Today was finally the day we have come to Guangzhou for, our appt at the US Consulate to submit paperwork to get Ella's visa and documentaion that will make her a citizen when we enter the US. We had to leave the hotel at 7:10am, which meant getting to breakfast by 6:30am which was much earlier than we have been getting up (but good practice for Fri when we will be leaving the hotel at 5:30am to catch our flight to start our journey home). The consulate is located in a large non-descript office building, us and several other families from our agency went up to the 4th floor to wait in line for a passport check to make sure we had appts. Then up to the 5th floor, through a metal detector (no food, drinks, cameras, cell phones allowed, which is the same way the Chinese Consulate in SF was). We got to go wait in the American Citizens area which was much calmer and less crowded then the non-citizen area which gets about 300-400 Chinese folks requesting visas to come to the US a day.
While we waited to find out what happened next, Ella decided to poop just as a women came out to explain things to us. She told us an oath would be taken in unison (parents taking for the little ones not able to) and then each family would be called to a window to submit our paperwork. I didn't want to miss our turn at the window so rushed to changed Ella's diaper and came back to have the oath already completed, so German is responsible for taking it for her :) Our turn at the window went with no issues and our group was back to the hotel by about 10am (in time for us to have a quick Skype with the boys, being that it was 7pm their time).
Tomorrow we will get Ella's Chinese passport back with a visa to enter the US plus a sealed brown envelope (that we are not to open) to give to immigration when we reach SFO. At that time, they will look at the paperwork and stamped her passport that she is a citizen (some acronym that I can't remember). Luckily, it sounds like we can go to either the US Citizen or Non citizen line at immigration, whichever is shorter :)
We had a great group dinner with most of the agency families tonight and a few of us have decided to go back to the same restaurant tomorrow (our last night here!) It has been an amazing trip but we are so ready to be home. Most of tomorrow will likely be spent get everything packed and ready to go for our early departure Fri morning.
I am getting nervous how Ella will be once we get her home. She has been great here and tons of fun but has also had 2 parents undivided attention including sleeping in the bed with us. Poor baby girl will have some adjustments once she finally gets to her forever home! German and I have been talking out some transition ideas, mainly around getting her to sleep in her crib (likely with one of us in the bed in the same room, but sat least not getting kicked all night!)