Well, it's been a couple of days of sightseeing and more to come. Why are we still in CQ, you ask? Well, we have to wait until the notaries are finished making multiple copies of several important booklets that we need to bring to Guangzhou in order to complete the adoption. The notary books will include the official birth certificate, adoption certificate and finally the certificate of abandonment, which certifies that an attempt was made to find the birth parents (we were given a copy of the ad that was in the newspaper).
As far as the Chinese government is concerned, the adoption was full and final as of Tuesday afternoon when we signed several forms and got our official adoption certificate (yay!). This is different from last time in that we received JieJie and did all the provincial paperwork all at once. This time, we received MeiMei at the Civil Affairs Office and returned the second day to do the paperwork. So Tuesday there we all were again in the "delivery room" where families are born, and this time the mood was much calmer. Each of the nine families had an official photo taken. Then we signed statements affirming that we intend to make our daughters permanent members of our family, that we would never abuse or mistreat them, and that we promise to provide the best education possible. If we were Chinese people, we would have a chop (like a stamp made of stone) to use for our signature, but since we didn't have that, we each dipped our thumbs in red ink and put our thumbprints over our signatures to make things official. MeiMei's index finger is also stamped on the document (her first attempt got a little smeared so it's on there twice just to be sure).
We gave a small gift to the notaries (some parents started this tradition years ago and now it's considered de rigeur), two nice pens with American flags on them, and they gave MeiMei a glass sculpture that says "Hometown Chongqing" on it. Then we got our leather-bound adoption certificate and we were on our way to do some more sightseeing. We went down to the Chaotianmen docks where the Jialing River meets the Yangtze River. We'll be there again Sunday night because Richard has planned for us to take a dinner cruise.
John told you where we were yesterday - the shopping here is so much fun. The exchange rate makes it even more enjoyable! The plan for today is to visit a traditional village to see small town Chinese life. We were going to go to Dazu today but all of us agree it's just too far (2 hours each way) with the little ones, so we're taking it a little easy. Tomorrow I don't think there's anything special on the itinerary for the group, but we're looking forward to dinner with our friend Can Deng's parents. Can (say "Tsan") is a JMU graduate who came to play with JieJie once a week, only in Chinese, for over a year and we are very fond of her. When she graduated from JMU her parents came, we met them and they said tolook them up if we were near Chengdu, Sichuan where they live. That's about 3 hours from here. They're going to meet us for dinner here and Richard agreed to translate - above and beyond his responsibilities, so we are very thankful. Saturday we go to Liangping to visit the orphanage. Sunday night is the dinner cruise, Monday we leave, Tuesday medical exam, Wednesday consulate appointment, Thursday get MeiMei's visa, Friday we leave. It's going so fast and I know I'm not going to want to leave China.
Well the big news this morning is that MeiMei did not cry when John went to get her out of her crib - YAAAAAYYYY! She let him give her a bottle and just seems a lot more comfortable around him. Our photos show her crying when he holds her until the last photo taken this morning of her in his lap having someformula. She is such a wonderful little girl. She's very alert, has a sweet disposition, very easy going, is good on the bus rides (a new experience for us) and likes to snuggle. She's made up a game where she says "Ba" and we say "Ba" and we go back and forth like that for a long time. She thinks it's great that she can get us to respond. She is also right on the cusp of walking. She tried this morning to walk from Daddy to me and fell down but got up again, no tears. She is determined. She's a good sleeper, sleeps through the night. We want her to drink more water/juice but that'll come. The other eight families are doing very well too - all of the babies were so healthy, nobody got sick this time around. Some of the babies have taken longer to warm up to one or both parents but there's nothing truly worrisome going on, and experience tells us it will get better every day.
Well, better go - can't wait to tell you about our trip today - by the way,two years ago we got a lot more stares when we were out in public,by ourselves or with the baby. It seems there have been many more foreigners visiting since then, and we are not such a big deal. Liangping will probably be another story. For background, read themessage from our last trip about Hechuan. Have a great day, Mom hug JieJie for me! Louise