Our time here is nearing an end! Honestly, it's bittersweet. I am ready for my own bed, my hair straightener, and the ability to brush my teeth using tap water. I am anxious to get Madeleine home and in her own room and on a schedule. But at the same time, this is her birth country and this is still tough. Thankfully, she doesn't know any different and hopefully we will return one day...hopefully when it's not a million degrees outside.
Sentiments aside, here's what we've been up to --
Monday was our US Consulate appointment. After we left, I told CJ I was a little disappointed that it lacked the pomp and circumstance I was hoping for. I don't know, I guess I thought there should be American flags waving everywhere with America the Beautiful playing softly in the background? Instead, it was as exciting as a trip to the BMV. We were given a number and then when called, we presented all of our most important adoption paperwork, the paperwork I've been guarding with my life since we left (even though I had two separate forms of electronic back-up copies with me). This included Madeleine's passport, her medical paperwork from Saturday (no idea what they wrote; it was all in Chinese and we won't get a copy), her official adoption decree, her birth certificate (even though they are only estimating her birthdate), and her abandonment certificate. Then we sat back down and were later called back up as a group by an American who administered our oath. Again, I was thinking this would be sentimental and stuff -- you know, we're going to allow our child to chase the American dream or something -- and instead, it was that we have filled out her paperwork to the best of our knowledge and ability...you know, since I haven't signed that same statement 50 million times before in this process. The process was reviewed with us a little more in depth -- we'll get three documents back Tuesday afternoon and essentially, we're to also guard those with our own life and you know, don't touch them or they might not let you back in the United States. Then we got called up individually to answer maybe 2-3 questions, some things were stamped, and we were told we were good for now.
Today - Tuesday - we are hanging out at the hotel for a few more hours. I think this was maybe the first day where we didn't have anywhere to be first thing in the morning? We took our time with breakfast. We walked to a nearby mall of sorts -- think flea market -- and picked up some last minute gifts. We bought Madeleine some "squeaky shoes" while we were there. They're kind of ugly, but they have squeakers on the bottom of them. It's annoying, but the idea is that the noise helps kids learn to walk. Madeleine LOVES them and CJ does too. It wasn't worth the fight. We then ate at McDonald's -- I am so tired of McDonald's but it's too convenient -- and now we're chilling out in the hotel before checkout at 2 pm.
We'll leave the hotel around 3 pm today (3 am EST) and barring any problems, should have Madeleine's passport and visa in hand shortly thereafter. We'll then drive to the China/Hong Kong border where we have to switch vans and then we'll be driven to another hotel in Hong Kong. Flight is at 11:40 am Wednesday morning (11:40 pm Tuesday night in Indiana) and we will land at 1:40 pm in Chicago (2:40 pm Indiana time). Then one more quick flight home!
Thanks for your continued prayers -- please keep them up!