Yesterday was a busy day! We had Jia’s medical appointment and Visa photo in the morning, so we had to go across town to the Visa office. We arrived, and they took about 5 minutes to get all of our pictures, then we went upstairs to the medical area. Any Chinese person who wants a Visa has to come to the same place, and also get their pictures taken and a medical check, so there were hundreds of people there, waiting. They have a special area just for adoptive families, which is nice, but it made me feel bad for the people who had to wait in the chaotic large room. Our guides went to complete our paperwork and we hung out and waited. Jia was a wild child, running between Josh and I and cackling. She was so funny! We waiting about 20 minutes and then suddenly a doctor and a few nurses showed up and they were ready to go. The medical check consists of three different stations in three different exam rooms, a general screening, where the doctor looked at her spine, hands, feet, etc, listened to her heart and lungs, kind of like a well visit. Then we moved to the ENT, and he checked over her ears, nose and throat, and then we went to see the nurses for her height and weight check. She was cleared and healthy as can be.
The last part of the exam is the least fun… the blood draw for the TB test. It has been long standing protocol that parents are not allowed in the room with their kids while they’re getting their blood drawn, and I think there are reasons for that, although it’s against my natural inclination. Alas, there is nothing you can do about it, so we prepped Jia as best we could, and the nurses came and got her, and took her into the room. She made not one peep and it was over in 3 minutes, so it sounded a lot worse then it was. We greeted her with suckers and snuggles and she was okay after about 10 minutes, although I think it’s the most subdued I’ve seen her yet.
Then we headed back to the hotel for lunch and naptime. We were going to try this Middle Eastern place we had read was good, but we got there and it was not open, or something? We’re still not really sure. So then we walked a little further for noodles and they were PACKED, so that is how it came to pass that I threw a mini temper tantrum in the middle the sidewalk of Guangzhou. I’d hit my limit. I was DONE. I wanted to be able to look around and at least be able to understand my options, or have a chance of someone speaking English who could help me. I believe I was the very definition of hangry. My brain was kicking and screaming on the floor, unable to see past the CRISIS in front of me to the options that I actually had, and I felt totally frozen in indecision. Long story short, we ended up back at the hotel, at Starbucks, eating over priced, under good sandwiches, but at least we were caffeinated and fed. Sometimes, that’s enough. And in the end, Jia took a looooooong nap, and that was much needed rest time for all of us. If you’re reading this and yet to travel, you will likely have a moment like this, too, and when you do, you can think back to this post and realize you’re not alone. This adoption trip is wonderful, but it’s HARD and overwhelming and weird. Throwing mental temper tantrums in the street is a thing, and it’s just part of the experience. Solidarity, friends. Tomorrow will be a new day.
So, that night, reasonably rested and slightly more mentally stable, we went to the Pearl River Cruise. Unbeknownst to me, so did like, all the other adoptive families in Guangzhou and I was delighted to run into my friend Kasey and Tracy and to make my Internet friends into real friends. That, and so many other friendships I’ve made on the adventure, will go down as some of my biggest, most loved gifts. It was so great to get to hug the actual necks of people I have only seen on FB, and they were just as lovely in person as in pixels.
The Pearl River is the 4th largest in China, and we did a loop, basically, passing Shaiman Island, and the cable tower, and many other beautifully lit hotels, bridges and buildings. It was really fun and Jia had a ball, so it ended up being a great night.
Yesterday ended up being a mixed bag of emotions, from worry, to grief, to joy and contentment. Welcome to adoption and parenting, and international travel, right? Today is better, and I got to go shopping, so HEY.
3 more days, and tomorrow is the Consulate appointment, the VERY LAST PIECE OF THE POLLARDS GET TO GO HOME PUZZLE. Think I’m excited much?! Spoiler…. I AM.