Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Day 20 –Oath Ceremony & River Boat cruise (short version)
~Long bus ride
~Pearl River boat ride
~Fun with friends
Day 20 –Oath Ceremony & River Boat cruise (long version)
We are nearing the end of our journey… today is the day of our Oath Ceremony at the U.S. Consulate. The oath was scheduled for the afternoon, so the morning was spent organizing some of our belongings and starting the packing process for us to leave in a couple days.
Everyone in our group met in the lobby of the hotel and were then bussed to the Consulate. The ride there took close to an hour, a rather long drive with many new babies and children in tow. Especially considering the Consulate used to be located right next to the White Swan Hotel, within walking distance. Oh how I wish they would never have moved. Sigh… The Consulate itself is very private and secure, and is located in a rather non-descript building in the city. We were told not to bring any belongings other than a small baby bag with a bottle and a couple toys. We were not allowed to take cameras, phones, or any other digital devices in with us. So, with the bare minimum supplies we made our way up to the fourth floor and found a seat in the lobby area of the Consulate office.
The lobby was filled with many other families, not only from our agency, but from at least six other agencies as well. We all waited patiently (we had nothing else to do) and chatted with each other about the ups and downs of the first week together as a family. It was so neat to see all of the children and to share in so much joy. Eventually, each family was called up to a window, one-by-one, and asked to verify information in the official adoption paperwork. The time at the window was minimal, just about a minute or two, then we returned to our seats and continued chatting with the other families. After about an hour or so, after all of the families had gone to the window, a lady came out to talk with us. She shared some details about the adoption process, the number of children adopted, and the number of consulate appointments they tend to do during the summer months (many!). Finally, she had all of us stand and raise our right hands for the oath. It was short, sweet, and honestly with all of the paperwork that we had completed, just a formality.
Following the oath, we piled back onto the bus and made our way back to the hotel for a bit of rest before a fun evening out with the rest of the families. The plan for the evening was to take a nice boat ride on the Pearl River. Last time we were here we were served dinner on board, and I do remember that the dinner left a lot to be desired. Fortunately, the Holt guides learned this fact over the last few years, so they gave us another option. We put in an order for Papa John’s Pizza… in China! Who knew?!?!? Once we arrived at the boat, our pizzas were delivered and we boarded the boat. The pizza was just like what we would get back home and tasted delicious (and the glass of beer was just what we needed after a hot day!). On a funny note, the “Engrish” that we see throughout China does make us laugh. The “No Somking” sign was another funny reminder that some things are really lost in translation.
The boat ride was beautiful. We made our way up the river and eventually passed the White Swan Hotel. The lights on the buildings surrounding the river were gorgeous, mirrored in the river, glistening as we rode by. We thoroughly enjoyed our time mingling with the other families on the boat, some with whom we have become good friends. I loved talking again with the families and learning about how well most of our little ones are growing more and more comfortable with their new families. This process is just amazing, and the resiliency of the children is absolutely amazing. After about a two-hour ride, the boat docked and we were taken back to the hotel. With the heat of the day, some of us met in the pool for a refreshing evening dip. About four families met at the pool, a perfect ending to a nice day.
(The Ladybug enjoying the boat ride)
(Some of our Holt friends)
(The Ladybug hanging with her friends)
Our time in China is winding down. We only have two more days until we leave. I do know that tomorrow will be spent packing and last minute shopping. Wow, I cannot believe that we are almost to the end of this journey. The baby Butterfly is blessing us every day with more smiles and giggles. I am so happy and thankful that we chose to bring this bay girl into our lives. I am so in love with her and truly cannot believe how much she has enriched our lives already. Thank you Lord, for blessing us with our little Butterfly.