I am going to preface this with an apology for any spelling or grammatical mistakes...we are tired, really tired so my fingers may be moving faster than my brain at this point!
After waking up obscenely early this morning and waiting hours (and hours...and hours) to go down for breakfast we met our guide Eric to tour Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. Last time we were here in December and it was sunny, clear but COLD, today it was dark, overcast, cold and rainy so I am glad we had the opportunity to have previously visited because today due to the weather and a very tired little girl we got the abbreviated tour. It was fun to see Chen Chen recognize buildings, statues etc. from pictures from our trip to bring her home and she brought her camera to take pictures for her own album. After returning back at our hotel we had a couple of hours before our afternoon appointment so we went to a mall around the corner from our hotel and got some lunch. We ordered a bunch of random items off the menu some of which were really good and some of which all 3 of us passed on!
After lunch we met Eric again to go to the CCCWA which stands for China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption. We had made an appointment to go to view what they have in Chen Chen's official file. When we received her referral we received 3 pictures of her and her basic medical and developmental information but we were curious to see if there was anything not included. Our guide asked why we wanted to go, he told us we were the first adoptive family he has had in the 7 years he has been working as a guide who has ever requested to go to the CCCWA, the company he works for does heritage tours and he explained as part of the tours they sometimes go to the CCCWA but adoptive families don't ask to go. I explained that I knew other families who have visited some didn't get any additional info and others had and since we were in Beijing and Chen Chen has been asking so many questions about her birth family, adoption etc. we thought it would be something special we could do for her on this trip. When we arrived at the CCCWA there was a gentleman who had her file pulled and ready for us to review, we sat down at a large conference table and started to go through everything. I think they were surprised at how fast we went through the paperwork but I have been over her file that we have with a fine tooth comb so many times I instantly recognized most of the documents. The original copies of the Chinese paperwork and the English translations were in there as well as all of our dossier and other adoption paperwork. After flipping through a few pages we found 1 small treasure...her footprint from when she was admitted to her orphanage. Her tiny, perfect little footprint. I asked if I could take a picture and was pleasantly surprised when they said yes, we were also able to get a picture of her with her file. The only other things in her file that we hadn't seen before were a copy of the CWI director's ID and 1 post surgical picture relating to her special need. Our guide works for Bridge of Love Adoption Services which is in the same building as the CCCWA and he explained he does translation work for them sometimes including post placement reports. Maybe one day he will be translating one of our reports. It was kind of amazing to see where all of that paperwork we worked so hard over eventually ended up.
After returning to our hotel we walked out in the rain (that is supposed to change to a wintry mix tonight) to get more water and snacks. After a shopkeeper tried to shortchange me when giving our change back we took our purchases and headed back to our room. We would love to walk around the neighborhood here more, but it is just too yucky out and frankly we are very tired. This evening Chen Chen is taking yet another bath in the enormous bathtub in our room, it is great for entertaining her and easier than going up to the pool. We are trying hard to stay awake so we can sleep tonight and not wake up at 1 am again as we have another busy day ahead of us tomorrow!