I am having trouble updating our blog through our usual way, so I am having to email the posts to our blog and I cannot really do many pictures. I will add pictures once I am able.
This morning, we woke up EARLY to go to the U.S. Consulate to finalize Paxton's adoption on the U.S. side. We will receive his visa tomorrow afternoon and then we are free to leave the country with him! Once our plane lands on U.S. soil, he will be a U.S. citizen!!
We met our group at 7:40 in the lobby to leave, so the boys had granola bars and nutri-grain bars in our room before we left. The consulate appointment is very much like a visit to the DMV. Stand in line, show us your paperwork, answer some questions, sit back down, come back to the window, etc. But, once we finished, they are able to issue his visa. Our guide will pick up his visa at the consulate tomorrow afternoon and bring it to us. Paxton and the boys did great going to the consulate. You can only take a clear plastic bag with items for your baby like diapers and wipes and snacks. Our guide took our phones from us after she took one picture of each family in front of the consulate. So, Connor and Kyle did not have any electronics to pass the time, but they did great and even helped play with Paxton in the small play area that they have for the kids. Once our group was done, we met back with our guide and she sent us back to the hotel on the van.
Our friends were heading to the tower that I posted pictures of yesterday that we had seen on our boat ride, but we decided to stay at the hotel to take Paxton swimming and to give him a nap.
Paxton has never been swimming before, but he absolutely LOVED it! He splashed and splashed. He saw Connor and Kyle putting their faces in the water and he likes to mimic everything, so he tried to put his face in! He loved for us to throw him up and splash him back down in the water. He kept trying to get me to let him go as if he thought he could swim on his own!
He wore himself out and fell asleep on my shoulder as we talked to another adoptive dad as we were leaving! The story with that dad is interesting. I met him and his wife on the first day in Guangzhou and learned that they had two grown children in their late twenties and early thirties and five years after being empty nesters, they were called to adopt! They have now adopted four children! Two are from India and two are from China. The nine year old girl that they were adopting this week is the best friend and former foster sister of the girl they adopted a year ago. They met her when they adopted last year and knew they had to come back for her! The day after I met them I saw them again and learned that they had lived in Huntsville for awhile because he had been a baseball player on the first Huntsville Stars team with Jose Conseco and Mark McGuire! I told Jeremy about this and he said, "I wonder if he is this guy Rocky that used to speak to our youth group". Well of course I thought there was no chance of that. However, the next day, Jeremy saw him at the Pearl Market and was pretty sure it was him, so he asked him if he knew Joey Savell, Jeremy's former youth minister. And, he did and he was the same guy who had spoken at Jeremy's youth group in the 90s!! What a small world!
We have met so many interesting people here! Some are adopting their first child (biological or adopted child), some have several biological children and are adopting for the first time and some are here for the second, third, fourth or more time! We have two Lifeline families here who have adopted many, many children from all over the world! One family had 9 children and adopted two on this trip and they travelled with all but two I believe! They have adopted from all over the world. Another family is a family who I have followed their blog for years, so I was so excited when I learned that I would meet them here! They have three biological children and have adopted 8 children (2 from Ethiopia, 6 from China), including 2 this trip! I love to see these families who are following God's call no matter what and no matter what people say! How awesome is it that all of these children are no longer orphans, but they are sons and daughters!?
I will update with more pictures when I am able!