January 28, 2007 Update

Today, we went to Pier 39, a shopping area along Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. At Pier 39, Emily insisted on going on the bungee trampoline. Here is a video of what happened.

January 11, 2007 Update

Yes, I’ve heard the complaints. I will try to update the website with more pictures of the girls soon. I also have plans to update all of the China travel information pages with information obtained from the 2006 trip. I just need to find the time. Meanwhile, my favorite China adoption parent blog is Do They Have Salsa In China? She somehow manages to keep her website up-to-date despite the fact she has twin girls.

December 17, 2006 Update

Yesterday was Emily’s hip hop dance show. Hopefully, I’ll have video up by the middle of next month. The rest of the family (other than myself, David) are suffering from colds. Not the best of times considering Christmas is next week. Hopefully, they will be well (and I won’t catch it) by Christmas eve. I still need to update my website with information obtained from the last China trip.

November 30, 2006 Update

It’s Emily’s birthday today. She turns 5 years old.

November 22, 2006 Update

We arrived back in the United States on Saturday night. The flight from Guangzhou to Hong Kong (less than a hour) was easy. There were three adopting families on the plane and there were no problems with the babies on the plane. The flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco was a red-eye flight (left Hong Kong at 9:55 PM). There was no problem with Megan on the plane. However, she refused to get into the bassinet that was provided by Singapore Airlines. So she slept on Susan’s lap. Emily and Megan slept most of the way home. (Susan and I did not). Our plane arrived in San Francisco at 6 PM.

We have been suffering from jet lag the last few days. The girls have been waking up at 2 AM and playing until 4:30 AM. The family hasn’t gotten out of bed earlier than noon.

I just edited this entry: They were staying up until 4 :30 AM (not PM).

U.S. Consulate Day

Yesterday, our adoption agency coordinator went to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to turn in our travel group’s paperwork for an immigrant visa for our adopted children. Today at 3 PM, every one staying at the White Swan Hotel with a U.S. consultate appointment (which included multiple adoption agencies, not just Heartsent) hopped aboard a White Swan Hotel bus (actually there was a caravan of at least four buses) going to the U.S. Consulate. At 4 PM, we all gathered in a room, swore we truthfully completed the visa paperwork, and received our children’s Chinese passports with U.S. immigrant visas. I think that our appointment was a bit longer than usual because they were celebrating National Adoption Month. The Counsel General led the oath (usually it is led by a lower ranking Consulate official), the Counsel General gave a short speech, there were invited Chinese officials in attendence, and each adoption agency group got its picture taken with the Consul General (i.e. there was a Heartsent families group picture with the Consul General).

Tomorrow, we plan to do last minute shopping and then, at 3 PM, hop aboard a shuttle bus to the Guangzhou airport to fly home (via Hong Kong).

We’ll be landing in San Francisco Saturday evening.

Gotcha Video

Here’s video of the first minute with Megan.

Medical Exam Day

The reason why all American families who adopt in China travel through Guangzhou (no matter where in China the child is adopted from) is because only one US Consulate in China handles immigrant visas for international adoptions and that consulate is in Guangzhou (as opposed to anyother US Consulate in China or the US Embassy in Beijing).

On Wednesday, we began the US immigrant visa application process.

On Wednesday morning beginning at 10 AM, our group walked across the street from the hotel to the photo shop to get passport photos for the babies. Three copies of the photos were needed. One for the medical exam and two for the US Consulate. Immediately after finishing up at the photo shop, our group went to the medical exam office (about a five minute walk). This office is approved by the US government to provide medical examinations for US visa applications. The medical exams were very brief. Each baby went to three stations to be measured and evaluated. Each baby spent maybe five minutes at each station. The medical exam is a requirement for the US visa application.

On Wednesday afternoon, we received our daughters’ Chinese passports from the Chinese government. These passports will be turned in with our paperwork to the US Consulate for the visa application.

This morning at 11 AM, our group had an appointment at the US Consulate for our babies’ visa applications. Only our adoption agency representative (Chris) attended the appointment to submit our applications. However, each family had to stay in their hotel rooms in case Chris had to call and ask us to clarify some data on our forms.

Tomorrow, all of the families will go to the US Consulate to pick up our daughters’ Chinese passports with attached US immigrant visas.

On Saturday, we fly home. Even through we’ll leave China on Saturday night, when we arrive in San Francisco it will be Saturday night.

Megan will not officially become a US citizen until she touches US soil. While traveling, she will flying using a Chinese passport with an American visa.

Notary Appointment

Today (Monday, China time), one member of each family went to the Notary Office to pay the notary fee and receive three official (notarized) copies of the adoption certificate, baby’s birth certificate, and abandonment certificate. These three documents are required in order to obtain an immigrant visa from the U.S. Consulate. Tomorrow’s a free day (no official activities), however, everyone is being offered a chance to visit an orphanage. Some of the families in our group received children from this orphanage (however, Megan is from another orphanage). I will be going to the orphanage. But Susan and kids will be staying behind. If this were Megan’s orphanage, I would be taking Megan with me (so she could visit her caregivers one last time). But we are not able to go to Megan’s orphanage. We were told that Megan’s orphanage is too far away.

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

Saturday and Sunday were sightseeing days in Guangzhou. On Saturday, we went to the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. As I did in 2002, I climbed to the top of the pagoda. There are steep steps with very narrow walk ways that lead up to the top of the pagoda. Emily also climbed to the top. Elsewhere at the temple, the adopted children in our group received a Buddhist blessing. Afterwards, we went to the Guangdong Museum of Folk Handicrafts.

On Sunday, we went souvenir shopping in the shops surrounding the White Swan Hotel. Later, in the afternoon, we went to the Guangzhou Zoo.