We are home at the White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island, Guangzhou, for the remainder of the trip. Every American family adopting from China has to come to Guangzhou for the last week of their trip, to accomplish paperwork for the US side of the adoption, because the US Consulate is down here. And we have stayed at the White Swan for our Guangzhou portion of every trip (two weeks for Daniel, since his orphanage was in a district of Guangzhou). And we are NOT complaining – this is a beautiful 5-star hotel, with an amazing breakfast buffet!
We have now met the rest of our travelgroup. There are 7 of us families here with Families Thru International Adoption (FTIA). We have all been in our children's specific provinces for the past week, and are now ready to tackle the Guangzhou portion of our trip. The seven children who have now joined their forever families consist of a 9-month old girl, a one-year old boy, two 2-year old boys, a 3-year old girl (guess who), a 6-year old girl, and a 7-year old girl. They are all at different stages of adjusting to their new circumstances, but they are all precious!
The first piece of business we had to accomplish this morning was having the children's pictures taken, to apply for their US visas. We received Zibing's Chinese passport yesterday, and the visa will allow her to travel into the US, and then once she steps foot on American soil she will be a US citizen! This girl likes having her picture taken, so even though she did not smile for them, taking the visa picture was not bad.
We all then headed to the dreaded Medical Exam. Even though Zibing was poked and prodded by 5 different nurses and doctors in three different rooms, she was a trooper and didn't cry once during all that (and even laughed through some of it). She DID cry, however, when she had to get shots. Some laws have changed since our last adoption (we've never had to get shots for our children here before) , and the child's shots have to be up-to-date before they can enter the US. (There are groups trying right now in the US to get this new law changed.) Zibing had to get 6 shots. She and I both cried through it. Mine and Jas' ideas about vaccinations have changed a lot in the last several years, and this is the last thing that we would want to have done to Zibing...but we would not be able to bring her into the US otherwise. We prayed the Lord's protection over her...and thankfully she seems to be doing fine.
After the medical exam, we stopped at the exercise park here on Shamian Island on our walk back to our hotel. Elisabeth and Zibing had a good time and it was fun to watch them. It appeared that Zibing had never been on a slide before – but she discovered that she likes them!
Several of you have asked in e-mails if we are calling her Zibing, since I've been referring to her that way in posts. Yes, we are calling her Zibing right now. Our plan, like with our other children, will be to call her her new name combined with her original one (Lily Kay Zibing) for a while, and then eventually drop the Zibing. But right now she just seems like a “Zibing”, not a “Lily Kay”, and so we really haven't even been trying to make the switch at all yet. She very much knows her name...it is precious to hear and see her delight when she sees a picture of herself (on our computer, or on adoption paperwork, etc.)....she points and says “(various and assorted Chinese words) Yan Zi Bing.” So, we'll see...
This girl is smart. (Of course, I've always thought that about all my children, but I really don't think I'm just being biased.) And she is very inquisitive. (Which made it real interesting when we went shopping after naps today!) I'd checked a couple of books out of the library about Sensory Integration Dysfunction (common in adopted children), and I'd re-read big portions of our Adoption Parenting book at home, and we'd done 10 hours of Parent Education for our homestudy....preparing ourselves unnecessarily it appears. But we subscribe to the motto of all good adoptive parents: “Prepare for the worst, and pray for the best.” Children who have been institutionalized often have developmental delays, and their chronological age won't match their developmental age. This does not appear to be the case at all for Zibing. Her gross and fine motor skills are great. Her ability to learn and remember new things is excellent, and her ability to attend to a task seems very good for her age. She can count to 7 in English by herself now (thanks to Ten Little Ladybugs) and it sounds adorable with her accent! (I heard her counting in the teens in Chinese yesterday, which I think seems great for her age.)
All my babies are waking up now, so I better wrap this up. We did catch a picture of Zibing puckering up today, before she learned how to do it right!