We took the bus for about 20-30 minutes to get to the US Consulate which is in a newer part of Guangzhou. It is drizzly, cold and rainy today so we bundled the babies up and walked from the bus to the Consulate building.
Once we were there we saw Chinese people everywhere. They were standing in long lines, all clutching packets of paperwork. They were all waiting to get in so they could apply for visas to come to the US. As US citizens, we were taken to a separate line where we went in to the building almost immediately. It was a very tangible example of how lucky we are to be American. We went through security and went inside. We were not allowed to bring any electronics, phones, watches, or cameras. Each family brought a large ziploc bag with baby supplies.
Our guide gave specific instructions on where we would need to go as he was not allowed inside. We went to the adoption unit and took a number. Once all the families from multiple agencies arrived (about 12 families) we all stood and raised our right hand to take an oath on behalf of our child. We promised that all of the information we provided in Hannah's immigrant visa application was correct. I got a lump in my throat, not because what we said was monumental, but because this is the FINAL STEP. Taking this oath and applying for Hannah's visa is the last approval, last piece of paper, last stage of waiting for this entire process to be finished. There is such a relief and emotional release from knowing that everything is almost finished.
After the oath each family was called up to a window one at a time to submit their documents. All of Hannah's papers were there and in order thanks to our guides. Hannah was happy the whole time which was awesome. She sometimes gets overwhelmed in large crowds or when we are out and about, so I was thankful to have a happy, smiling, laughing girl! When everyone was done our group walked back outside, met our guide and now we are back at the hotel. Hannah took a short nap on the bus ride back.
While we were at the consulate we saw a familiar family we met in Zhengzhou. They are adopting a 14 year old girl who is so sweet. 14 is the age at which you cannot be adopted anymore in China. When they submitted their documents this young girl's packet was missing a notarized document from her province-- her birth mother's death certificate. The family is panicked about missing this form as the province is very far away. Would you please pray for this family to find the document they need, and that they are not forced to return to the girl's province to get it? We do not know their names but we know God is well aware of the situation!
We have free time the rest of the day and plan to play in the room and let Hannah have a nice afternoon nap. The weather is supposed to improve tomorrow so we hope to do more exploring around Guangzhou.