Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Two More Important Parts of the Process

I'd like to document a couple of important parts of our adoption process here, since we didn't get to take any pictures to record them in that way. The first is the medical exam, which I stupidly forgot to bring my camera for. The medical clinic in Guangzhou was teeming with babies and their adoptive parents. We took turns shuttling our babies to the three stations: measuring of height, weight, and head circumference; ear, nose, and throat check-up; and full body examination.

Jada passed with flying colors, even though she had us a little worried on the ear test. The doctor plays a note on a toy piano to get the baby's attention, and then squeezes a squeeze toy behind her left and then right ear, to see if she can register the sound. Only Jada didn't turn around right away after the first squeak. We think she was just so fixated on the piano that the squeaky toy was boring in comparison. She turned her head on the second squeak, and we were on our way to the next station.

The other, symbolic part of this whole adoption process was the swearing in at the US consulate in Guangzhou. There, we were one of about seventy families that had their paperwork checked out and that participated in the ceremony. We raised Jada's right hand and, save for the final stamping of the passport once she arrived on US soil the next day, she had become a US citizen. I estimated that at 250 business days a year, the US consulate handles somewhere on the order of 12,000 to 18,000 swearings in. Not to mention all the other countries, like Spain and Australia and Germany, that also adopt babies from China. That's a lot of babies being transported to the four corners of the globe!

In fact, from the swearing in ceremony, we were whisked off to the airport to begin our journey home. Jada is on her way to becoming a naturalized US citizen, and will later this year get her US passport and Social Security number. And as per the US constitution, everything is set up for her to run for president in 2040. But first let's get her home.
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