It took several days to finish putting my various videos on YouTube (they were scattered in different folders) but here they are.  The first are in China:

And then here we are at home:

 
 

Our last days were largely uneventful.  I skipped out on any tour activites and we explored Shamian Island instead.  We found a park with playground equipment for Aidan, ate at a strange restaurant, discovered the hotel pool and did a minimal amount of shopping.

I don't know where this famous sofa is at the White Swan Hotel-I never found it.  Without a travel group, I know we missed out on other things as well.  Most adopting Americans here are not very friendly.  Thank you to the lady from Florida who I met at the pool, to the lady from Virginia who I met at the oath swearing ceremony, to the couple from Wisconsin who were down the hall and then on the first plane with us, and especially to the lady from Kansas who we first met in Beijing and then saw again here-you made up for the rest of them.

We left for the airport on Friday but of course our check-out was complicated, even though I checked out on Thursday night with my guide's assistance.  I found the front desk staff at the White Swan to be friendly and almost incompetent.  But we finally got out and into the air.

Aidan slept about four hours total on our long journey-the seats were too small for him and he has never had to sleep in a chair before anyway.  Our flights were uneventful until the last leg of the journey when that flight was delayed by an hour.

Aidan would not look at or stand in the general vicinity of G or his father for at least the first 15 minutes at the airport.  He was fine in the car, though, and when we got to my in-laws' house he was himself-friendly, giggly, etc.  By the time we got home he was babbling away to G, sitting with him on the couch, letting him carry him around, and generally quite comfortable in his new surroundings.

 
 

Our consulate appointment went fine.  We were there for about two hours and then went off to a park-I told my guide I didn't want a museum tour, I wanted a kid-friendly day so that Aidan could run and have fun.

First we rented a canopied paddle boat and LB and I paddled the four of us around a lake.  Then we went to the children's area where Aidan drove an airplane bumper car and then an airplane ride where the plane lifts and falls as the driver wishes.  He loved both. 

We ate lunch at a local rice shop before returning to the consulate for a 3:00 oath swearing ceremony.  After that we were given our sealed packets to give to security on our arrival home.  How do you spell relief?

The water was leaf green-Aidan kept trying to reach over the edge and scoop it up.  I told him not to, then steered him underneath some willow branches so that he could reach out and grab those instead.


In typical boy fashion, he had to hit the tired barrier at least once-my shin is black and blue from the slam!


 
 

I woke the kids at 5:30, late for them, so we could get our big day started.  We went to breakfast, I closed my safe deposit box and checked out of the hotel.  At 8:00 we left with our guide to get Aidan's passport, then went to the airport for an 11:15 flight to Guangzhou.  Aidan loves flying-he chattered and played with armrest gadgets the whole time.  I got sick the moment the plane left, but didn't have to dash to the rest room at least.

In Guangzhou we met our new guide, went to get Aidan's visa photos taken, went to the medical clinic for his exam, checked into our room, went through all of our paperwork with our guide, and then I called the airlines to confirm new flights for Thursday.  I hadn't rebooked them because until I met this guide, I didn't have an appointment schedule and, therefore, no exit schedule.  This had to be complicated, of course.  I can rebook for LB and I, but not for Aidan-that has to be done through the original agent.  Since we want to make sure we're all together, rebooking had to be done for all three of us through them-there goes another thousand bucks.  Oh, no, there is more-we can't get a flight out until Friday, so I have to stay another night at yet another very expensive hotel.

On a more positive note, Guangzhou is so much nicer than Beijing.  I am not a city person and Beijing is not a pedestrian-friendly place.  Guangzhou, though a city, is much more friendly and pedestrian-friendly.  Not only that, but there is a lot of variety in the people-their bone structure, body type, dress style, hair style, etc.

 
 

Our last full day in Beijing!  I decided to stay here at this hotel since we only have to stay through tomorrow morning-that way the kids don't have to change.

I tried twice to call PB and couldn't get an answer, so I called GB and got his cell phone message, then tried to call again half an hour later.  He said that PB had her second son this morning (afternoon on Saturday at home).  Her labor was measured in hours this time instead of days as it was with RB.  I called her at the hospital and she said that both she and MB (her new son) are doing fine.

We went swimming today and Aidan was excited the moment he saw the floaties come out.  Other than that, it was an uneventful last day.

 
 

I went through all of my paperwork for Guangzhou to make sure that everything is in order.  The only thing I'm missing is the $405 check to go with our I600.  I didn't bring my checkbook and do not have USD. 

Another boring day-can't wait for the security team to leave.

 
 

It is G's birthday and our planned return date.  Very uneventful day for us hanging around the hotel, napping and eating.  LB can't go to the garden, and I don't dare take Aidan to the pool in case we get there and find that it, too, is closed.  We now have elevator assistants-secret service types meeting you at the first floor elevator and directing you away from the taped off lobby.  Not all of the elevators are able to be used, either.

 
 

I woke at the usual 2:30 a.m. here but managed to go back to sleep for an hour this time. At 7:00 I checked the Internet and found that our documents arrived at the Beijing Transit Facility at 6:59 a.m.  I also got an email confirmation from the Holiday Inn for a reservation for the rest of our stay.

There is blue sky showing over Beijing!  It rained last night and apparently pushed the smog away.

We met our guide and had a crazy, hectic, happy day.  First we went to DHL to confirm a new anticipated 11:00 delivery time (we have to exit the hotel, walk around the corner of the building, and re-enter the hotel to get to the DHL counter which is just off the main lobby-due to the heightened security restrictions).  At about 10:00 we left for the notary office.  Spent an hour there, then returned to DHL right at 10:50.  They were unloading packages at that time, literally, and we got ours first.  Then we were off tolunch because it was too late to go to civil affairs this morning.  We came back to the hotel for passport photos, went to civil affairs for a new 1:30 appointment (this is where Aidan officially became ours!), returned to the notary public office, and by 3:30 we were at the police station with his passport application.  The orphanage director got them to expedite the application at no additional fee, so we can pick it up on Monday morning, then head to the airport for Guangzhou!

We all fell asleep early tonight.

 
 

Our package was picked up at 4:59 p.m. in Alexandria, VA.  It left the airpark in Ohio for Beijing at 6:19 p.m. (6:19 this morning in Beijing).  The DHL counter here at the hotel gets deliveries at about 10:00 a.m. each day.  Our appointment is tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.  DHL online says our package is inthe air now.  DHL China says it will be delivered tomorrow afternoon.  Our guide will be here at 8:30 tomorrow morning so we can check on it together.

I'm trying to arrange another hotel and have asked a woman in the ex-patriate community for help finding one that is safe and clean.  No luck reaching her cell phone, though, and at home the phone just rings, so I'll use her email again to see if I got the numbers wrong.

We walked to a little store in the morning for fruit and drinks.  Leaving the hotel is problematic right now because the hotel is hosting an economic summit for Asian and European leaders.  We have to pass through airport security to come and go with scanners, etc.  The staircase and garden are closed and there are police and secret service types everywhere.

 
 

Hallelujah!  Some good news at last.  It is 1:47 in the morning and I just found a fax slid under the door.  It has both a State Department authentication as well as a Chinese embassy seal, and the DHL tracking number written on it.

After breakfast I booked an extension on our room.  I asked for three days (until my package arrives) and they said I could have it for six.  So I took it-I can always cancel the last three days.

My travel mate's daughter came to visit while she packed.  Packing stresses adopted children out-they don't know what is happening, but they do know that everything new and now familiar is disappearing.

My travel mate's mother gave us a ton of leftover food and gave me a magazine (I'm desperate for something to read).  Then they were off to the airport.

When our guide got back from the airport, we went to the translator's office with my fax.  I have a new civil affairs appointment for Thursday morning, and we are going to try to get the passport expedited.  We will use a taxi that day for our errands, since the driver is no longer paid for.  I will have to pay 650 yuan for our trip to the airport so that I can have a driver and a car big enough for luggage.

The three of us went swimming in the afternoon and ate supper in the dining room.  I get a sick to my stomach feeling every time we pass my travel mate's door and break out in a cold sweat.  Aidan wants to knock or ring the bell, so I just tell him that they went bye-bye.

Aidan has figured out how to color within the lines and has been working intently at it since his bath.