On Monday December 13th we got up and went down for breakfast. The hotel restaurant was just off the lobby. It was freezing. Evidently they were a "green" hotel which translated to no heat downstairs. We had to eat breakfast in our coats. Another thing I should note about China is that smoking is allowed inside buildings so at any given meal you could be seated next to someone who was smoking. Sissi (CC) one of staff members who were helping us - came over and helped us get through the first meal. She induced us to not only to congee (which we had read about), but also to steamed eggs. I could not believe how much two little girls could eat.
After breakfast we all met in the lobby and and got on the bus. They do not use car seats in China so the girls sat in our laps. We were driven to the civil affairs office to finalize our adoptions. We weren't able to park close so we had to hoof it to the building and then cram into an elevator. In China there is little sense of personal space so people will continue to push into the elevator well past what we American's would find appropriate. Even though our reps tried to hold the elevator just for our group several other people piled on board. Evidently the elevator we were on was an express.
Once we got upstairs we all took turns getting our photos taken. Each family had to sit with their child for a photo - in our case we went twice since we had two. After the photos we were taken into a big room to wait. Larry had to go and make the first of many payments. Then each family went into another room and sat before an official and swore to care for our children and never abandon or abuse them. It was very quick and we were in and out of the room in short order.
We then got back on the bus and rode to the notaries office where once again we had to walk to the building. Inside the notary office they had several heaters blasting. Larry and I decided to take the girls hoods off and unzipped their jackets. It was a big mistake. The clothing police were on hand. Several older ladies approached us and after some gesturing made it clear we should not have unzipped or taken their hoods off. It was also our first of many encounters with people who were attracted to our twins. The notary appointment went fairly quickly as well and then we were back on the bus.
Our next stop - WalMart.