Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 11

Our consulate appointment date had finally arrived! After breakfast, we met our guide and another family and headed to the US Consulate. I was really happy to see the American flag! Cameras are not allowed in the consulate, so we only have a camera phone photo of the sign. This was taken after our appointment.

We were told that we couldn't bring anything in, so we did not bring any snacks in for Emma. That would have been fine, except all the other families brought snacks in for their children. Emma does not do well if other people have food and she does not. Since she was clearly well fed, I was really hoping we would escape the food issues that many orphans have. No such luck. She snacks A LOT and is happier if she has food available. Going into grocery stores is very challenging. I have not been able to make it through a store without opening up a package of food for her. She will share her food, once she has had enough. Food issues don't concern me at this point. An important component of building trust right now is meeting all of her eating needs. For right now, we will give her food whenever she wants it. At first, it may not always be the healthiest food. I know this sounds crazy, but it is what works. These issues should subside quickly once she really believes that she will be fed and taken care of by her family. It is also really important that we are the only ones to give her food right now. This helps her learn to trust and depend on us. If she still has these food issues after around three months home, then we will need to look at other ways to help her through it. Honestly, some orphans NEVER outgrow the need to always have food available. Many will hide food in their rooms or will hold bits of food in their mouth for hours. That always makes me sad.

Back to Emma, she was a bit wild and upset during our consulate appointment. It was so very enjoyable, or maybe not. So glad the boys were there to help entertain and to keep her contained in the room. Have I mentioned how much I am looking forward to the flight home? We had to wait a while in a room with a bunch of other families and with some other people who were not adopting (bet they loved being in that crazy room). Then all the adoptive parents had to stand and take an oath. After that, we were called to the window one by one. We were one of the last ones called. We handed over our packet of papers. They checked our documents, and Mark had to sign a document. Then we were done. It takes a day for the visa to be processed.

We decided to head out to Shamain Island. When there were a lot of adoptions going on from China, this island was the place to be. The consulate used to be there, and all the families stayed in the White Swan hotel. This hotel is currently closed for renovations. Our guide called it the Black Duck :-). There is some shopping there, and there is a restaurant that I had heard was good and served American food. I thought the boys would like that. We took the subway (yes, we took it all by ourselves - it is a well marked and easy to navigate system). We took the right exit out, but we didn't know which direction to go. We chose the wrong direction :-(. We did end up going the right direction, but we were feeling like it wasn't right. We tried to ask several people, but for some unknown reason, they do not speak English. We finally called our guide, handed my phone to a nice looking woman, and he was able to have her point us the way. We were actually really close. We finally made it to the famed "Lucy's" restaurant.

I can sum up this dining experience in a single word.....nasty. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone. Cade and Nate ordered a pizza to share. The tomato sauce on the pizza was ketchup, I kid you not. I had enchiladas that were really just wraps. That taste stayed with me for hours. None of us enjoyed this experience. It is one adoption-trip landmark I wished I had skipped.

At least we sat by a Texas license plate.

It is a really beautiful area. Lots of New Orleans' style buildings, beautiful flowers and greenery, and sculptures. It is a popular area for wedding photographs, and we saw several brides being photographed.

We have created a stroller pushing monster. Don't even think about touching it while she is pushing it.

We stopped at a little park to play for a bit.

Chase told us the other day that he wants to adopt someday. That made us both so proud and happy. He really is such a great kid, and I am so proud of him.

Nope, you can't take the stroller with you up the stairs.

The rest of this day will have to come after we are home. It is after midnight here, and we leave at 6 in the morning. We have really loved our time in China but are all ready to be home.

- Jenna

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