December 3, 2000
We boarded a plane at the Hong Kong airport and flew to Wuhan. Despite its population (more than 7 million), Wuhan's airport seemed quite small and unfrequented.
When we landed in Wuhan we were greeted by Tracy, another Holt representative. Tracy would be our guide for the next week and would help us deal with the Civil Affairs office. After loading our bags, we all boarded a bus which Tracy chartered for the week, to take us to the Shangri-La hotel. On the 45 minute trip there, she prepped us on what would take place during our week's stay in Wuhan.
The Shangri-La hotel was incredible! The rooms were spacious and clean and probably nicer than most of us have ever experienced in the states. They had an all-you-can-eat buffet which was absolutely humongous and contained an array of wonderful foods. The biggest shocker was opening our door and seeing a crib in our room. That's when it actually hit home that this would be the last night we would be a family of two.
Later we all met in Tracy's room to prepare our paperwork for the Civil Affairs office (they handled the adoption). The amount and intricacy of the paperwork was daunting, but Tracy made very sure that we did everything completely, correctly and to the letter. None of us could afford a mistake now.
Afterwards, we all hopped out to a local grocery store to stock up on Chinese baby formula, Chinese baby bottles, Coca Cola, and snacks. Many of us craved a Diet Coke, but it was nowhere to be found.
It turns out the traffic lights in Wuhan are just a suggestion and nobody really follows them. The streets are wide and it's a bit like playing the "Frogger" video game when you try to cross.
Most of us got back to our rooms early, because we needed to prepare for the big day tomorrow. We had to lay out Stephanie's clothes, wrap the gifts for the orphanage and for the foster family, and make sure we had all our paperwork in order. We also wanted to enjoy what would probably be our last decent night of sleep.
The Story Continues...
The Big Day