Day 10 – The first airplane ride
Within a week, the little lives we have been charged with have gone from having almost no contact with the outside world, to the breakfast buffet at the Hilton and then a ride on what might as well be a huge metal bird in their little eyes. The purpose of the stay in Zhengzhou was to finish all the paperwork required for the Chinese government for the adoption. With the completion of Little Li’s passport, it was now time to move on to Guangzhou in order to head down the American side of the paperwork mountain (insert audible sigh…) I think its safe to say that none of us were excited to board the plane to head to Guangzhou. While it moved us closer to our goal of getting home, we now had nine additional children in our care to move through airport security. We knew it was inevitable that one family was probably in for a major meltdown mid-air. It was just a matter of who it would be. The nice thing was that we knew we were in it together, and would have at least six other sympathetic families on the flight.
Imagine 15 adults, 13 children and 7 carts FULL of luggage moving through an airport security check. Now add the fact that we don’t speak the language. The line doesn’t move quickly! Thankfully our guides Yisha and Vivian were at our side to help us through the process. Thanks to Mom’s small set of travel scissors, I think she now has an official record with the equivalent of the Chinese TSA. (She must not have looked too threatening, because we FINALLY got through and they even gave her the scissors back.)
From there we boarded the shuttle bus out to the plane. Most of of the airports we have been to do not have direct boarding into the terminal. You board a bus to get on (and off) the plane. For families that means you get to load the the carry-on luggage, strollers and children TWICE for every leg of the journey. Yay! (insert sarcasm..)
With the exception of a spilled drink and the ever present threat of boredom for little Hulaloo, our flight was pretty smooth. Hubby and Mimi sat together while I sat with the girls. I had an arsenal of treats and activities for take off and landing, but really didn’t need much. She did great. She even smiled and clapped when we landed. (I think she may have an adventurous spirit.) Whew! We were not the family with the meltdown, although our group definitely had one.
Jason our guide for Guangzhou was waiting for us and filled us in on some facts about the city as we made our way to our home for the week. Guangzhou is in southern China and not far from Hong Kong (which only has 9 million people.) It has a very tropical climate and is currently in what is called the rainy season. Guangzhou is the 5th largest city in China. It is called home by 19 million natives and another 10 million that have chosen to move here. The total is 29 million. To put that in perspective, New York city has about 8.5 million, total. NYC is a little village compared to this place!
Guangzhou is the last stop for all Americans adopting in China. While there are a few US embassies in China, only the consulate in Guangzhou processes visas. It is the busiest visa center in the world. It processes on average 2000 A DAY. Earlier this summer they had computer issues for four days which put them about 10,000 visas behind. They are still catching up.
Our primary focus while here will be to get a physical exam, a visa and then be sworn in as a citizen. Much to do, but much to gain! Time is flying by, but we are also excited to get home as soon as we can.
Until next time!