Travel 06/20/2011

Keith reporting:
K4, Our Family of Four is Complete with Karis Xinyuan Holt

She is ours! Exactly 5 years to the date when our paperwork was logged into the China database, and 6 years since we started the paperwork to get Kasen a baby sister, today we received the blessing that is Karis Xinyuan Holt. We actually have another human soul whose well being has been placed in our hands. Kinda makes everything else in the world seem trivial.

We started the day with the enormous breakfast buffet for which the White Swan Hotel is famous. That followed a night of sleeping on the rock hard prison quality mattresses for which the White Swan is infamous. We had to wait around until our appointment at the government agency where we were to receive Karis. That appointment was at 2:30pm, which seemed to take forever to arrive. We boarded the van at 2:00pm with Jennifer, a single mother from Vermont, and a friend she brought along from Chicago whose name slips me. Jennifer was one of the last single moms to make it through the China adoption system before that demographic was no longer allowed. She is very nice, and we have enjoyed watching her go through the process of becoming a parent for the first time. The van ride was only about 20 minutes, and the anticipation as we pulled in front of the government agency was as overwhelming as it was our first time with Kasen. You realize that in the next few minutes, you will have another blessing to be a part of you for the rest of your life. We went into a room with many, many other adoptive families, and babies being brought out to them one at a time. Lots of crying babies, and even more crying adults. They called the name of Jennifer’s baby, then we saw Karis come through the door. I don’t remember anything else other than our new daughters face, first smiling, then immediately bursting into tears as she was handed to Karen. Big sister Kasen immediately sprung into action, calming Karis in no time. As I filled out the next of the infinite forms that encompass this process, Kasen entertained her little sister like she had been doing it all her life. It was as amazing to watch this aspect as it was to see our new daughter. There is just something so complete about the whole picture that I know I am not able to do justice with my words.

After finishing the paperwork, we headed for the van and for the department store. It was their version of a WalMart and Sears combined. Pretty much anything you wanted IF you could read Chinese. Hopefully the pictures on the labels are what we think they were. Funny thing is, you fill up your cart on one of many floors, then leave it at the escalator as you head to the next floor to get another buggy. The only way to eventually consolidate was to lift the basket part out of your buggy to carry it back to the previous floor. We went back to the van and headed for the hotel. Karis fell asleep almost immediately, and according to Kasen, snored like daddy.

We got back to the room and unsuccessfully tried to feed Karis. We tried everything we knew. We finally decided to head for a restaurant to see how that would go. No eating there either. We picked up our laundry which we had dropped off earlier in the day. This is a Chinese bargain, as we had a basketful of laundry which they washed, ironed and wrapped in cellophane for about $10US. We made it back to the room and finally got Karis to trust us enough to eat well. Mommy and Kasen bathed her, and she fell asleep in mommys arms.

We have the final official adoption signing in the morning, followed by several days downtime over the next two weeks as we complete the court process, followed by the immigration process. Guangzhou is as hot and steamy as any place on earth. We wilt after only a few minutes outside. Still it is very nice, but I had rather be home now that I have what I came for.

Both girls are now sound asleep, and I hope to be there soon. Thanks for the guestbook messages. Talk to you again soon.