March 6, 2013

Day 6 in Guangzhou: US Consulate Appointment

The reason we are stuck here in Guangzhou for what feels like FOREVER was the appointment with the US consulate. They don't allow cameras or cell phones so we don't have much for pictures!
I was honestly pretty underwhelmed by the building. I was expecting something a little more spectacular, or at least a big US flag or something. It's really just a giant, boring, government building. About 12 families were there; none from our group except us, but several that we've met along the way. It was a pleasant surprise that the woman giving the instructions was clearly American and so nice to hear someone speak perfect English!
We took some oath about swearing all our information was correct, which seems totally redundant since we've already done that EVERY step of the way on EVERY.SINGLE.PIECE of paperwork. But whatever. Then they called us family by family to submit our official documents for our children's visas. Shiyan had collected these earlier in the week and then personally went through each one to make sure it was all correct and returned it to us today.
So far as we know, ours was perfect and we should have Meili's visa by tomorrow afternoon. At that point, we'll basically have a hand-off; Shiyan will give us the visa and then stick us in a car and send us to Hong Kong. We will spend the night in Hong Kong and then fly out for Tokyo at 8am Friday morning. YAY!
The rest of the day was pretty relaxed. After the consulate appointment, our driver dropped us off at the Pearl Market. We were hoping to score some great deals on authentic pearls, but felt pretty overwhelmed as we walked around the ENORMOUS 5 story building with nothing in it but jewelry. You know how everything in the US is made in China? I can understand it now. It was just full of piles and piles and piles of pearls, silver, turquoise, beads, etc. I'm sure if you knew what you were doing and had the time and money you could get some amazing bargains. But since we both definitely have full-blown colds now and Meili slept TERRIBLE last night and kept us both up the majority of the night, all we could think about doing was getting back for a nap.
Thankfully, we did all get a nap. Then we played in the room for a while, played outside for a while and went for an early supper at a nearby Chinese restaurant called Macau Street. We had thought we were pretty adventurous with food until we looked at their menu., I don't care for a plate full of octopus tentacles. Jon got some sort of spicy pepper lamb thing which he said was amazing and I played it safe with beef and noodles. It was good, but the best part was that Meili devoured them! They were rice noodles; not wheat-based noodles like we've been having so far. So if nothing else, at least we found one other food that she likes.
There's not much else to report! A while ago, someone asked if I ever found out what the bracelet on her wrist is about:

...and yes, I did. Our guide was sweet enough to call the orphanage and ask. When they said her "nanny" was off that day, I expected we'd never find out the answer. Amazingly, someone at the orphanage called her back a while later. Apparently, about a month prior to us adopting her, a volunteer came to visit the orphanage. She thought Meili was cute and gave her the bracelet for good luck. Maybe it worked? ;)
It's not a great story by any means, but any little tidbit about her life prior to being adopted will be important to her in the future when she starts to question who she is and how she ended up in America with a white family. So I'm thankful that I'll at least have an answer for her.
That's all for today! Tomorrow we'll finish some last minute shopping, pack up and head for Hong Kong! Then hopefully the next thing you hear from us will be that we are safely back on US soil! Can't wait for that!


  1. Virginia,

    Thank you for taking us on your journey! Prayers for safety and smooth travel!

    Jess Hardt

  2. Virginia,

    I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago and am so happy you are sharing your experiences throughout this process. We are also in the process of adopting a baby girl from China so reading your blog has been so informative, exciting and scary all at the same time. We are praying for you and your family. I hope you have a smooth, uneventful flight home and I can't wait to continue following your journey and hearing about your transitions once you all are home. Meili is beautiful and has such powerful eyes and an adorable smile. Good luck and God Bless!

    Katy Higginbotham

    1. Hi Katy - I'm glad you stumbled on it :) Thanks for following! I'm hoping to do some updates about what it's like now that we're home, but we're still getting settled and it's been a little crazy. Thanks so much for your prayers - we appreciate each one VERY much!