This morning we left for the U.S. Embassy for the kids' visa pictures and medical check-ups necessary to be issued a U.S. Visa. Thankfully, they have a special area in this office just for adopting families because it would have been a really long wait otherwise.
We arrived by about 9:30 and had to sit and wait a bit while our guide, Jason, submitted all the paperwork. Within a half hour the kids' visa pictures were printed and attached to the necessary medical document for all 8 kids! The medical check ups are overall pretty simple. There are three "stations": overall health assessment, ENT (ear, nose & throat), and then a basics (body temp, weight, colors, and quick vision assessment). It wen't pretty well. The worst part was the TB blood draw that each child over 2 had to have done. They take the child into a room and do not let parents present for this. Esther didn't really even shed a tear (not necessarily a good thing) and Xavier threw a huge fit (good because I got to be the comforter afterward) but both got a rice cake cracker afterward, which made me look like the good guy!
On our way!
The U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou.
They know just what parents need after enduring the medical check-up...a liquor vending machine on the first floor. And this is our energetic guide, Jason!
This was the first station we visited, an overview with the doc who basically was assessing development and any additional issues not identified.
Then we moved on to the ENT - she did great!
Xavier waiting his turn.
Lastly, the height, weight, and vision testing. They tried to get her to trace the numbers on one of those color vision pages - I told our guide she probably could not see it because she currently does not have depth perception due to a vision issues we learned about when we hosted her last year. With that information they made note and did not make her finish the testing. We will have her reassess once home and she will likely undergo a pretty routine procedure, possibly this summer so that she will be ready for school.
We were back at the hotel by 11:30, needless to say the two littles were pretty wore out from the morning so I fixed a quick noodle bowl for their lunch and down for naps they went. After naps, we went on a journey to Shamien Island.
We decided to make this an experience and take the subway. We knew we needed to take Line 2 to Line 1 but the problem once we got to the station was figuring out exactly which stop we needed on Line 1. We stood looking at the big wall map for a bit when a Chinese gentleman stops by to ask what we were looking for. I told him but he appeared confused so I pulled out the little "cheat sheet" out guide had translated for us and the guy was able to tell us the stop we needed!!!
Michiael is really enjoying such adventures and took charge of getting our tickets. We made it onto the first subway train and knew we were getting off on the second stop. Unfortunately, Logan wasn't listening an exited to the left when he was supposed to exit to the right. I was out with the other kids and noticed Logan missing. I look across and he's on the other side of the train. I yell run across, well, Chinese people are not good at moving out the of the way. He got back on the train but as he approached the doors to get back off on our side they began to close - the look on his face was one of "oh crap". Well they fully closed and I began to panic not sure what in the world was going to happen from there. The next thing we know the doors open back up to let him off. I have no idea how they were reopened but WHEW!!!! Big sigh of relief. We made our connection to Line 1 and rode to the 4th stop. This brought us out just across the road from Shamien. Thankfully they have walkway bridges!
This "island" is where I spent two weeks the last time we adopted and used to be highly populated by adoptive families who would stay at one of the two hotels on the island - the White Swan or the Victory. Additionally, the medical check center used to be on this island as well but moved shortly after we adopted in 2011. With that, many families no longer stay on the island but just visit during their stay. This has caused many of the small shops that used to be on the island to have to shut down because adoptive families were much of their business.
The island has an English/French colonial look to it and has a much less "busy" feel to it than walking down Guangzhou's sidewalks. I wanted my kids to see where I had spent so much time wandering the last time I was here. Additionally, I am familiar with the shops there and felt more comfortable doing business with them. There are only about 4 of the original shops left, we purchased something at each of them. Basically, we were able to get all of our gifts and memorable items there! Despite the rain, we had a good time!
Gotta love all the statues!
Couldn't miss this must do photo by adoptive parents!
Xavier kinda cooperated!
Michiael loved the life size chess board!
Kailey couldn't resist protecting the fiddler with her umbrella!
You can't go to Shamien and not eat at Lucy's!
Grilled cheese sandwiches - they both seemed to love them!
I got dresses for all the girls, this is the dress Kailey chose - looks great on her! Love the green!
This evening I heard Xavier attempt some vowel sounds!!!! This is an awesome first step in beginning language development!!! We were working on "book" and "kiss"!!!! YAY!!!!
Tomorrow morning we are heading to the Guangzhou zoo to see pandas!!!! In the afternoon, we have to wait in our rooms for the TB blood test results. We know Esther's should be fine because her orphanage did a TB test a few weeks ago to be sure there would be no issues. We are praying Xavier's will come back negative as well.