Wow! What a day.
What. A. Day.
We are in Guangzhou right now which is probably the single unifying city of all Chinese adoptions. Some people use Beijing as a port city. Some people use Hong King. Most people travel to one of China's provinces to adopt their children and then EVERYONE comes to Guangzhou to finalize things from a US immigration standpoint. We, however, were referred a baby from Guangdong Province (Guangzhou is the capital city for that province) so we will spend our ENTIRE trip here.
We said farewell to our new CCAI friends who are traveling to Nanchang and Changsa today and boarded a train at 1 pm from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. The train station was a little crazy. We checked most of our bags through but once we went through ticket control, we then had to go through security before passport control. Security was, well, not very secure. We put our bags through the x-ray machine and then had to walk through a metal detector. However, both of us were wearing money belts loaded with more cash than I have ever had on my body....EVER. I didn't want to take the belts off and put them through the x-ray and since the metal detector didn't seem to be staffed by security, I decided to walk around it and not through it. No one noticed.
Passport control took a while but by 1:05 pm we were all on the train and we were pulling out of the station. 2 hours later we disembarked in GZ and went through a very thorough passport control to enter China.
Once we had our bags, we met our guide Jason who brought us to the bus and handed us our CCAI Group 1751 Schedule for the 10 days that we are here. We have 6 families in our group and 5 of us are adopting from Yangxi and one family is adopting a 10 year old girl from another Guangdong city. He told us that he spoke to the Yangxi director and said our girls were doing well but that they had never been in a car so we should expect the possibility of car sick kids. He then told the parents of the 10 year old child that she was very shy and didn't like strangers so they would have to be patient. Later most of us confessed that when we heard that we nearly cried on the bus.
Just take a moment to think about this. My nearly 10 year old daughter is going to see a peer adopted into another culture, race and language. If you are reading this, and you have a 10 year old, think about what they know. Think about who they are already at 10. And think about what kind of change that might be for a young lady. And lastly, I will leave you with this... we learned that she is the very last of her friends at the orphanage to find a forever family. I want so much for all this to go well for them. All of them.
We are staying at the China Hotel - a Marriott. The place is crawling with adoptive families and their new babies. And each time I see a new family I think, holy shit that is going to be me tomorrow! Our guide told us that CCAI has recently switched from the White Swan to the China Hotel because the WS is scheduled to close next month...for a YEAR! I hadn't heard a year but that is what Jason said.
Word to the wise.
The China Hotel does have connecting rooms. We struggled with what kind of room set up to book for my family of 5 soon to be 6. I didn't want my older kids sleeping down the hall and while the Marriott here has 2 bedroom suites, they are incredibly expensive. And in addition to that, while they sleep 5, they only offer amenities for 2 people. So our party of 5 would have to pay for 3 extra breakfasts each day and 3 extra memberships to the executive level. So I got cheap. I yanked our plans for the more comfortable, but going to screw with my bank account 2 bedroom suite and booked a 1 bedroom suite and a standard room directly across the hall. And you may ask, why across the hall? Why didn't you ask for connecting? Well, we called CCAI and they contacted their reps who confirmed that this particular hotel does not have connecting rooms. I then called Marriott who put me on hold (twice) to confirm with the property directly about the number of connecting rooms they had. The answer was always NONE.
So much to my surprise, we have a 1 bedroom suite with a standard room CONNECTED. We have a huge living room, 1 bedroom with a king and 1 bedroom with two full sized beds and 2.5 bathrooms. Honestly we could not be more comfortable and we did it for a reasonable price! I am so so so happy!
2:30 we get our girls.
2:00 we hop on the bus from the hotel and we drive to the civil affairs office.
And before I say goodnight, I need to send a huge congratulations to my friend Whitney who welcomed a baby girl into the world yesterday. Life is good.
|Entrance to our 1 bedroom suite. There is a 1/2 bath off this hallway.|
|Entrance into living room|
|Bedroom in suite|
|Bathroom in suite|
|1/2 bath off hallway|
|From bedroom into bathroom of standard room|
|Bedroom in standard room|