This morning we enjoyed our last breakfast in our first home with Penelope, the Crown in Zhengzhou. We packed our things tighter into the available space in our baggage. We had our picture taken with the other families on the swirled marble steps and waited in the lobby, facing the invisible wall of homesickness. The Chinese say a red thread binds our families. Our respective governments bind us with red tape.
This week in Guangzhou we will get Penelope’s visa, get her tested for TB, and have her seen by a physician. We will swear to the US government that we accept this child as our own.
Penelope did great on the flight. There was crying due to being tired, not fear. After a 45 minute nap she awoke in a playful mood, wiggling and playing with Jennifer and I. She started with the kicking again which led to a stern “no” and holding her legs in place. That’s when the siren started screaming.
On the ground we met our final guide, Jason. He had an itinerary and all the information about the hotel prepared and distributed to each family. The China Hotel Marriott contains numerous shops, Starbucks being the most important for our stay. The population of the city is 16 million, and the agency advises us not to leave the hotel at night and to keep valuables close at hand since pick pockets are common. The humidity is 90%. It looks like we’re in an Asian Miami, the architecture being nothing like Henan.
The hotel is an island of comfort and Western opulence surrounded by squalor. I’ll be sure to get pictures of the view from our window. Penelope seems to think its OK, acting like her joyous, temperamental self. Getting her to bed was fast but furious, her cries becoming screams at one point. Soon enough she was out and in the crib, recharging for another day to laugh, kick, and cry. And eat Cheerios.