Today we went first to the orphanage and finally got rid of our donations.  After that we went to see the Great Wall.  The kids and I went quite a ways but some of the steps were half Aidan's height and he got tired.

We also went to a jade factory where the salespeople work very hard to relieve visitors of their money.  I bought a ring for LB and it is in place of a senior class ring-so much better, anyway.

On the way back we drove through the Olympic Village which was clean and impressive.  I don't think I've mentioned that Beijing is under a constant cloud of smog, but blue sky does not exist here.  Beijing could also be any cosmopolitan city anywhere in the world if not for the people.  It has almost entirely modern architecture and all of the signs are in both Chinese and English.

We ate lunch at a Korean restaurant near the hotel where the ladies spoiled Aidan rotten, then went to a 711 and stocked up on beverages and snacks.  Both kids fell asleep at 2:30 in the afternoon and didn't wake until morning.

Gardens at the Great Wall-I just love gardens


The three of us with the sun in our eyes


The kids checking out the view


 
 

Another very long day.  Our guide and I left at 7:40 for the U.S. Embassy.  Aidan had to stay with LB because as a non-citizen he cannot enter the premises.  They could not help us and said that only the Chinese embassy in the U.S. could.  But we tried the Chinese embassy in Beijing just in case, and they confirmed that they could not help us.  So we returned to the hotel, did a flurry of copying and faxing, and arranged for a FedEx pickup of our Power of Attorney to be sent to the courier in D.C.  From there we went to the bank to get a USD bank check for the fee and after waiting half an hour found out that only the main office could do it.  So we were off to the main office where it took over an hour to get a bank check.  Getting a taxi back was a problem, but eventually we arrived at the hotel about five minutes after the FedEx guy did, managed to find the right part of the building where he was, and got the forms off in the mail with the check.  They should reach the courier Wednesday morning, so they could be back here by Friday morning.  That will mean at least a week's delay in our adoption, though, and it will mean that we stay here alone without our travel mates.

 
 

Today was long and unsuccessful for us.  We went to the Civil Affairs Office where they would not accept our Power of Attorney.  It was authenticated by the state, as our agency told us it should be, but Beijing will not accept state authentications.  We couldn't go to the U.S. consulate because they were closed for Columbus Day, so tomorrow we'll see if they can help.  In the mean time, my travel mate got all of her paperwork taken care of.  It was a LONG day-we left at 8:15 and didn't get back until almost 2:30.

LB and Aidan fell asleep on her bed and when he woke he took his first bath with his tugboat toys.  He loves the bath.  We do know that he has never been swimming but he pretended to swim with his arms in the tub.  I also found his Mongolian Beauty Spot, thanks to my travel mate.  It looks like a large black and blue, so I'll be sure to point it out to our doc at home and have it recorded.

 
 

Slept about two hours, same as the previous night.  Breakfast was great-lots of fresh fruit-I ate melons and pineapple.  Probably not a great idea.  Remember me saying that I don't travel well?  Our van for the day smelled of cigarette smoke and I was in one of the back seats.  So it is easy enough to figure out what came up-first time just before meeting Aidan, second time just before our photo was taken together (we both look ghastly-he due to trauma, me due to illness), and the third time a little later on.  After that I got the front seat when going anywhere.

So, on to the orphanage.  When our son came out he refused to make eye contact and physically moved away from me.  His head was bowed, and after a few minutes tears began to fall silently.  Then he started sobbing.  The nannies tried to reassure him, but he left still crying.

There were problems with our paperwork.  My agency said to bring one copy of my husband's passport and didn't mention needing any of my own.  I had one copy of his passport for Guangzhou, none of my own, and my donation was in US dollars, which they would not accept.  So we left with the children (my travel mate, her mother and daughter-myself, my daughter and son) to do errands.  We got our passport photographs (mentioned above), then went to the hotel where Aidan began crying again during his snack and continued until errands were over-those included changing money at the bank, getting photocopies made, picking up our passport photographs, and shopping at the store for some foods that are familiar-to Aidan, not to us.

Back at the hotel LB was asleep.  The real Aidan finally came out.  With Matchbox cars, a coloring book, a flip-sheet invisible drawing pad, and stickers, he giggled, jabbered away, and acted silly.

Late in the afternoon he took a nap.  He is a great sleeper.  Took off his shoes, took a toy to bed, and was asleep within minutes.  When he woke we walked to McDonald's, then back to our room.  He fell out of the bed so I pulled a chair up next to it and then he was fine, even cuddling up to me a couple of times.

One of the most important signatures of my life!


Sobbing Baby


And the joker emerges.  (It was his idea to put the stickers on his face.)


 
 

Sorry that I have been unable to post until now.  I will do a full itinerary with pictures when we return-hopefully that will be on Halloween.

The trip has not been smooth.  However, we finally had our civil affairs appointment today and should be leaving for Guangzhou on Monday morning/mid-day to make the last part of our journey in China.

Our son is adorable, everything that a four year old should be.  Handsome, happy, healthy, and smart as a whip.  He was very well cared for and obviously had a good relationship with the ladies at the orphanage.

 
 

Everything is ready and I am ready for bed.

The amount of gifts needed was uncertain, so I first got these pewter ornaments, made in NH.  Two of them are covered bridges; two are of a deer trying to eat a wreath. 
The Celtics bottle sleeves are for any male officials. 
The Red Door is in case I want to make one gift more special.  It is also my perfume so I can bring home any that goes unused.


 
 

My list is almost all checked off.  G and I went out one night to get combination luggage locks-key locks aren't okay with Chinese avaiation rules-and to copy the adoption announcements-I couldn't find any that I liked and thought fit with us and our four year old's experience so I made my own.  We also took care of his visa photos-I have to take them with me even though he's not traveling.  There were at least half a dozen other things that got done. 

We still have the big question of missing school for LB.  I wrote to the superintendent two weeks ago asking that her days away be allowed as excused absences but have heard not a word back.  So last night I sent an email follow up to my letter.  If I hear nothing today, I'll have to call my school board representative.