July 12, 2005

Chinese Government Appoinments. They're really ours now!

This morning we needed to meet our group at 8:15 a.m. to go back to the Civil Affairs Office to complete the Chinese adoption paperwork. We finally woke the girls up at 8:05 a.m.! (I on the other hand was awake at 5:15 a.m. staring at them and wondering when they were going to wake up.)

We quickly got them dressed and headed downstairs hoping we wouldn't be the last to arrive -- which I'm happy to say we weren't!

We drove to the Civil Affairs Office, the same place we got the girls yesterday, for the first part of the official Chinese Government appointments.

When we walked into the lobby, the babies' nannies from the orphanage were walking out of the elevator. (The Civil Affairs Office is on the 5th floor of a military hotel so they had spent the night there after bringing the girls to us.)

They all fussed and cooed at the babies and then started very sternly telling our guide something in Cantonese. Well, the nanny had seen several of us feeding our babies bottles and she was concerned that we were making the bottles wrong. So she went with our guide and made up the formula the correct way to show us.

The formula is actually a mixture of formula and rice cereal and what she made up was thick, very thick. She also told us we needed to cut the nipples to let the formula get through.

Once upstairs we had family pictures taken; Eric and I with Michal and then Eric and I with Kenna. Next, we met with a government official who asked us several questions, looked at our passports and verified that all our information was correct. She then asked us if we wanted to adopt these girls -- we said yes!

We then met with a second government official who asked us why we wanted to adopt a child from China, to describe our marriage and to promise that we would never abuse or abandon our girls. She was really sweet and said that Michal and Kenna were the first set of twins she'd ever had.

We then all got in the bus and went to a different office that's an official police building. (We weren't allowed to take photos inside.) They reviewed our passports again and took the girl's passport photos. We were then given adoption certificates with the family photos we'd taken earlier that morning.

At the White Swan Hotel there are red couches in both levels of the lobby and through the years travel groups have posed their babies on those couches and taken their photos. Today we met with some of the families that I've met online for a "red couch photo" of our girls. It was pretty incredible to meet families I've chatted online with for the past seven months in China, more than 7,000 miles from home.

We went to dinner at a really great restaurant with most of our travel group for traditional Chinese food. The girls both weren't too excited about sitting in a high chair and wanted to be held. Eating with an 18-month old grabbing your chopsticks is a new experience! The manager of the restaurant took Kenna and walked around with her for awhile so I could eat. I am now sure our days of leisurely eating out have been put on hold!

The girls both love their stacking cups and have one or two in their hands all the time. The only drawback is that those stacking cups keep being dropped on the ground wherever we go! I just keep trying to not think about it and then I pour boiling water on them when we get back to the hotel.

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