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Friday, November 15 2019 @ 05:43 AM EST

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Day 0: Final Preparations

General NewsHome in Waterloo, Ontario (43.496705,-80.577164)
Click the LAT/LON coordinates (WGS84) for our current location
Mostly Cloudy , -6C, Winds W 7 km/h

Summary: Last minute packing details and issues encountered.

Details: The biggest issue that we have is that we have to fit everything we are taking into 1 piece of checked baggage each which has external dimensions not exceeding 158 cm = length + width + height AND is no more than 44 lbs. We are working to be within the more stringent limits of China Airlines. Our 2 suitcases are at the max dimensions already and weight 51 and 53 lbs as of the last weigh-in. In addition we are entitled to 1 piece of carry-on which has dimensions not exceeding 115cm (56cm L + 23 cm W + 36 cm H) AND weighs no more than 7 kg (15.4 lbs).

My camera bag (my carry-on) weighs 18.5 lbs not including my laptop, so we not starting off that well. I am carrying a lot of gear. Canon 30D w/17-40mm f4L, Canon ELPH SD800 IS, Canon 430EZ, Garmin Map60csx, Gen 4 40G iPod, Sony PSP, Sony HDR-HC1, UTStarCom F1000G, Blackberry 8700r, IBM R51 Laptop and assorted chargers and cables. Pictures and a few more detail to follow tomorrow.
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Our Itinerary

General News Home in Waterloo, Ontario (43.496705,-80.577164)
Click the LAT/LON coordinates (WGS84) for our current location
Mostly Cloudy , -6C, Winds W 7 km/h

Many people have asked us about what the process is in China and where and when we are traveling. Below is the actual itinerary that we are going to be using while in-country. We are arriving 2 days earlier (on Feb 01) with 5 other families to adjust to the time and environment. Our return trip is with the entire 28 family group.

Jan 31: Families leave Toronto (Terminal 1) for Vancouver on Flight AC1163/08:00
Jan 31: Families arrive in Vancouver on Flight AC1163/10:05 (in flight 5h5m)
Jan 31: Families depart for Beijing on Flight AC0029/12:35
Feb 01: Families arrive in Beijing on Flight AC029/16:00 (in flight 11h25m), guide will meet them at airport and transfer to International Hotel, Beijing. They will join the group on Feb 03.
Feb 02: Families arrive in Beijing on Flight AC029/16:00, guide will meet them at airport and transfer to International Hotel, Beijing. They will join the group on Feb.03.
Feb 03: Families arrive in Beijing on Flight AC031/12:45, guide will meet them at airport and transfer to International Hotel, Beijing.
Feb 04: Beijing to Nanchang on Flight CA1511(11:30-14:00), transfer to Gloria Plaza Hotel, Nanchang. Families will meet their child at the hotel in the afternoon and sign the agreement.
Feb 05: Go to the Civil Affairs for the adoption registration and the passport.
Feb 06: Continue to do the process for notarization.
Feb 07: Go to department store to buy some daily necessities for their children.
Feb.08: Visit the people.s Park.
Feb 09: Pick up passport. Nanchang to Beijing on Flight HU7194 (17:00-19:00), transfer to International Hotel, Beijing.
Feb 10: Medical and take photo for the child.
Feb 11: Visit the Great Wall with Lunch, (cable car is not included).
Feb 12: Go to the Canadian Embassy to apply the child.s visa.
Feb 13: Visit Tian An Men Square and the Forbidden City in the morning. And Beijing Duck Dinner in the evening.
Feb 14: Pick up visa in the afternoon.
Feb 15: Leaving Beijing for Toronto on Flight AC032/14:40, transfer to airport.
Feb 15: Families arrive in Toronto on Flight AC0032/15:10 - Terminal 1 (in flight 13h30m)

We are staying at the International Hotel, Beijing and the Gloria Plaza Hotel in Nanchang. Click on the links for pictures and descriptions of the hotels if you are curious. More information as we get it.
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Final Paperwork has Arrived

General News This week we were couriered our final package containing our passports, Chinese visa and our plane tickets. Most importantly we received the Notice of Coming. It is It is an approval notice from the CCAA ("Notice of Coming to China for Adoption"). This document will bear the red-inked seals of the CCAA (Chidren's Center for Adoption Affairs) With this sealed approval notice in hand, we may proceed directly to the city in China where the Civil Affairs Bureau with jurisdiction over the appropriate Children's Welfare Institute is located. The CCAA will have already forwarded a copy of the adoption approval notice to the locality where the child resides. Local Child Welfare Institutes, provincial Civil Affairs officials and Chinese notarial offices will not process adoptions unless they have seen this notice allowing the prospective adoptive parents take legal custody of the child. In China we will meet with a notary in the provincial capital for an informal interview before they notarize documents such as birth certificates or abandonment certificates. More on this process later as we actually go through it.

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They grow up so fast!!!

General NewsWe haven't even met Lauren and she is already growing up. Here is another picture that arrived today as part of our official package from Children's Bridge. More information a little later when we have time to write it.


Almost a month since my last update and much has happened. There was a flurry of paperwork that went back and forth which needed to be viewed by our doctor and approved by our adoption practitioner. We had a slight problem in the wording of one of our documents that worried our agency . We eventually made the deadline for the and with more pictures of us and our passports (for our Chinese visas) the last package of documents was finally off.

We has a very pleasant surprise that our agency was considering sending us all to China and back before the Chinese New Year 4705 that begins on Feb. 18, 2007! We will be traveling to Vancouver on Jan 31 for a 2 hour layover then another 9 hours to Beijing. We are traveling 2 days early to get a little jump on the jet lag and get organized. The combined group (28 families) will be split up to 2 different provinces and then again split across orphanages in the respective provinces. So we don't know exactly who we will be traveling with as one provincial group is going a day before the other. We do know that we will all be traveling back together. Just image 29 babies (1 family got twins) on a plane for 15 hours!

We are awaiting our final documents from China. Our visas and the Letter of Coming that states that we are formally adopting Lauren (Feng Ke Wen) and removing her from the country. This should arrive shortly. We will be focusing on 2 main things in the next few weeks. Preparing for trip, which includes packing very carefully what we need and organizing documents and money. The last objective is to get Lauren's room ready. I can smell paint already.
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Adoption referral finally arrives!!!

General NewsAfter nearly 18 months of waiting our referral from Children's Bridge finally arrived. At this point all we have is a photo and a brief description of her. The official package is being translated and will arrive in a few days. Here is what we know as of right now. Her name is Feng Ke Wen. Feng is her last name and Ke Wen is her first and middle names. She was born Feb 13/06 in the province of Jiangxi and currently resides at the Fengcheng Social Welfare Institute in Jiangxi, China. She has big round eyes and pale skin and weights 5.78 kgs (12.75 lbs) as of Aug 4th. Needless to say we are very excited about her arrival and plan to travel to China in the next 6 to 8 weeks. We will continue to post information as we get it.

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Goodbye Smokey and Hello Bella

General Newst's with great sadness that we are announcing the passing of Smokey who was a member of our family for more than 8 years. After a routine yearly vaccine he came down sick in about 30 days. The vet diagnosed him as having a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics. Smokey continued to lose weight and started to drink a lot of water. 30 days later he was getting sick a few times a week. We got him back to the vet after he stopped eating. This time he was diagnosed as being diabetic and we quickly realized that as well as being a very expensive few months, we could not care for our sick cat long term. It broke our hearts to make the decision that we needed to make. Our little buddy will be missed very very much. A few pictures will be up shortly.

Bella comes to us from the Cambridge Humane Society and is 6-7 month old female (we think she is a Russian Blue) that is all gray with green eyes, mauve pads and on the petite side. She has a squeaky meow, lots of energy and loves to play. Bandit needed a day or two to adjust to her but are getting along just great now.



An old Russian prayer reads:

Hear our prayer, Lord, for all animals,
May they be well fed and well treated and happy.
Protect them from hunger and fear and suffering.
And, we pray, protect specially, dear Lord,
The little blue cat who is the companion of our home.
Keep her safe as she goes abroad
And bring her back to comfort us.