchang airport. Took the hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel. We met Emily at the hotel. She was already there waiting in the lobby when we arrived.  She was sitting on a sofa with the orphanage director and caregivers probably only 25 feet from the hotel entrance.  As I was checking in at the front desk, Emily was already in the arms of Susan.  Within 30 minutes, the orphanage director and caregiver were gone and Emily was playing in our hotel room.
Monday, December 9, 2002 Met with an official of the Department of Civil Affairs (adoption finalization process, obtained adoption finalization documents) and then an official of the Notary of Jiangxi Province (to officially certify the adoption finalization documents). We were required to stay in Nanchang until Emily’s Chinese passport was issued (normally, takes five days after adoption finalization before passport is ready. We picked it up late in the afternoon on Thursday the 12th). After our morning meetings, our guide took us to the local supermarket/department store where we bought snacks, baby supplies (diapers, wipes, baby food, formula), baby shoes and clothes, and a week’s supply of soft drinks.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002 Sightseeing in Nanchang
Wednesday, December 11, 2002 Sightseeing in Nanchang

Blog post made on December 11, 2002 at 5:14 am (Pacific Time):

Hi everyone. I am currently typing from the business center of the Lake View Hotel in Nanchang, China. We left San Francisco on Thursday, arrived in Beijing on Friday, went to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square on Saturday, and flew to Nanchang on Sunday. I had big plans to videotape the exact moment when we got Emily. However, I was caught by surprise. As we were walking into the lobby of the hotel on Sunday, Emily was already there (with the orphanage director and a caregiver) sitting in a sofa just a few feet from the hotel entrance. Before I had a chance to dig out my video camera, our adoption agency guide was introducing us to the orphanage director while simultaneously the caregiving was handing off Emily to Susan. Within a minute, the guide was urging me to check into the hotel. As I was busy filing out the hotel registration information, Susan had Emily in her arms playing with her. I have some tape of the initial 5 minutes of the meeting however it was less than I hoped for. I’ll post more details later. But it’s been an interesting few days. I can say that it has been a fascinating trip. China is a fascinating country. I really wish I could have spent more than one full day in Beijing. I’ll post pictures when I get a chance.

Thursday, December 12, 2002 Sightseeing in Nanchang. Picked up Emily’s Chinese passport at the local Public Security office in the late afternoon. With the receipt of Emily’s passport we were allowed to travel onto Guangzhou.

Blog post made on December 12, 2002 at 3:44 am (Pacific Time):

In case you’re wondering: For all of those who thought Emily would attach to me and not Susan. You are wrong. Emily likes to be held by Susan more than I (although that is slowly changing each day). At first, Emily ONLY wanted to be held by Susan. Race as an attachment factor was nil. We did not learn until yesterday that Emily is a skilled crawler. We initially thought that she was VERY behind developmentally. For the first few days, she did not turn over on her side and barely crawled. Now she is crawling (with great speed) everywhere. She is now getting into everything. We’ve had to close our hotel bathroom door and raise the trash cans off the floor. And it is true about the little old ladies in China. They love kids. In public areas (parks, city streets, supermarkets, public buildings) they will come up to Susan, smile at the baby, and interact with Emily (even pinch her cheeks). If they don’t think Emily is wearing enough layers (it is cold in Nanchang), they will lecture Susan about putting more clothes on Emily. Some will even put there fingers up Emily’s arm or leg to determine how may layers she is wearing. One time, I saw one lady pacing around us who looked very concerned. I saw her go from person to person around us. Finally, after 5 minutes, the old lady found a man who spoke a little English. The man came up to Susan to tell her that the lady wanted to tell Susan that 2 layers is the minimum amount of layers a baby should be out in. She seemed relived that her message got to Susan. Some are less direct and will simply come up to Susan and Emily, smile, pinch Emily’s cheek, and zip up Emily’s jacket (or button up a jacket up) as they are interacting. Never have any skin from a leg or arm exposed on a baby while in China. Otherwise, feel the wrath of an old lady. Tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou, home of the U.S. Consulate in China with an adoption unit.

Friday, December 13, 2002 Left Nanchang in the late afternoon and flew to Guangzhou (location of the only U.S. Consulate in China that handles international adoptions).  Checked into the White Swan Hotel (the closest hotel to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou). Unlike Nanchang, where the weather was very cold (at or below freezing, even during the daylight hours), temperatures in Guangzhou were in the 70’s (F). Even the evenings were warm in Guangzhou.
Saturday, December 14, 2002 In the morning, we went to a local photo shop across the street from the hotel to get Emily’s U.S. visa photos and then walked five minutes to a local medical clinic to get Emily’s physical exam (both were needed for Emily’s U.S. immigrant visa application). Spent the rest of the morning filling out the required application forms for Emily’s U.S. visa with the guidance of our adoption agency representative, Chris. We had the rest of the day to sightsee.

E-mail sent to friends on December 14:

Welcome from the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton, home of the only U.S. Consulate in China that handles international adoptions). We flew in to Guangzhou from Nanchang last night (the adoption city, the capital of the province where Emily is from). This morning, we had Emily’s visa picture taken and took her to the physical exam required by the U.S. Consulate (she passed). We were in and out of the medical facility in 30 minutes. Then we spent about an hour with the adoption agency guide filling out the required paperwork for the U.S. adoption visa. Then we were free the rest of the day to explore Guangzhou. Guangzhou is in the southern part of China. In Beijing and Nanchang, we had to wear several layers since temperatures got to freezing and below. In Guangzhou, it is warm so we got to go out in short sleeves today. Sunday, we will sightsee. Then Monday, our agency guide will drop off our papers at the U.S. Consulate. Monday afternoon, we will go to the Consulate for the swearing in ceremony. Tuesday, our guide will pick up Emily’s U.S. visa at the Consulate. Wednesday is a sightseeing day (we could go home but we couldn’t book a flight). Thursday, we fly home.

Sunday, December 15, 2002 Sightseeing in Guangzhou.
Monday, December 16, 2002 Chris submitted our visa paperwork at the U.S. Consulate in the morning (he went by himself). Around 3:30 PM, we were escorted by Chris to the U.S. Consulate. In a room of the consulate, Susan, Emily, and I gathered with 40-50 other babies and their adopting parents. Each of the families were called up to a window, each family had to present their faces (the parents and babies) to a person behind the window so she could verify that the people in the room were the ones on the visa applications (in addition to the baby’s visa photos, the parents had to submit a passport photo with the visa applications). Then a consulate official came out, asked all of the parents to raise their right hand and swear that all of the information we had written on the visa applications were truthful (took about 20 seconds). Then he congratulated us on passing the final hurdle in our adoption journey. We were out of the Consulate by 4:30.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002 Chris picked up Emily’s immigrant visa from the U.S. Consulate in the afternoon and brought it up to our hotel room.  Chris handed us a one page 8.5 x 11 inch immigrant visa stapled to a brown 9 x 14 inch envelope.  We were warned not to open the brown envelope.  The envelope could only be opened by the INS officer at the U.S. port of entry (for us, San Francisco International Airport).  However, we had to show the immigrant visa (along with Emily’s Chinese passport) at the various Chinese airports in order for Emily to board airplanes.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002 Sightseeing in Guangzhou (we could have left for home today but we were not able to get a flight back. I guess even in China the Christmas season is a popular time for travel).
Thursday, December 19, 2002 Flew Guangzhou to Shanghai to San Francisco. Due to international dateline, we arrived home the morning of the 19th. So we got to have two December 19s.

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