Olivia’s Adoption Diary

Monday March 20, 2006

A lychee a day keeps the doctor away.

  • Olivia and her daddy wait on some doctors.
  • Olivia and her friends practice feats of strength.
  • You must be this tall to ride.
  • Sometimes all you can do is cry.

Today was a pretty mellow day where our only tasks were to get Olivia medically cleared to travel to the U.S. and to get all of our paperwork in order for Olivia’s visa (the travel kind, not the credit card — that will hopefully come much, much later) application.

We were again up at the crack of dawn as Our daughter pranced around the room, climbing all over Dorothy and myself as we tried to squeeze in a few last seconds of precious sleep before getting out of bed. Eventually Olivia’s coaxing become unbearable and it started to require more energy to try and sleep through her morning activities than it would take to get up. By the way, we haven’t been having much like with our mattresses thus far on our trip. The Chinese seem to have upped the ante in the mattress firmness department, and I believe that all of the beds we have slept on thus far have been made from the revolutionary new mattress material: oak. I don’t wake up stiff as a board, I wake up stiff on a board (thank you, thank you. I’ll be appearing here all week.)

We had our first breakfast here at the White Swan this morning, which is about as western a spread as you will find anywhere in China I imagine. The standard roster of American breakfast foods are well represented, punctuated by just enough Chinese food to keep it real. We tried to get Olivia to eat something besides noodles this morning, but all she would do was pick at the french toast, scrambled eggs and hash browns. I believe that this young lady will be in for a bit of a culinary shock when we get her stateside and she has to deal with the fact that every single meal that we will be eating will not feature noodles as the main component. My vote is that since we are trying to get some meat on her wire thin frame we should just let her eat ice cream all of the time, I mean that seems to help me keep up my weight. But Dorothy started saying something about nutrition or something. I couldn’t really pay attention because I find it kind of hard to concentrate after my third banana split of the morning.

When breakfast was over, we met up with Lee who is the third — and we hope last — facilitator that we will be dealing with on this trip. Not that anyone has been bad. They have all actually been great, it’s just a little tough to build up a rapport with someone when the turnover rate is so high. Dorothy and I were kind of hoping that we would have the good fortune to be dealing with the always superlative Linda again on this trip as she was the one who was there for us on both Aelex’s and Matthew’s adoptions, but alas, lightning does not strike a third time. Anyway, Lee took us all to the medical office here on Shamian island in Guangzhou for our children’s physical examinations so they could be cleared for takeoff so to speak. The process can seem a little hectic, but it actually runs surprisingly smooth considering the number of babies that the office must see in a day. Olivia’s examination took a little longer than most of the other kid’s as we had a hard time explaining her condition to the doctors there, but eventually we managed to clarify her health issues for them and she actually passed the examination just fine. And she didn’t even have to study.

Following the exams, we returned to the hotel to finish up the outstanding paperwork which is usually my contribution to the whole process. Believe me, with my penchant for filling out forms and organization, you wouldn’t want me on any more than an hour or two of this type of work anyway. Dorothy gets 12-13 months and I come in as the closer for the last few outs, which I feel, is more than equitable.

After all of this, we were all but done with our official duties for the day. It was kind of a dreary, rainy day outside, and although we walked around in the drizzle for a while, we spent most of the day inside. Olivia is a tremendous fan of the hotel’s play room, and is less than happy whenever we try to physically remove her from the premises. The three of us had a really good day together and Olivia seems to be understanding more and more of what Dorothy and I say to her. With this increased understanding comes a reduction in the frequency and ferocity of the frustrations that we were experiencing earlier in the trip. She is, for all intent and purpose, becoming out daughter from an emotional — as well as a legal — standpoint. She is spending more time in physical contact with us and expects we to carry her most everywhere we go. I happily oblige now, but I fear what is going to happen when we get home and there are 2 other children who are going to want to be lugged around as well. I have already placed my order for a third arm and titanium spine reinforcements.

The first half of tomorrow has to be spent in our hotel room waiting for Lee to call us to let us know that everything went fine at the U.S. consulate with our daughter’s visa application. After that we have absolutely no plans and we will play it by ear. If the weather is nice, the three of us will probably go out exploring Guangzhou on our own. Hopefully we will get some good diary fodder out of that.

Typing with writers cramps from filling out forms in triplicate…