Thursday, April 7, 2011
Once again I am suprised by how casual everything is pertaining to the adoption. Today was a cattle call of families to the consulate for the oath, taken by the parents on behalf of the children, swearing that the information provided is true. We were all lined up then brought into a waiting room with some toys and a playhouse. Soon, a very nice American woman came out and introduced herself, gave us a few instructions and some information about the current adoption statistics, then had us repeat after her. Families were then called to various windows to submit the remaining paperwork and I was called first.
Apparently, in the past two years there have been roughly 3000 adoptions of Chinese children to the USA per year. Currently, 72%-75% of those children have a special need. Today in the waiting room, there were children with heart conditions that had been corrected, a darling baby with brittle bone disease, some with limb issues and then my own little darling with her thing. As I looked at those precious children, I thought, "How can anyone let them go?"
I heard an amazing story of one of the families present there today. Their first daughter was adopted 9 1/2 years ago at the age of 4. From the start, she had the translator tell the family that she had a twin sister back at the orphanage. Inquiries were made, but the family was told that the child was wrong. When the child learned English, she continued to insist. 9 1/2 years late, CCAA called the family and said that their daughter was correct, that they'd made a mistake, and that they can adopt the child, about to age out, who is their daughter's twin. Apparently, the girls are extremely identical also.
According to both the female guides I've had, people here can have two children as long as neither parent has a sibling.
This morning began early. Luckily, I've got several Chinese music CDs and played one to help my daughter wake up. It worked very well. The consulate turned out to be next door to IKEA! My guide couldn't believe that we went there yesterday alone on the subway. Had I known then that the consulate was that close, I'd have not wasted an afternoon going to IKEA, but waiting until today to go.
Afterward, I walked Shamian Island. It's actually pronounced by the Chinese like this: Sha mi an /shaw mee ehn/. It smells so good here and I finally found out why. There is a tree that makes a pink flower that looks like blossoms from a distance, but are rather large, like a small hibiscus of some sort, but a tall tree. I took my daughter to the playground behind Lucy's and she had a fantastic time. She helped a little boy, not more than 2 years old, to go down the slide. It's so cute! When I get home, I have videos to upload for you all to see.
In the afternoon we went shopping with Ann at redthreadchina.com something I highly recommend everyone do! She is so much better than a guide. She certainly knows her bargains, especially the pearl market. You cannot believe the pearls here and how great the prices are. I mean like $23 for a strand that would appraise for $100+ in the USA. I suggest taking a list and money from everyone you know and even buying as many high quality strands as you can as an investment.
Dinner was at a fun place called the Banana Leaf. It's across the street from the Garden Hotel on the 5th floor of the first Friendship Store building. It's a little pricey compared to other restaurants in the area, but not high by American standards and it all tasted great. If you go with another family or two and share, it's perfectly affordable. They had singers and dancers, too. I'll post a video of this, too, once home with a high speed connection.
I loved the evening. My little girl played so well with her toys and I recorded it for ten minutes. After a bit she said she was tired and wanted to go to bed so I helped her get ready and she was asleep in no time.
I cannot emphasize enough how great she's been. Oh, yes, she is spunky and stubborn, too. She will hold a grudge and pout for 6 hours if I don't buy her something she wants, and she's testing, of course, but she is fantastic! Today so many people from all areas said she looks like me. Many don't realize I adopted her. Several times I've been asked if she speaks Chinese! We communicate very well. She is extremely good at universal sign language. I think her orphanage really prepared her well. She understands perfectly that mama doesn't speak Chinese much at all and it doesn't seem to bother her. I can generally get the gist of everything she says in Mandarin, but in the last few days, she's reverted more and more to using her local dialect.
If I had one complaint, it's that she can be very rough in her enthusiam. I have some bruises and sore spots where she's just banged me up. For example, today I crouched down so she could climb on my back for a piggyback ride and she ran full tilt at me and knocked me over and she went flying over me. Somehow, I managed to catch her and it pulled me the opposite way I was falling so neither of us was hurt. She's pulled hairs out of my head because she had her hands in my hair and ran off too quickly. Normal things like that, but I'm feeling mauled a bit. I've had some guides speak to her, but she's so enthusiastic that she forgets. She also shouts loudly when excited, usually right in my ear. I'm teaching her, but she's had to be scolded a few times when she really got me good.
I've shown her some pictures and video I happen to have on my blog and she's making the connections that these things are going to be in her new home in America. When she's happy and excited, she grabs my hand and kisses it in a very adorable way.
I am going to miss China so much. I love Guangzhou! I could easily live here and open a business. Ann called tonight and invited me to lunch tomorrow at her place, home cooking! I'm eager to see her place and look inside an apartment in Guangzhou. I've really gotten the subway stations down on the yellow line. If you can read, you can easily navigate the subway and it's super cheap. From just off Shamian, you can take the subway all over the place, the zoo, the safari park, the consulate and much more. Don't expect to lose weight here. I've gained at least 6 solid pounds! I've eaten apples from the supermarkets, peeled, and ate the ice in a soda at McDonald's, I ate the tomato with my hamburger at Lucy's and I brush my teeth with the water that comes out of the filter in the bathroom sink (but I don't swallow it). In Nanchang we boiled the filtered tap water and drink straight from the filter on the counter here at the Victory. I've not had any issues with my digestion at all. None of us has.
The biggest challenge has been not knowing where the next meal will come from. I can't remember if I said that before in a previous post, but really have a plan and definitely have your guide take you to the supermarket to get some basics. I've borrowed silverware from the hotels, but buy a small knife or peeler, if cheap, you'll want to have it.
I'm getting along fine with my guide now. He has decided that a strong woman is just fine, and that many men would want a woman like me. LOL! Chris took us up to White Cloud Mountain yesterday and when he saw how my daughter really is, he said that our match was beyond normal and God must have done it!!! I certainly know that!
My little girl has been so brave and strong and I'm so very proud of her and grateful to the people at her SWI who helped her become who she is.