Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh, my word.

Look what I got in my emailbox this morning. Nine new pictures and updated measurements. Makes my previous resolution to put China on the back burner and focus on Houston life a *little* more difficult, wouldn't you say?

Here are a couple more:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Things Get Worse in China but Stay Good in Houston

The latest from our agency is that prospects for travel to China are only dimming. The email they sent us had the tone of, "We're not canceling your trip to China yet, but...." We've also heard rumors that two adoptive families are now quarantined in China under suspicion of swine flu. One in Beijing and one in Guangzhou.

The World Health Organization is getting after China for overreacting to swine flu and exceeding the recommendations of health officials for its containment, but it's by no means clear to me that such action will have positive results. Add in the 20th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre, you have a climate not so conducive to travel approvals being issued.

This is a heartbreaking situation for the families waiting, and especially for the children who are expecting parents to come for them, and now must wait indefinitely longer.

Here at the Axis we can easily stay busy with work, the construction of our new house, community activities, and helping the boys find their ways as newly minted "big kids." So what makes sense to me now is to throw myself back into life here in Houston, stop answering every invitation with an "if we're not in China" disclaimer, and assume we will be a family of four until further notice. We will be okay, but I can barely stand to think about the children who are waiting.

Photo by Flickrer accent on eclectic.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Update on the Swine Flu Debacle

We just talked to our adoption agency and learned that the situation is not isolated to our orphanage. Quite a few provinces in China are refusing to confirm "gotcha day" appointments, in the parlance of the adoption world. Nor will they say when they might start confirming them again. So if things don't change in the next week or so, it is safe to assume our travel will need to be rescheduled. We will hold onto our plane tickets for as long as it makes sense to.

There are five other families with our agency stuck in this limbo--with plane tickets and American Consulate appointments, but without confirmed orphanage appointments. One is traveling from Germany, so it's not just US residents that are being denied access.

What's most interesting about this to me is the way it illustrates the relationship between the families, the agencies, and the Chinese Civil Affairs office in our province of Beijing, which set this policy. The adoption agencies are sometimes able to interact with CCAA, as it is known, and advocate for their waiting families, with varying results. The politics of when and how this is done are murky at best. I hope to be exploring this issue more in days to come.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stranger than Fiction

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. Mere hours (about 48 of them) after we bought our plane tickets, our adoption agency is unable to confirm with the orphanage our appointment to pick up our child on or about May 25. It is, as far as we know, the only orphanage in China to be temporarily "closing" to international adoption due to the swine flu non-pandemic. We should know more tomorrow about if and when this decision will be reversed.

Photo by Flickrer D'Arcy Norman

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Follow Me

...if you want to. To Newark, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Newark, and back again to Houston. We have our plane tickets to China, as of yesterday. Plus the essential American Consulate appointment in Guangzhou.

We fly out on May 22, which happens to be our 10-year wedding anniversary. We had originally planned a trip to the Bahamas for our anniversary, and while this will not be quite as relaxing, the spouse and I could hardly ask for a more meaningful adventure heading into our second decade together.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Got 99 Problems.

Is the swine flu one?

As of Thursday, the Chinese agency governing international adoptions is "requesting" that American parents delay their travel to China until the swine flu outbreak subsides. My husband fears an outright travel ban may be in the works, and thinks we should try to move a mountain or two and speed up our travel. Could I be ready to leave for China next week, he wonders?

Here's what I wonder: what would this woman do?

UPDATE: Wall Street Journal news alert email says 300 people are now quarantined in a Hong Kong hotel--a Mexican visitor to Hong Kong via Shanghai apparently being the transmitter of the flu. (WSJ has the best email news updates. You should subscribe.)