Monday, June 23, 2008


Today has been both busy and relaxing. It was relaxing in that we all enjoyed another fine breakfast—this time with a window view of the Pearl River and all of its morning boating activities. Most of us had a chance to exercise in an attempt to burn-off our high calorie breakfast. Bill and Cole were back on the squash court again and were joined later by Piper. I got into the mix at some point and played a few games with Bill. At about 10:00 a.m., I joined the members from the rest of our group because we needed to complete about 10 more pages of paperwork that allowed us to get our child’s visa for the United States and initiate the citizenship process. It is a lot like buying a house. Very smart people tell you what you are signing and where to put your name and you proceed in blind trust. So, Luke will either be a U.S. citizen by the end of the week or I authorized the government to double my taxes. At this point, I am still not sure how it will end up. I joined our family back at the pool for a few lazy hours in the sun—it is very, very hot here. Melissa and Shelby and I then left the hotel at 3:00 p.m. with the other adoptive families to go get visa photos made and to complete mandatory medical exams for Luke. The entire process, for photos and medical exams, for 12 children took 45 minutes. So, do the math, and you can surmise that the medical exams were not terribly in depth. Pretty much ear, nose, throat checks (all clear for Luke), a check of heart and lungs (all clear for Luke), and a check of height (77 cm or about 30 inches), weight (9.4 kilos or 20.5 lbs) and temperature (a cool 97.4 deg F). So, we think he is fine. We then caught up with Bill and Linda and the girls and headed down to Lucy’s, a “Western” style cafĂ©, for an early supper. Most of the meal’s were okay. The fried onion rings were excellent, as were the fries. There were tons of adoptive families there as well, most of whom we did not know. I may have mentioned that the hotel we are staying at is somewhat of a “clearing house” for adoptions. My guess is that there are probably 50 families here per day that are adopting. So, it is just amazing to see the babies and children and to hear their stories from very excited parents. After dinner, we took another stroll for some “shopping”. We stopped in Jordon’s, the store that had offered really good prices as compared to what Bill and Cole had paid for a few items yesterday. We were able to meet Jordon himself. Once he back-pedaled from “your daughter is beautiful” to “my, he is a handsome boy” I knew we would have fun with him. When Linda told him Luke’s name, he said “Oh, like in the Bible!”. Linda said “Yes!”, to which Jordon said “I am a Christian” to which Linda replied “Praise Jesus”. Jordon had become a believer when he was 10 years old (probably 50 now) through one of his teachers. So, we spent a lot of time and a lot of RMBs in his store. He even printed the calligraphy for the Chinese sounds for Luke’s name. He indicated that the sound for “Lu” is “blessed” and that the sound for “ke” is “healthy”. I may have those reversed in my memory, but close enough for those of us who cannot speak or read any form of the Chinese language. Somewhere in the shopping experience we hit Starbucks for the second time in as many days in Guangzhou. Some members of the family just cannot live without their caffeine fix (Missy and Cole). We then returned to the hotel for another rousing game of hearts and a rather lengthy, very heart-warming and hopefully not expensive call from cousin/niece Libby in NC. Everyone is in bed now and I need to find badminton on television. So, tomorrow it is off to the pearl markets—just send your credit card numbers and then an adoptive group dinner at a Thai place. Twelve babies in a Thai restaurant—can you say, “It seemed like a good idea at the time”. We will let you know how it goes.

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