Travel Update

Once we accepted the referral we began preparations and looking at maps of China. It appears as though our trip will consist of three legs. The first stop will be to Beijing to tour either the Forbidden City or the Great Wall. From there we will travel to Wuhan, the capitol of the Hubei Province, where we will take custody of Jia Nian. Finally we will travel to Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, where we will finalize the adoption at the U.S. Consolate.

As best we can tell we will be one of five couples traveling. We don’t know exactly when we will leave but WACAP indicates that once all members of the group have accepted the referral, it takes about two to three weeks to receive a trave invitation from the Chinese government and about two to three weeks to arrange for the trip. We’re guessing mid to late July.

Beijing is relatively far north and the climate won’t be too different from that of the mid-west U.S. Wuhan is about 650 miles south of Beijing, about on the same longitude as the U.S – Mexican border. Guangzhou is another 500 miles south. Definitely tropical climate.

Normal

Last week we had the University of Washington Department of Adoptive Medicine conduct an assessment of Jia Nian’s medical report. The doctor said, “it looks like she read the book on normal”.

Preparing for the Trip to China

Preparations are now underway.

Passport for Nicholas:

The application form indicated a birth certificate for Nick and my ID was necessary. Got those and filled out the application up to the point it said STOP. Then I took it all down to the county clerk. “Ohh, where’s Jeanette”, asked the clerk? The application for a passport for a minor requires both parents’ signature. Since she works when I pick Nick up, she would need to fill out an afidavit and get it notarized.

Did that the next day and returned..with my checkbook because I needed to write a check for the State Department. After processing, the clerk took the chek and the papers then asked for the $10 county processing fee…cash only. So we we were off to the bank to get some cash. We returned a few minutes later and got the application sent off.

A few days later in the mail we received a notice from the State Department, they needed a copy of Nick’s passport with his entry visa and a certified copy of the final adoption decree. So back to the county clerk to get the adoption decree..five minutes before closing. Then off to the Post Office. We made it there just before the doors closed. With luck we’ll have Nick’s passport in time.

Fingerprints:

Did you know that your fingerprints expire? When we first filled out the petition for adoption for the Immigration Service we were fingerprinted. The fingerprints are only valid for 15 months. While reviewing the paperwork in anticipation of the referral we realized that the fingerprints may very well expire while we were in China. So we thought we would get that taken care of so it wouldn’t be something else to worry about.

The Immigration Service does not give out phone number for any of their offices. They only give out the toll free national service number. The agent answering the phone said, “oh, just get that taken care of while you are in China.” That didn’t strike me as a prudent thing to do. So I made an online appointment to see an immigrations agent at the Seattle office. We both took some time off and went to the office.

We had an appointment so we were wisked to the front of the line, given a number and directed through a set of double doors…into another waiting room, where we waited two hours. When our number was called the immigration agent called another agent. They conferred. Finally, we were given an e-mail address for adoptions at the Yakima, Washington Immigrations Office and we could request an appointment using that e-mail address. That evening I discovered the e-mail address was no good.

I finally resigned myself to requesting an appointment … to make an appointment (and pay the fee) via mail. Eventually we got the appointment..to make the appointment (and paid the fee) and finally go the real appointment and fingerprints…about four weeks later.

Vaccinations:

A few months ago we started getting our vaccinations updated because of the trip. During the consultation with the nurse and the county health department they asked if we would be visiting rural China. Our adoption agency representative indicated we would not. Since we weren’t going to be traveling in rural China, the county health department considered the hepatitis B shot unnecessary.

When we received the referral, we learned the region we would be traveling in. During a trip to the county health department ot have our vaccination records updated I discussed this with the consulting nurse. The conditions under which we were traveling told her that we would indeed need hepatitis B vaccinations. Normally those are administered over a six month period. Since, we expect to be traveling within two months we have the opportunity to experience the “accelerated” booster process. One shot every week for the next three weeks and a followup after we return.