3 years, 4 months, 24 days (but who's counting) after we decided to do this, we have arrived at the final hurdle. According to the People's Republic of China, Cassie is our daughter. That's all well and good, but we can't take her home yet. She's still not a U.S. citizen, and won't be until we land in L.A. But she can't enter the U.S. without a Visa issued against her Chinese passport. Details, details. So here we are at a large office building that houses many things, one of which is the Consulate General of the United States. Any Chinese citizen wishing to enter the U.S. must come to this office in Guangzhou to be issued a Visa. Cassie is no exception, even though she is officially our daughter.
I guess the office we need to see is on the 5th floor, according to this guide in the front lobby of the building.
Along the way, we pass by some of our federal bailout dollars. Probably the closest I'll ever get to them.
Follow this sign. Go left.
Getting closer. Follow this sign. Right after this we pass a security checkpoint, where I have to surrender my camera :( he swearing in ceremony would have made for a nice shot. The consulate was looking for explicit approval, meaning they wanted to see the home study specifically state that we were "approved for adopting a special needs child". It didn't say that, so as of yesterday, the brakes were on the whole deal. Yikes. So we waited until 9am EST (9pm local time in China) and called our social worker. She had just delivered a baby of her own, and was out of the office. (Congratulations to you Lorie if you're reading this!) We were able to reach a colleague of hers who was able to correct the wording and forward same to the consulate here in Guangzhou. So right on time today, we were sworn in on behalf of Cassie (who still struggles with tongue-twisting phrases like "do solemny swear"). Thanks a million to Peggy at Child and Parent Services! You saved our bacon today. .
Just outside the consulate office stands the tallest building in Guangzhou. Based on the number of floors and the relative height of the spire, I estimate this at about 1/3 mile high.
Later that day, Cassie gets her first ride in a stroller. This is progress for her. She has been very resistant to being away from Mommy. Yesterday she let Daddy carry her all day long, even falling asleep along the way. She also recently allowed herself to be placed in a highchair for dinnertime. She's growing right before our very eyes. We're going to have to put a stop to that :) We can't have our baby growing up on us, now can we
Yes, they have these little #$%^&*!s here too.
Earlier the same day, we pose for the famous "Red Couch Photos". This is a White Swan Hotel tradition. Everyone comes here to have their photos taken on the Red Couches on the 2nd floor.
Train wreck. Someone had the bright idea to put 8 babies on the couch alone (no Mommies or Daddies) for a picture. 7 actually made it into this photo. This attempt lasted about 5 minutes. The kids quickly approached critical mass, setting off Geiger counters several miles away, so the mission was aborted.
Let's try again, this time with the mommies. Much better.
Left to right:
Stranger #1, Sonny, Cassie, Sherry, Sarah, Shen, Stranger #2, and Stranger #3. This photo was at the request of the 3 strangers.
Non-sequitor alert: This is a 10 foot Jade statue. Very cool. It is almost certainly not 100% Jade but still, very cool. More posing. This is our Great Wall China Adoption travel group.
And this is our precious little baby girl, Cassie Noel Spring.
Well, at least one of us is happy in this photo. Cassie is OK with Daddy holding her, but not when Mommy is in plain sight.
No, this is not a photo taken from jail. This is Daddy standing on one side of a large birdcage holding lovebirds. Mommy and Cassie are on the other side. Cassie is fascinated with the birds. She squeals in a high-pitched voice that is almost a match for the birds.
Princess Cassie in her traditional Chinese outfit. Pure silk. Very pretty. And an absolute bargain at only 55 yuan, or roughly $8.
OK, enough of this photo stuff. Let's walk back to the room.
I like to walk. It makes me smile.
I dare ANYONE to look at this photo for more than 5 seconds and not fall in love. Go ahead. Try.
7 hours ago