Sunday, January 31, 2010


Finally, a day to rest.

We all needed this day to just hang out and do nothing. We were exhausted after the last 3 days so I can't imagine how tired Claire was. We slept in and talked with the kids at home over webcam for a long time before having a late breakfast.

We went to the shopping mall next door and bought Claire new shoes. They cost WAY too much being that we're in the country that most things are made in. But, the shoes that Claire came to us were worn out and I feel bad that we didn't get her new shoes before the last two days of touring. We didn't realize how little padding her shoes had in the bottom.  She told our guide over the phone later today that she likes her new shoes.  She said her old ones were too small and that is why her feet hurt but the new ones are bigger and feel better.  That makes the price totally worth it.

Today is the first day Claire has actually gotten a nap. It is normal in this culture to take a nap every day after lunch; they even base their business schedules around nap time. We noticed her getting tired around 12 so we grabbed some lunch from next door and then laid down. She has now been asleep for 2.5 hours. Part of me says she needs it so we need to let her sleep but the mom in me says her little feisty self is going to be up all night now.

Tid-bits from family day that I was too tired to write out.

I was surprised to hear we would be going to the orphanage to receive Claire because they have not allowed visitors for almost a year. I really thought we'd get here and learn that we weren't' actually able to go to the orphanage and receive her in our hotel instead but that didn't happen.

The ride to her orphanage was very eye-opening. We saw parts of the city that I wasn't expecting. I've seen pictures of the orphanage before our trip and it looked very nice so I guess I expected the area around it to be nice or OK but it wasn't. There was trash piled everywhere and the make-shift buildings that the people lived in was very humbling.

When we got to the orphanage the guard did not want to let us in. Our guide had to call the person inside the orphanage and then transfer the phone to the guard who then let us in. But before opening the gate he had to scan all of us for our temperature; thank goodness none of us were running a fever!

We only saw the lobby of the orphanage but it was huge, beautiful and spotless. We did not see or hear any other children. We gave the worker the big bag of mittens and hats and our guide explained what it was. The orphanage worker was very confused but I think she understood after a little bit.

Later that afternoon we went to the civil affairs office to formally adopt Claire and register the adoption. In most other provinces you get the adoption decree about 30 minutes but here they make you wait and won't tell you when it will be ready. We found out yesterday that the worker was quite rude with out guide and said he would call when it was ready. The passport needs to be applied for on Monday to be ready on Friday so the passport isn't what holds up the adoption in this city- it is the adoption decree being ready.

A few things we've learned about here:

Back in the 1940's the leaders thought the bigger the population, the more power a country had so they encouraged couples to have more children. The more children you had the more privileges you were given. But then the population exploded and in the late 70's they instituted the one child policy. It's been changed a bit since then but right now it is:
Live in the city you get 1 child.
Live in the rural area and your first child is a girl you can try again in 8 years. Even if the second child is a girl, you are done.
Farmers who have a girl first may try again in 5 years but still, two is all you get.
Minority group are allowed to have more children, I think it was up to 3 without any penalty.

Tomorrow (Monday) we are going back to the civil affairs office with our guide to pick up the adoption decree. We don't know if it is ready but our guide said we just need to go there in person and basically tell them we need it. Yea, I'm real comfortable with that. Hopefully it will be done and we can then go to the notary and apply for Claire's passport. I think we're going to ask our guide to take us to the zoo a day before we leave. We had a one guide the first two days we were here and then our newer guide took over. They have both been great but our newer guide is willing to do anything for us; even offered to take us to find cheaper shoes and drop off our laundry by her apartment. She will be with our group in Guangzhou as well so we really lucked out!

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