Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yes, I Cried!

Okay, I will immediately admit that I cried today. Of course, everyone in our group laughed about "my allergies" but even our Chinese guide new better and said, in perfect Chinglish, "No, no, Misser Nitch-uhl-sun, you kwy-ing". Today was the day we took the "oath" on behalf of Mack that allows him to be a legal immigrant and become a U.S. citizen. Actually, the "oath" sounds impressive but it is really just us raising our right hand, along with maybe 50 other families, to affirm that everything we have written about ourselves and Mack is true. So, it was what happened in advance, over the last 18 months (in our case) that really mattered. So, basically I begin crying when the gal said raise your right hand. I barely repeated a coherent word of the "repeat after me"--thankfully Melissa was the rock or else they might not let Mack in the U.S.

Backing up, we arrived at the U.S. Consulate after a 35 minute bus ride. You might have a picture in your mind of a stately mansion or government building surrounded by a tall fence protected by armed guards. Instead, imagine pulling up to a business office in the downtown of a moderately sized US city. Take a few escalator rides up about three levels, show your passport, walk through a metal detector, and you are in the immigration office of the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, Peoples Republic odf China. We then waited for about 30 minutes for an agent to say "CCAI (our agency), parents of Guo Yuhui, please go to window 23". The agent compared copies of our passports submitted with the immigration application to our actual passports just to make sure we were the real parents per China's records. I then signed one last document and we returned to our seat. After another 30 minutes, the adoption director of the consulate came out to speak to all the families. She, I believe, is an American of Asian decent, and along with her staff of about five people, they will process about 3,000 adoptions this year. About 65 per cent of the adoptions are for children with special needs. Other U.S. Consulate offices around rthe world process another 7,000 adoptions a year. A few years ago, the Consulate in China processed maybe 7,000 adoptions and only 30 per cent (or so) were special needs. So, the trend is fewer babies being placed and more placed (as a per centage) with special needs. She proceeded to walk us through "Frequently Asked Questions". The one thing that really struck me was when she said "When you are in a foreign country, and you have lost your passport, or you are in a hospital, or you otherwise stuck, WE WILL HELP YOU (emphasis mine)". It may not seem like much, but when you are far from home, it is nice to know that the arm of Uncle Sam works mightily through a 5 foot 4 inch Amer-Asian woman. I almost started to belt out "God Bless America" but she got us started on the "oath" which is probably why I was softened enough to cry. Hey, when you are a long way from the place you want to be, and the people you want to be with, even a rock like me is gonna crack.
We fly to Hong Kong late Wednesday night and fly home Thursday evening. This is likely the last entry until we hit Pumpkin Festival. Warm- up the Neil Diamond baby, "We're Coming to America!"
Dave and Missy and Mack (sometimes Yu Hui and sometimes Luke when I forget which Asian I am shouting for).

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