Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Consulate and Guangzhou Zoo

We had a very full day today! First, we had our consulate appointment. We met as a group down in the hotel lobby at 7:40 this morning and piled into a van to drive to the consulate. When we got there I couldn't believe how many people were lined up trying to get inside! They were all trying to get Visas to come to the US. Our guide in Beijing told us she's never been to the US because it is so hard to get a visa. We thankfully got to go through a special line for adoptions and didn't have to wait in the masses. I am reminded how blessed I am to have been born in the greatest country on earth. So many people want to come to the US so badly! So many things we take for granted that they don't have here! Like clean water....we have had to use bottled or boiled water for everything (except bathing) here....for washing dishes, for drinking, for brushing our teeth! I had no idea before I prepared for this trip how blessed we are to have clean water and clean air. The pollution and smog here is unimaginable until you experience it. Here in China the government controls nearly everything, right down to when you can drive your vehicle and how many children you can have. I am so very thankful for my freedom in America!!

We were allowed to take one quick picture outside but then had to leave our phones and watches with our guide outside. We were only allowed to carry our paperwork and a diaper and wipes in a clear large ziplock bag inside with us. Security is very high, like an American airport. We went through security and then inside the consulate where we took an immigrant oath on behalf of our children and then gave our paperwork to them to issue Caleb's visa. When the official finished checking our paperwork, he said some of the best words I've heard on this trip: "Congratulations, Mrs. Porter, your process is complete. Your son's visa will be ready tomorrow. Have a safe journey home." Not gonna lie, I choked up a little!! When we land in Chicago, Caleb will become an American citizen!

After the consulate, we went to the Guangzhou Zoo. Caleb loved seeing the animals. It was lots of fun. They have some of the same type exhibits we see at home, but also some different ones! They have a large exhibit of pigs and also of horses!! You can just drive through rural Kentucky and see those any time you want!

After the zoo, we drove to a traditional place for families to have group photos taken here in Guangzhou. This is the Five Ram Statue. It is based on a Chinese legend about the city. It started raining (again) as we were approaching the statue and we had to go up a LOT of steps to get to it, so it made for a challenging few minutes with all the babies, but we got the shot!

We also took an indoor group shot in the hotel lobby.
This evening our group split up. The families with the girls went on a riverboat dinner cruise while the families with little boys went to try a famous local noodle house for dinner. It rained all afternoon (again!) and the boat cruise was several hours and with our active boys we didn't feel like wrestling them to contain them on the boat for the dinner and entertainment for several hours. The sweet girls in our group have calmer dispositions than our wild boys!! We loved the noodle house! There was no English, but the menu had lots of pictures so we pointed at what we wanted and they brought it to us. It was super yummy and a great experience for our last night here.
Tomorrow, our guide will pick up our kids' visas at the consulate and bring them to us in the hotel at 4 pm where we've arranged for late checkout. We will then ride in a van to Hong Kong to stay overnight before we fly out Thursday morning. I can't believe only 2 more sleeps till we board that plane to come home. This trip has been an incredible once in a lifetime experience that I will always treasure but I just can't wait to be home!!

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