We're now in Guangzhou, where every Chinese adoption is processed. Actually, we're on Shamian Island, which is where the consulate used to be and is still is where every adoptive family stays and shops. To me, at least, the place is a little trippy. Everywhere you go, you see adoptive families. We all stay in the same hotel, The White Swan, so on every floor you hear crying babies. And a huge cottage industry serving people like us has sprung up on the island. Little shop after little shop carries traditional Chinese outfits, baby clothes, souvenirs, diapers and all sorts of arts and crafts aimed at adoptive families - get your child's name carved on a "chop" (a signature stamp), get your child's face carved on a stamp, get your child's picture etched in granite, get your child's face painted inside a bottle. Of course we can't resist any of them.
It's fun being here, but I must say that I prefer Beijing. There, we met Chinese people who were truly interested in us and our kids. Here, very few people live on the island so the people you meet are mostly merchants who want to sell you something. Both are fascinating in their own way, but Beijing felt more authentic to me.
Also, it's very difficult not to compare development levels here. What, that kid is 13 months old and already feeding herself? Look at that little baby - her eye contact is way better than Quinn's. Wow, that boy is just a little older than Quinn and he's walking already. Definitely not a good thing to do, at least for me.
On the plus side, it's great fun to meet other adoptive families and hear their stories. Last night at dinner we sat next to a super nice couple from Omaha who is here adopting their seventh (!!) child, a 3-year-old boy with spina bifida. This morning at breakfast we sat next to a couple of Chinese descent with an elementary-school-aged bio son who adopted a baby girl. They're from Phoenix, just a couple hours from us. It really is a small world.