Monday, March 26, 2012

cleared for travel

Time has slowed down since we arrived in Guangzhou. There are things to be done each day here (if we’re not at an appointment, we’re waiting for paperwork to be processed).

Saturday, we reported to the Travel Medical Clinic to have Joya undergo the standard medical check to make sure she does not have any communicable diseases. There are four places to get in line and process through – general physical examination, height and weight check, ENT exam, and any children over two years old must get a TB test.

There were hundreds of people waiting in this not-so-large clinic. At least 40 percent of them were adoptive families in the same boat as we are. Luckily for us, we have friends who have adopted from China three times with our agency. Before we left for China, we went out to dinner with them and they gave us marching orders for how to get through the clinic checks efficiently. It was a good thing they did, because Joya HATED it there and cried and screamed the entire time.

Luckily, my husband is brilliant and in addition to having us wait in separate lines to secure our spots and shorten our waits, he forbade me from Joya’s sight in these exam areas. He insisted that I wait in the hallway while he played “bad guy” and held her down for the exams, but lo and behold, who do you think she wanted to comfort her when it was all said and done???

Her mommy. Yup, that would be me.

I’ve included pictures at the bottom of the post that show how crowded it was. We were the first in our group to be finished and we quickly made it to the lobby of the building where she snuggled in my sling and fell asleep for the bus ride back to the hotel.

Any child over two years of age immigrating into the States needs to undergo a TB skin test before being cleared for an entry visa by the consulate. You would have thought that someone chopped off her left arm by the way she screamed through the needle prick test. Then she repeatedly pulled up her sleeve and pointed to the dot of blood with big tears falling and rambling in Mandarin. We kissed her and hugged her and told her she was all done.

But I’m sure she thought we lied to her because we had to take her back on Monday morning to have the skin test checked. All of the other children in our group had arms that showed the teeny-tiniest little dot on otherwise smooth and normal arms.

Not our Joya. Only 24 hours after the test, she had us worried when a red and raised bump remained on her arm. Our new and dear friend Carrie who is another mom in our group, and also a physician’s assistant, worked very hard not to worry me too much, but she was also a good enough friend not to lie to me either. She told me that it definitely was suspicious, but to wait another 24 hours until Monday’s clinic check.

If the skin test is positive, the child must have a chest X-ray taken to check for active TB in the lungs. If the X-ray is not clear, it equals a big delay in bringing her home. A positive skin test is a raised bump measuring ten millimeters or more.

As the rest of the kids were checked by the nurses, they zipped in and out with just a glance and a quick finger swipe on the arm. Not us, the nurse took our her pen, marked the edges of her bump (again, she acted like her arm was being chewed by a pack of wolves), and measured with a tiny little ruler.

We waited on pins and needles only to see an “8” written down and we were told she was “okay” and we could go.

I hugged that baby girl so hard and shed a few tears of my own.

She is going to LOVE all of the doctors’ appointments we have scheduled and waiting for her at home!


  1. Thanks for not disappointing, I am not even out of bed and checking my iPad for your update. Make you sure you take the "bad guy" to all those appointments back home!! Can't wait to talk to you soon. Still praying and missing you!

  2. Thank you for all the updates Laurie, prayers are going for the Sweeney Family every day!! I read Kenyon's blog on Sunday and it brought tears to my eyes. Tell him he is a better writer than he thinks!! I couldn't respond because I goofed up at the end of my note and lost everything I wrote. Hopefully you get this. We're cheering for you, Kenyon & Joya from Illinois!!
    Blessings and Hugs to you all!!

  3. Ah, cherish that precious picture of her in your sling. How awesome. You are the best writer and best mom. :) Thanks for being so real about the journey! Love, Jules


About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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