Today was a big day. All of our paperwork was processed at the US Consulate today....that infamous Consulate Appointment that we waited for with bated breath a couple of months ago. I am pleased to announce that, contrary to my greatest fear, I did not forget any important documents at home. We had more than we needed in fact, imagine that! :)
Our paperwork breezed through the consular offices today, and we went a few hours ago to swear an oath that all of the information that we had provided was accurate. (I thought is was the citizenship oath...it turns out that they skip that step in adoption.) So, on Wednesday we will recieve Grace's US Visa, which will allow her onto US soil. We also receive an immigration packet that we are not allowed to open. When we land in Newark on Thursday, we will hand that packet to an immigration official who will check it, stamp it, and allow us access to the US. When those documents are stamped, and we pass beyond that desk, Grace will be a US citizen~Yippee!
I actually got a little choked up at the swearing ceremony today...it was a really neat experience.
We then came back to the island and celebrated with a meal at Lucy's...a legendary place for adoptive families. Then we did a little shopping :) There are a couple of shops here that donate some or all of their proceeds to orphan care in China, which is really cool. I have purchased one special piece. It is an embroidered silk that was once part of a garment, probably belonging to a peasant's wife. It is between 150 and 200 years old. It is a portion of the "100 Birds" design which represents happiness. At the center is a Pheonix which is very popular in Chinese art, it is the symbol for "princess". Among the birds are embroidered peaches, which both Grace's and our hometowns are known for. The coolest part? The silk was collected from the region of China that Grace is from. I will get it framed when we get home.
While shopping, I also asked one of the ladies in a shop about the meaning of Grace's Chinese name. I'd seen a couple of different possibilities. Upon looking at the Chinese Characters, the shopowner informed me that Ruo Yun means, "Pure as a Beautiful Cloud". How cool is that?
Tomorrow is a play day for us as we wait for the visa to be processed. We will be taking a dinner cruise on the Pearl River, which we can see from our room, tomorrow evening.
A new friend told me about the most amazing thing today. On these long intercontinental flights, there are a limited number of seats that have a space for a baby basinette...so the baby can lay down to sleep! We called continental and they have reserved these seats for us for our 16.5 hour flight from Hong Kong to New Jersey. This means that Grace can actually get some rest! And, I might be able to as well :) Even better, the seats are at the front of the section (just behind first class) so there will be no seats directly in front of us, but a wall...more leg room! Some times it is the little things in life :) I'm gonna go find that lady tomorrow and hug her neck!
Love y'all, Be home soon!