Friday, March 22, 2013

China Trip - Post 15 - Leaving Guangzhou for Hong Kong, on to Japan and then home!

** Like my last post, I am posting this once home. We didn't have Internet access for the last two days of the trip. So I am posting this on my first full day home (Friday).

Wow...hard to believe we have reached the end of the journey. I think each of us are a bit weary and ready to be home, sleeping in our own beds (the beds in China were smaller and harder than we are used to). I am ready for Mia to be in a regular environment now instead of constantly getting in different kinds of vehicles, eating in a different restaurant each night, etc. My little girl needs to be in her forever home and start living her new life.

We spent the morning sleeping in and enjoying the last of our glorious buffet breakfasts. We all needed to get repacked for international travel (ah, the plastic bags...), and get showered and organized to head out and home.

Sarah picked us up at 3:00 and we said goodbye to the Garden (I have included some photos of the waterfalls and koi ponds behind the Garden hotel - so pretty and peaceful - this was our view each morning at breakfast). We went by van to the train station where we waited with two other adoptive families while our guides went to the US Consulate to pick up our paperwork and new children's passports - with their exit visas. Once Sarah came back with the all important sealed brown envelope for immigration (to be delivered to immigration upon arrival at Dulles Airport, Washington, DC), we headed to Burger King for our lunch (yuk - and by the way, they weren't too happy to "have it your way" here in China).

It was sad to say goodbye to Sarah. What a sweet lady and so knowledgeable. She took such good care of us. I shed a few tears saying goodbye and then we were off to catch our train. A bit exhausting getting all the luggage to the very last car on the train and then traveling with a cranky little one who didn't want to sit still. We arrived about two hours later in the center of Hong Kong (not sure of city name but it is a huge city). After quite the ordeal to find our way through the station and more security (it never ends), we made our way to our hotel. Just across the street proved much more difficult than it seemed (our hotel was just across from the train station). The crowd was quite difficult to walk through and we had to walk up an overpass and through a mall to get to the hotel lobby.

Our hotel rooms there were quite tiny and we were wall-to-wall people, beds, and suitcases. No big deal as we were just sleeping and leaving early in the morning. We caught a bus to the airport (about an hour's drive) early in the am. Then more security and catching a plane to Tokyo (bummer, smaller plane without little personal TVs - requiring me to provide lots of entertainment). Then an hour til our connection in Tokyo. Thankfully the final plane was a biggie (with personal tvs - yay!) and John, Mia and I were together in the last row (more leg room, closer to bathroom - Mia made many trips - and lots of special attention from the airline hostesses)

Our flight was 12 hours from there and it went very well. I slept maybe an hour or so here and there, Mia slept several hours. She watched tv and LOVED having headphones (think she felt like a big kid since she'd seen the bigs wear theirs throughout the week).

Mia slept through landing and becoming a US Citizen. She is an American, a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, and cousin - an orphan no more!

We arrived in the afternoon and of course got tagged for extra security checks (ugh). After finally making it to the door of the airport (and digging out our coats - who knew it would be so cold on the first day of Spring in DC??), John took a cab over to the hotel (remember this trip started out with a few day's stay in a DC hotel?)to get our van. Can't begin to tell you how great it was to finally be in our van and heading home...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

China Trip - Post 14 - Consulate appointment and a trip to the zoo

** I am just getting around to doing our last two trip posts. I had written this one and had planned to do the photos on our last day but had no computer access on Wednesday and Thursday as we were traveling to Hong Kong, staying there overnight and then traveling home all day Thursday.

Well, today was a big day. This morning was our consulate appointment. The final paperwork hoop (til we get home and begin the post-placement reports!). We, and many other families, sat in a crowded room and swore an oath together heck...I can't even remember...something about all our paperwork being truthful and legal and that these children will be our responsibility.

Each family was then called up to an embassy representative to hand in the final paperwork for approval and the filling out of a few more things (like social security applications). Tomorrow Mia Ting's visa will be picked up and we will be on our way home. She will be a citizen of the USA as soon as the plane touches down at Dulles Airport!

After the appointment (sorry no cameras allowed in the office), we headed to the zoo to visit the animals. Lots of walking and photographs later we headed home for naps and rest before dinner. Dinner was our favorite yet - yummy dumplings, noodles, lamb, and a few other tasty dishes. Enjoy the photos (I even included one of the squatty potty at the zoo - it was not a very clean one like the one I used the other day!). Tomorrow we will sleep in and get a late breakfast. We check out at 2:30pm and head to the train station for the start of our journey home. We will take the train to Hong Kong where we will spend the night and morning, then catch the plane to Tokyo, Japan and then our connecting (long) flight to Washington, DC.

It's been quite a journey to our daughter and we have gotten to do and see so much. Thank you God for this amazing adoption adventure - the true adventure is only just beginning!!

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