With God, nothing is impossible. There is no bureaucracy too big to overcome and no blessing too small to celebrate not even if you are a two-year-old girl, severely burned and abandoned on a street alone and in severe pain. This is the continuation of a story of inspiration and God’s power and grace. If you have not read parts 1 and 2, please do. It will make this post much more meaningful as you follow the journey of a young girl overcoming immense challenges. It is also about the wonder of adoption.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Off to Guangzhou
We left Changsha at about 2:30 PM yesterday and have arrived at Guangzhou. This is a very nice city and our hotel is great. The Japanese Consulate is housed here at the hotel so there is no issue with security. Although we have not really met any of them there are quite a few other adopting families here. I assume they are all preparing to get VISA’s to the US for their children.
Our new family member is settling in quite well now and everyone has adjusted to the new time zone. Although I am glad for that, I don’t look forward to readjusting when we return. In about 20 minutes we will head to Shamian Island where we will get a VISA photo and have the medical exam taken care of. After that, we will come back to the hotel and relax. There is plenty to do so we have no issues there.
The next day we have a city tour planned and will do VISA paperwork. Monday it’s off to Shamian Island again to get her TB test read and get a chest x-ray if needed. Tuesday more city tours and pearl market which will likely go over big.
Wednesday is a very important day for us all as we go to the US Consulate and get the VISA for her return. The VISA she will get is very special because once it is issued, she will become a US citizen the moment she gets through immigration at the airport when we get home.
Thursday we have more city tours and then two days of rest before our return to the US. It looks like an on-time return on Sunday the 23rd. While this has been a real rollercoaster ride for us all it has been worth every moment. I don’t think I would change anything. I hope our experience can help others that might want to do the same thing. We are off to Shamian Island. More to come………..
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Medical Exam, Sightseeing, and Shopping
Well, we got through the medical exam portion of our VISA preparation successfully. She needs glasses which we already knew and got a few vaccinations but is ready to go. Next, we get her TB test read but it is obvious there is no reaction. After that, we will go on a city tour and then come back to the hotel and start the paperwork for our appointment on Wednesday at the US Consulate.
Everything is now moving along very smoothly and we have met several other adopting families at the hotel. They come from everywhere but the people we met are from Minnesota, Oklahoma, and San Diego. We’ve really been blessed on this trip and while we are all looking forward to coming home, we are really enjoying our time together now and heading out to go shopping.
We just finished a successful day of sightseeing and shopping topped off by a great lunch. I just thought we bought a lot at the last market but today we visited the arts and crafts market and even I could not hold back. It was time to buy gifts for friends, supporters, and ourselves. And we did just that. After about 30 minutes in the store, I knew we were quickly running out of cash and had to check to see if we could use AMEX at this store. Guess what, they take all major credit cards. Not sure if that was a blessing or a curse but in any event, we were left armed with gifts aplenty.
We also ended visiting a temple and probably climbed 1000 stairs. Daiyu counted and each section was 32 steps. There were a lot of sections.
The Passport Glitch – With God, Nothing is Impossible
After our temple visit, we came back to the hotel and completed all the paperwork already for our appointment with the US Consulate so we are good there with one small exception. While I don’t think it is an issue, our guide was concerned because Daiyu does not have six months left on her passport. She said they usually require a full six months and this might delay our departure. I doubt it will be an issue since she will become a citizen when she arrives in the US and her Chinese passport will no longer be valid. But with the government bureaucracies who knows? I know I will put up a fight. Regardless we will figure it out. We have God on our side and with God, nothing is impossible.
Don’t Take Your Freedom For Granted
Something interesting came about as our guide was looking at Daiyu’s passport and noticed there was no stamp showing she left the US. Then she looked at our passports and could not find where the US authorities stamped us as leaving our country. I asked her why that was an issue and she asked “don’t they care if you leave?”. Then it hit me.
We are living in a country where we can come and go as we please. She cannot. When I told her our government does not care if we leave and go somewhere else she was absolutely shocked. “You mean you can just leave without permission?”. I just took it for granted. Of course, we can. It’s a free country. We can go or stay as we want. I guess I knew this was not true in other countries but it really hit home as we talked. We take way too much for granted.
Beauty is on the Inside – It’s a Heart Thing
Anyway, we finished the Consulate paperwork and our guide left. We went on to lunch. During our trip, Daiyu had made a couple of comments that we did not think much of at the time but during lunch, it became very clear. She said a couple of times that she knew she had no future. Some boys she knew told her that.
We made the comment during lunch about what a bright and wonderful future she had and she could make it what she wanted. She clearly did not believe us and I know her foster family has been very supportive in this area. We said, “you are a very beautiful girl, why would you think you don’t have a future?” And then it came out.
She said she knows she is not beautiful. When we asked if it was because of the scars on her face and she said yes. We were quick to tell her that is simply not true and she should never, ever let anybody tell her otherwise. She is a very beautiful girl with a sweet and loving personality to complete the package. She has a bright future and she has no idea how God may use her and bless her.
Later that night we asked all our friends to pray that the seed of God’s grace and power through Jesus will be planted firmly in her heart so she can start focusing on how He will use her and just how much beauty she will bring to this world in her lifetime. Now we are back in our hotel room resting up since we promised another evening of fish feeding.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Bureaucracy At Work – Just Remember; With God, Nothing Is Impossible
Another great day for us here. We were told by our guide that Daiyu will need another passport in order to leave so we got her passport picture and the application is going to Changsha today. We will see what happens when we get to the US Consulate Wednesday. There seems to be no logic in the world of bureaucrats. One way or another we’ll get it done.
After the passport work was done we visited a local park and tried our hand at exercise. I need some work. Yesterday a thousand stairs and today exercise equipment. At least I gave the locals something to laugh about. Daiyu on the other hand has the energy to spare. If only I could borrow some.
After the exercise, we made our way to a familiar place – Starbucks. They are everywhere. Then a quick run down the street to 7-11 and then the pharmacy. Tonight we thought we would head up to the 30th floor and eat at the buffet restaurant that overlooks the city. This has been a really great time.
In the morning we will call Ohio and talk with her foster family via skype. Amazingly it works pretty well here and it’s free. After that, we have another day of city tours and wearing out the parents. I’ve posted a few pictures of our day today. Hopefully us parents will still be walking by the time we get home.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
A Long, Long, Day of Sightseeing
We are almost done. Yesterday Daiyu had a very good call with her foster family and then we headed off to the zoo. We got to see some interesting animals we would not normally see in the US. Of course, there were a lot of similarities but Daiyu had a great time. It’s not every day you see a red Panda (I think that is what it was called). Looks like a big red raccoon. We saw an elephant but not what we are used to and some Chinese alligators. They were small but certainly looked like they had some sharp teeth. And then there were the various lizards and snakes and turtles and lions and so on.
The City of Guangzhou
After that, we went for a long and I do mean a long walk around the city of Guangzhou. Since I was leading it was not long before we were off into the locals living areas near downtown and both Lisa and Daiyu were not so sure we could find our way back.
We kept circling until we eventually zeroed in on the hotel. It did take a while though. I knew the worst-case scenario would be to flag a taxi and as we said in Vietnam “Take me to the Hilton” only in this case it would be “The Garden”.
Time For Rest
After the walk, we fed the fish, ate a nice relaxing dinner, and watched as Daiyu was collapsed and asleep by 8 PM. We on the other hand had a restless although not a bad night.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Passport Issue Re-Visited
Today we go to the US Consulate and complete the work to get her VISA and take an oath of some sort that all the documents we submitted are true and correct to the best of our knowledge. The US government had a temporary lapse in bureaucratic red tape and decided she does not really need a new passport since it still has several months left and it only needs to be valid long enough to reach the US.
After today we should be done with all the official paperwork and will have one more day with our guide and then a few days to ourselves to relax and enjoy the sights. Sunday morning at 5:45 AM we are off to the airport to go home. That will be Saturday night for most of you and sometime around 9:30 PM on Sunday night, we will arrive home in the US. What a relief that will be.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Not So Fast – The Passport Issue Returns
What a rollercoaster ride. One minute everything is OK, the next minute we can’t leave, then we can, then we can’t. So yesterday just after I posted we were good with the passport we got a call from our guide who was told by the consulate that while they would issue the VISA even though her passport had less than six months left they told her we may not be able to leave China because the Chinese authorities may not allow it. Our choice was to send away to Changsha for a new passport and postpone leaving or take our chances in Shanghai where we were to board our flight home. We just keep repeating God’s promise,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 19:26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
If we could not board we would have to fly to Changsha and get a new passport then re-book our flights home and the delay would be even longer. After discussing the situation with the adoption agency in Washington State and then checking airline schedules we decided to take our chances in Shanghai. We also decided to talk with the officials at the US Consulate. In the meantime, we worked out Plan B which was for Lisa to go home without me and I would stay with Daiyu and make sure we got her passport taken care of if worst came to worst.
Back at the US Consulate
We went to the consulate and took our oath (that we were truthful in our application) then I went to talk with the adoption officer. She already knew all about our case. We were making headlines at the consulate. She finally said she would have the consulate officer on duty when we arrived in Shanghai briefed and ready to get us on the plane if there were any issues.
Just as I went to sit down our name was called to hand in our paperwork and we headed up to the window. The staff member assisting us quickly recognized our situation and again warned us we may not get out of China (give me a break and make up your minds). He needed to check with his boss. Since it was his boss that told us we would get out we are counting on that happening. If not, Plan B remains viable. Regardless, we will have her passport and VISA delivered to us tomorrow afternoon and we will be ready to leave for Shanghai Sunday AM.
After the consulate visit, we took a quick side trip to have our pictures taken near some landmarks that I cannot pronounce and then headed back to the hotel for an early night. Today we went shopping (sound familiar). I am starting to get worried we won’t be able to get all these gifts and merchandise back to the US with us but we will certainly try. I’m pretty sure there is something for everyone. We are getting closer everyday and as several of you have said “He is in control”. With that I will quit worrying for today. Good night for now. Tomorrow will bring a whole new set of adventures.
Stay tuned for Part IV of the series.