Our trip to China will be approximately two weeks long and take place in three different stages, each in it’s own city. Although personally I think that we might consider taking this guy through air transit for 18 hours will be a trip all by itself:
We will depart from the US on Wednesday morning and arrive in China on Thursday afternoon. Matt’s mother is going with us, and I know we will really appreciate having an extra set of hands along to help with the children. We will begin in Beijing for two days of sight-seeing. Beijing is in the northern part of China, about the same latitude as Philadelphia, PA. It has a population similar to Chicago.
This is mostly to let us all adjust to the time zone, because it’s not a good idea to hand a kid over to very jet-lagged parents. We will keep awake during the day by visiting the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Someone in our party was very excited to hear that our hotel is very near to Snack Street, which is a street where you can buy fun Chinese street food such as starfish or scorpion on a stick. Only we won’t actually eat any of the snacks because we don’t want to get food poisoning.
Mmm, snack street!—–>
Time to make this adoption thing happen!–
On Sunday, we will fly to Nanjing, which is the capital of Leo’s province. It’s about the same latitude as Montgomery, AL. It is best known for being the capital of China during the Ming dynasty. Leo is not currently residing there, but will be transported to Nanjing to meet us because adoptions must be finalized at the Provincial capital. We don’t have much planned for Sunday except traveling and getting settled into a new hotel. No snack street at this place, but I hear there’s a mall with a Starbucks!
We will meet Leo on Monday morning, known as “Gotcha Day” in adoption lingo. He will come back to the hotel with us, and we will return on Tuesday to officially adopt him. We will stay around Nanjing until Friday, because his passport will need to be prepared. He will fly home on a red Chinese passport which will become void once he reaches US soil. We will pass the time getting to know Leo’s home province. I hope to visit Leo’s orphanage and possibly meet his foster parents during this time. My agency says “Orphanage and foster family visits are prohibited but sometimes allowed.” Leo’s orphanage welcomes visitors and families are usually given permission to visit if they request to do so, which makes me optimistic that we will be able to travel there.
On Friday, after we receive Leo’s passport we will travel to the southern part of China to Guangzhou, where the American consulate is located. It’s hard to find an East Coast city on the same latitude, but Key West, FL is closest. We expect warm weather! It is the 3rd largest city in China.
You can see in this map how close Guangzhou is to Hong Kong. Many families will travel to Hong Kong and fly out from there. We will be flying from Guangzhou up to Shanghai for our return.
Friday is just a transportation day but on Saturday Leo must have a medical visit. Then we have another break on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday is our appointment at the US Consulate where we will receive his US adoption paperwork. We will receive his visa to enter the US on Wednesday and we are free to leave after that. For various transportation related reasons we will be flying home on Friday morning.
We will fly from Guangzhou to Shanghai where we will catch the long flight home. From there we will enter the US in Seattle, where we will be detained for a few hours as Leo journeys through customs to become an official US citizen. At that point we will travel to our “home” airport of Cincinnati, arriving home on the same day ^My dream of the entire trip home that we left thanks to the time difference.
I’m expecting it to be twenty hours of cozy bonding on the uneventful flight home. Just let me live in my dreamland, okay?
Internet access in China can be unpredictable. I will try to post once a day while we are in China, and I have a friend who can post an update for me as long as I have e-mail access. I hope to post additional pictures to Flickr, so you can click through to the right if you want to see more than I put in the posts. Squatty potties, Nanjing duck blood soup, and crazy Chinese traffic with no seat belts–here we come!