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This morning, I wrote while Ellie and Micah were in childcare at the Bartlett Recreation Center where I recently purchased a three-month membership. Worth. Every. Cent. This means for two hours a day, at least, I can take a little mental break while they play, and I have an uninterrupted cup of coffee. Sure, most people actually work out, but I’m growing a human while keeping two other “spirited,” blessed little humans alive as a solo mama for 18 days, so you keep your spinning, core-strengthening, total body fusion fabulousness to yourself, thank you very much. I’ll be sitting here with my coffee. And probably some chocolate.
Future blog post? Ode of Wonder to the Single Mamas. You ladies are WARRIORS, and I decided that on maybe Day 2.
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So if you follow me on FB or Instagram (pics and videos there), you know that Charlie is currently on Day 6 of the #ZekeComesHome journey. I’ve been trying to update pretty regularly through social media, but here is a more detailed outline of the trip for those of you wondering what takes so long and when he’ll be home.
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7/20: Left in the early a.m. for Beijing. Charlie scored a SWEET seat with two empty places next to him. He often has trouble with a bad knee and was grateful for the space to stretch out.
7/21: Arrive Beijing. Met by the CCAI Beijing representative outside customs and taken to the Marriott hotel.
7/22: Tour Beijing including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Hutong Tour, and an acrobatics show.
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Many wonder why they include an extra few days and touring in the trip. The time in Beijing isn’t required, but most people traveling all the way to China want some opportunity to experience some of their child’s culture. CCAI also puts families into travel groups, and the touring days give people traveling from different parts of US time to arrive, allowing for delayed flights and such. Charlie also appreciated the time to try and reset his schedule and deal with jet lag before meeting our son.
7/23: Tour the Great Wall! Go to the bank to exchange money for adoption expenses in Zhengzhou.
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Charlie said it was easily over 100 degrees; he sweated through all his clothes and actually has a shirtless picture on the Great Wall. I’m praying this is not some horrible Chinese cultural faux pas. His response? Well the other guy in our group did it too! China, I’m sorry.
7/24: Depart Beijing for Zhengzhou. The CCAI rep escorts travelers to the Hilton Hotel.
Charlie visited the Chinese Wal-mart at this point and stocked up on snacks, drinks, toys, and a stroller for Zeke.
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7/25: THE BIG DAY!!! Get Zeke! All families traveled to the registration office where orphanage officers from around the Henan province brought the children being adopted to meet their families. In the afternoon, families signed the Guardianship Agreement and took photos at the office. After returning to the hotel, families met with the CCAI rep to prepare registration paperwork.
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Zeke wasn’t super impressed with Charlie’s toy selection, so they went back to Wal-mart and let him pick out some things he liked….mostly trucks. They ate dinner in the hotel with some friends from the travel group and played in the hotel room. When I talked to them this morning (bedtime for them), Zeke was WIRED. He seemed much more comfortable and was waving, smiling, and chattering. Charlie gave him a bath and to Zeke’s delight, let him soak the room with the detachable shower head. Charlie is worried about Zeke’s eye, which is swollen and red, but otherwise, he seems in good health and is eating a ton.
Still to come…
7/26: Families take a bus to the registration office to complete the Adoption Registration in the morning. The adoption is considered finalized in China at this point. All families then go to the Provincial Notary Office to complete the notary interview, and then to the Zhengzhou Public Security Bureau to apply for the child’s passport.
7/27: FREE DAY (maybe some swimming at the hotel or local tours)
7/28: Parents receive notary documents
7/29: Receive Zeke’s passport
7/30: Leave Zhengzhou for Guangzhou. Staying at the China Hotel.
7/31: Meet with CCAI representatives to prepare paperwork for the Consulate appointment
8/1: Families take the bus to the medical clinic to complete the child’s visa physical and then have the visa photo made. Children between 2 and 14 receive a tuberculosis blood draw.
8/2: Families of children over two meet with the CCAI rep to have the tuberculosis blood draw checked at the clinic and have a chest x-ray taken if necessary.
8/3: BIG DAY!!! Consulate Appointment. The CCAI rep delivers the visa packets to the U.S. Consulate Adoption Unit, and families go the to Consulate to take the oath.
8/4: CCAI reps go to the Consulate to get the child’s visa packets. Families prepare to leave for home. Charlie and Zeke take an evening train to Hong Kong.
Families can choose between Hong Kong, Beijing, and other major cities for departure. Since Guangzhou is fairly close to Hong Kong, he decided to leave from there and built an extra day into the trip in case of any delays at the Consulate.
8/7: Charlie and Zeke board the plane coming HOME!
They’re expected to arrive in Memphis around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night. Many of you have graciously asked about meeting us at the airport (which Charlie and I would LOVE), but we’re waiting to see how Zeke is doing at that point. If he’s bonding well with Charlie and getting used to strangers, we may have some friends and family at the airport, but if Charlie thinks it will be too overwhelming, we may keep it to a very small crowd. All of your support means so much, but we want to make his transition into this country as smooth as possible. I’ll let you know as soon as we decide anything.
Please keep praying for Charlie and Zeke as they continue to get to know one another and navigate some complicated paperwork and tedious steps necessary to come home. Pray for Ellie and Micah who are missing their daddy SO much. And pray for a mama who is significantly lacking in extra patience and energy these days.
Love to all.