Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Stolen Red Couch Photo

I stole this picture from Nina who writes Journey to Kavanna. I feel like its plagiarism--just swooping down and stealing a copy of her picture, but at least I'm giving credit to the source. Nina seems like a good sport about this, I don't think she'll mind. I take a small consolation in knowing that my step mother Wilda has probably taken at least six pictures of this scene from six different angles, so if Nina arrives in California and visits this blog and strenuously objects to my photograph theft, I will soon be able to post a photograph that I have more legitimate rights to. (You can tell I stress about stupid things--) Anyway, here you see the "Red Couch Photo" of all the babies in our travel group on one of the famous red couches at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. These red couch photos are something of a tradition among adoptive families, and are known for featuring squalling babies in uncomfortable silk clothes. Our Frances is the bald baby in the very front, and I suspect those black arms holding her in place are Suzanne's. Frances seems placid. I get a kick out of looking on adoption blogs at these red couch photos, because of the moment it captures--Chinese babies in their native homeland, about to be taken on airplanes and flown to another continent to assume completely new identities as Americans (or Europeans--though I wonder if Europeans must travel through Guangzhou...)--its kind of like this last fleeting moment in these children's lives, before everything changes for them. In 48 hours, these babies will be on different planes returning to their respective home towns. Suzanne says she was the only midwesterner (the New Jersian in me cringes at calling myself a midwesterner, but there you have it...) in our travel group--from what I gather, the other families are from Florida, Texas, California and Virginia.

Sometime tomorrow--while you and I will be asleep--Suzanne and Frances have their appointment at the US Consulate in Guangzhou. After that, there is an oath taking, and then they are free to go. Lets hope that everything goes according to plan! Barring unforeseen difficulties, they come home on Friday, flying from Guangzhou to Tokyo, and then Tokyo to Detroit. When they flew over, I was worried about them navigating Tokyo airport, but they managed it once, and I have confidence that they can manage it again. Life on the other side of this adoption journey is about to begin. I cannot wait to purge papers--I don't know if this makes sense, but I am going to put our home studies, and maybe our most recent I-171H, and whatever paperwork the Chinese government has given us on Frances in a folder, and anything else that seems pertinent, and after we have square away the matter of her Michigan Birth Certificate with the Kent County Probate Court--I am going to stick all those documents in a folder and put it in the safe deposit box and let them collect dust. They can become historical documents, for us to show Frances when she gets old enough to ask questions about her adoption--and for her to find and keep for posterity when she's sorting out our stuff in forty years or more, after we're dead. The paperwork has given me fits for three years--does this figure agree with this figure? What does that phraseology mean? That notary didn't notarize the document correctly and the Office of the Great Seal won't accept the notarization unless it says "Acting in the County of Kent..." on it, the birth certificate is going to expire... you name it, I've panicked about it. All of that will soon be irrelevant, and the only thing that will be relevant is Frances. Which is what this whole process has been about.

They arrive on Friday afternoon! I can't believe this is actually happening.

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