Olivia’s Adoption Diary

Wednesday March 22, 2006

Last tango in China.

  • Olivia watches a feeding frenzy.
  • Olivia helps out a friend.
  • Beautiful setting, beautiful girl.

Well, today was it; our last full day here in China. We had Olivia’s consulate appointment where we would get her papers allowing her to enter the U.S. and become an American citizen. After the third time, I think I finally got the progression down.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Consulate has moved from a quick walk just down the street from the White Swan Hotel to a 30 minute bus ride from the hotel. This sucked. The old consulate was a cool old building that had an espionage/cold war vibe going on. You could picture it as the base for some serious spy type stuff. The new consulate is on the fourth floor of a glass office building in downtown Guangzhou between the local AIG Insurance Office and the Bank of China. It has no charm, which makes the ridiculous swearing in ceremony seem even less important. The one plus was that since this was our third one, Dorothy has finally not required me to dress up for the ceremony, so I was at least comfortably miserable in my shorts and t-shirt. I will say this, if Dorothy and I ever decide to adopt from China again, we will not be staying in the old White Swan, but will opt for a hotel in downtown Guangzhou near the new consulate, which will not only save us the bus ride there and back, but will also save us a ton of money in the process I am guessing. And if I am not accosted by souvenir salespeople everywhere I go, all the better.

That said, we were still thrilled to have Olivia take one step closer to coming home to our family in America. She was a champ during the interminable wait in the sterile office environment and has been growing more attached to us each day. We had a great day today overall but are a bit antsy about tomorrow’s very, very, very, very long flight schedule. We fly from Guangzhou to Beijing, have a three hour layover before flying non-stop to Newark. We keep having every Chinese speaking person we can find explain to Olivia that she is going to have to wear a seat belt through most of the day tomorrow. She keeps saying that she understands, but saying it and living it are two separate things.

Needless to say, tomorrow has all the makings of a helluva day. We are really looking forward to getting home to our two other kids which will hopefully help us keep the shenanigans that we may have to deal with tomorrow in perspective. It is highly doubtful that I will be able to post the final, summation diary entry before sometime over the weekend at the earliest. And that’s if everything goes well. I’m not sure what you do personally when you need to pass along some good karma to those that need it, but man, if you would send some good vibrations our way tomorrow every little bit helps. That’s about it for now, but before I go and try to sleep the sleep of a father who’s scared of what his child might do to him the next day, let me leave you with some parting thoughts:

Random, pointless observations.

When you have a kid who fancies herself a photographer, there is no greater invention than the digital camera that allows you to delete pictures on the fly.

I just read this in the People’s Daily newspaper here in China: a man has sued a t-shirt store for selling him a shirt with the English words “This Bitch Bites” on it. It seems that he could not speak or read what the shirt said and was confused as to why people were laughing at him as he walked down the street. Finally his girlfriend saw the shirt and explained to him what it said. The irate man has decided to seek redress (no pun intended) against the guy who sold him the shirt in court. That sound you just heard was a million class-action lawsuit attorneys sharpening their fangs at the prospect of the emergence of a litigious Chinese society with 1.5 billion potential plaintiffs.

I’m not a very good judge of character, but I do know one thing about people. If you are the type of person who videotapes the breakfast buffet in your hotel, please stay away from sharp objects and seek professional help immediately. And, just so you know, no matter how much they “ohh” and “ahh”, the people who you are forcing to sit through this footage are racking their brains with excuses to leave your house as soon as possible. I am sorry to be the one to break this to you.

One of the least pleasurable things one can do while on vacation is try to brush one’s teeth without access to potable water.

Potable is a cool word.

I saw the gateway to hell the other day in Hangzhou. There was a Pizza Hut with approximately a 30 person line out the door waiting to get in and a doorman controlling the crowd. Only Satan himself could be responsible for something this improbable.

Trust me when I tell you that your favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant that you love for its authenticity is nothing more than an American version of a Chinese restaurant. You want a real Chinese restaurant? You can’t handle a real Chinese restaurant.

One benefit to having a 6 year old who doesn’t understand what you are saying is that if you accidentally let an expletive fly, its not that big a deal.

Fearing flying with small children…