Aelex’s Adoption Diary

Tuesday March 4, 2003

United States Population Tuesday March 4, 2003 4:32:19 P.M. Beijing Time: 290,390,270
United States Population Tuesday March 4, 2003 4:32:20 P.M. Beijing Time: 290,390,271!

  • I am outta’ here!
  • Aelex and her very happy Daddy.
  • Mmmmmm…Koi…

That’s right folks, it is all over but the shouting. And crying. And midnight bottle feedings. And diaper changes. And… well, you get the picture. Our daughter Aelex is as of this moment a United States Citizen!

We had our appointment at the U.S. Consulate here in Guangzhou this afternoon with our whole group from Brightside. We all met in the lobby of our hotel at 3:45 (after a brief delay for me to run upstairs and change my shirt since Aelex decided that this was an opportune moment to puke all over her Daddy). We were led by our intrepid facilitator Linda. A spunky little spitfire who knows above all else, how to get things done. She has been a whirlwind of activity these past few days, skillfully guiding us through a truckload of paperwork and dealing with the U.S. government on our behalf. That, in and of itself, earns Linda my “Player of the Week” award and she will be receiving honorary induction into the “Wading Through Painful Bureaucracy With a Huge Smile on Your Face” Hall of Fame for her Herculean efforts on all of our behalves.

We all took the five minute walk over to the consulate together: me, Dorothy and Aelex; Bruce, Barbara and Anna; Paul, Leslie, Clara and Tilly; Mike, Lisa and Hannah; Susan and Oliver; and of course, Linda. After a thorough but efficient full body cavity search at each of the 39 checkpoints we had to pass through to enter the nondescript consulate (there was not even an American flag flying, for obvious reasons I assume) into a room packed with, oh, the entire population of Bismarck North Dakota. Truthfully, there were in all, about 50-60 children and their families awaiting what was sure to be a momentous induction into the brotherhood of American citizenry. We stood around for about 10 minutes, then waited on some line for about another 15 minutes in order to parade in front of a bored looking consular official who sat behind bullet proof glass, then were all herded into the main waiting area for what we had no idea.

Have I ever told you how much I love Cheerios? Alelex was popping these things like a speed freak with severe withdrawal. They kept her quiet however and then in walked a big-wig consular official (you could tell because he real official looking plastic badges affixed to his shirt) named Biff Whitebread I think. He commended us on the superior job we all did in filling out our paperwork (you can tell that this guy does not get out much) and told us to prepare for the big swearing in ceremony. This is how it went:

Biff: “Everyone please raise your right hand and repeat after me: I, state your name…”

Us: “I, state your name…” (O.K. it’s a throwaway joke, but one of my favorites. Back to the action.)

Biff: “…swear that all of the information I have given is true.”

Us: “…swear that all of the information I have given is true.”

Biff: “Great. Congratulations.”

Then Biff ran out of the room to presumably read some more paperwork if I could tell by the devilish gleam in his eye. We all sat there waiting for some fireworks, confetti, circus clowns, anything. But that was it. Our children were all American citizens.

We all filed out of the consulate grounds and headed out to celebrate the pre-end of our long, long journey. Dorothy celebrated in her usual manner by spending money and buying lots of things at every store we passed on the way back to the hotel. She then dropped me off back in the room, took whatever cash we had left, grabbed her daughter and left to spend it all presumably without having to drag me from store to store wining like a little 3 year old “but I’m tired. When are we going home?”

Seriously though, I have never seen my wife as happy as I saw her after we left the consulate. I think it is really starting to dawn on her that we have a little girl who is going to call us Mommy and Daddy (at least until she is a teenager and then I shudder to think what she will be calling us). I too am beyond happy and never would have thought that almost 2 years ago when Dorothy and I started the process of adopting our daughter that I would be sitting here in my hotel room, with tears streaming down my face, telling you all that I am the happiest man alive… because my wife forgot to take our last $20 bill from my wallet before she went shopping.

Well that is it for today. Dorothy swears that by tomorrow she will type up her thoughts on the last few days and we will post them so you can all get a much more tender and true to life perspective of how things have been going over here. So until tomorrow, I say goodbye from the happiest hotel room in Guangzhou…