Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sleigh Ride, Silver Bells

Just returned from a long and satisfying day in Encinitas, precipitated by a need to hold Mary and Paul's hands throughout each step of our adoption paperwork. :) Mary and I were both pretty wretched yesterday (she with a cold, I with some sort of condition in which all my organs seemed rented) so we chose today to complete and mail our next round of documents from the latest Travel Packet, much of which was marked TIME SENSITIVE, and even more so with the impending holiday break.

The first order of business was notarizing a series of papers that can pretty much be summed up as "We agree to hold our agency harmless if our hotel does not provide hypoallergenic down pillows" and "We agree to hold our agency harmless if our child does not get into Harvard." Because of it being Sunday, Mary and Paul had hired a traveling notary to come to their house, which was pricey but very convenient. His name was Ash, he wore a baseball cap, appeared to be 14 years old and was carrying what looked like a delivery pizza when he arrived, but he was not only friendly and professional, but well-versed in the peculiarities of notarizing for Chinese adoption--a real plus. That was a fun interlude, following by a little less fun block-lettering the prescribed responses into our visa applications, but these were also dispatched with few impediments.

At this juncture my blood sugar was dipping dangerously, so we took a short break at The Original Pancake House (yum, Swedish pancakes with lingonberries!) and then continued on to Fed-Ex/Kinkos (our favorite hang-out) for more copying and more--you guessed it--Fed-Exing, with some documents departing for Denver and CCAI, and others headed to San Francisco and the travel agent that will arrange our visas and, ultimately, our flights and hotels.

After that we drove to REI for travel-type items like money belts, fanny packs, luggage locks and other funsy items that made it feel like we were going camping instead of to pick up a couple of babies. And then there was a brief sojourn to Office Depot for red envelopes (the customary delivery method for monetary gifts to orphanage directors, nannies and the like) and plastic document envelopes (one each for travel documents and U.S. Consulate paperwork.) It was pretty funny when we drove exactly two parking lanes to get to Target, but that's where our heads were. Target was overflowing with adoption travel deliciousness--we went there for our non-monetary gifts for the girls' caretakers in Chongqing, but discovered so much more: single-serving formula packets, re-sealable baby food containers, sippy cups, fleece baby slippers, and--my fruit-loving cup runneth over--toddler t-shirts festooned with pears and strawberries. Whee!

The gift shopping was pretty fascinating (David and Paul, if they were looking over my shoulder, would respond "NOT!") because each province has a list of pre-approved gifts, and they are weirdly specific. One list (I forget which province) asks for nothing but fish-oil capsules. That's right, it's Omega-3 fatty acids or nothing, baby. Our list had such disparate items as electric shavers and anti-bacterial hand wash. And--bien sur--everything must be "Made In America." Or at least not China. We ended up with Maglight flashlights (they have an American flag right on the package!) Swiss Army knives, boxes of eau de toilette (that stuff scares me, but I guess someone likes it) and will be adding some boxes of chocolate from various local sources as soon as we can figure out which ones won't disintegrate during the trip and don't weigh more than our entire baggage allowance.

And then we were done! We picked up some yummy chicken dinners and brought them back to M and P's, after which there was a viewing of some great photos Mary found on the internet of the orphanage in Chongqing, some featuring eight or more babies playing in the same space our photos of Jarrah and Joy were taken. We looked for them, of course, but the photos are small and all the little shaved heads were far away. Still, it was amazing to think of them playing there with dozens of other little girls, along with the young and smiling nannies we could see holding them, and to imagine ourselves there, too, also taking pictures, and then taking two of those girls far, far away to live with us.


Anonymous said...

Love reading your regular account of the day by day trials and delights as you prepare for the welcome of little Jarrah Rose (Rou-Rou). It helps us feel part of it all. Have been proudly showing her photo to all our friends. We are already making plans to come over and cuddle her.

Amy said...

I just got teary-eyed reading your last entry. It is all so exciting and overwhelming to me...I can only imagine the magnitude of exhileration and the myriad of other emotions that swim through you daily. What a wonderful life enhancing journey for all three of you!!!