Our Agency social worker emailed me that our Article 5 will be picked up October 14! They will be over-nighting it to Beijing and then we will only be waiting for our TA (travel approval) The travel approval normally takes anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. So we are hoping to know exact dates of travel by the end of the month.
We had our travel conference call with our agency yesterday. It lasted 2 1/2 hours but it went by so quickly. The China rep for our agency and 2 other families joined in on the call. They believe we might be traveling with these 2 other families because we are so close in the process. One is from Pennsylvania and the other family is from Austin, Texas. We are all adopting daughters that are only a few months apart in age and all of them have cleft lip & palate. Charlotte is the only one that has had any repairs done from what I understand. Our daughters are all from different provinces though so, the first week we will be in our daughters provinces and we will meet in Guangzhou after receiving our children.
We discussed everything from what will happen as far as paperwork, what Chinese officals will be doing what, what paperwork we will need to take with us, the typical timeline while we are there, to what to eat and drink & other tips. We also discussed how much spending money to bring. Everything will be paid for in advance except for our lunch & dinner and any spending money we may want for souveniors. Our agency recommended bringing $2,000 for this.
I was excited to find out we will be booking our own travel to China and the agency will pick up everything once we are there...they handle in country flights to Lanzhou & Guangzhou, trains, buses and transporation of any kind once we are there. There will be a Engligh speaking guide/translator with us every day, for majority of the day and their role is to interpret and also they will do alot of the paperwork side.
I was a little disappointed that our agency does not wire the orphanage donation over to China ahead of time like some agencies do. That means we will have to carry alot of cash on us which is a little scarey.
If we do indeed travel as a group with the other families, the agency wants us to stay at the Garden. I have heard AWESOME things about the Garden...it is REALLY EXTRAVAGANT from what I understand. I was hoping we could stay at the Victory Hotel as a more budget friendly option but that may not be possible. We will make the most of it. :) The Garden supposedly even has remote control shower curtains! LOL! We are just not used to that level of luxury but hey, it might be nice after our week in rural China. :)
And just in case you want a good laugh and to be reminded to be thankful for the little things (western toilets) check out this link. hee hee! I am NOT looking forward to this part of rural China. :) http://www.squidoo.com/squatty-potty