Our adoption home study was completed last week and this week it was sent to the agency supervisor for approval, then to the Hong Kong program director for approval, and finally to us to make sure it was correct. Yesterday afternoon we got an email that it was done and they would get it notarized and send it out to us. But since we had to go out in that direction today anyway for the kids' homeschool enrichment hub, we called this morning to ask if they could get it ready for us to pick up this afternoon. They said yes, so after school we headed over that way to pick it up.
On the way, we were at a red light and I saw an interesting sign at a plaza up ahead. It said China Merchandise, and I was intrigued! We have been keeping the kids informed about the process, and have been teaching them that their new little brother or sister will be Chinese and that they eat Chinese food, and other little things about Hong Kong and Chinese culture. On Wednesday I was telling the kids about Cantonese cuisine, which is the most common in Hong Kong, and Jeb announced that we should start eating a lot of Chinese food so we can like the same kind of food as their little brother or sister. Jeb asked if there was a Chinese food store we could go to, and I wasn't aware of one, but told him we could probably find most of what we need at Kroger, or the local Japanese grocery store. He has been insistent that we find Chinese food stores and get real Chinese food, so finding this store was perfect!
As we walked in, the first thing we saw was a display of candies. Jeb yelled "Chinese candy!!!", causing everyone to stop and look at us. To the right was a fruit display, and he yelled "Chinese oranges!". I started picking out Chinese vegetables and brought him with me to get a basket, and he asked "Is this a Chinese basket?" And it continued all the way down the aisle :)
They had a lot of fun things, lots of sauces and jars and a whole freezer section of various tofu products. They even had preserved duck eggs, you're going to want to click that link if you're unfamiliar with this delicacy found in China and Hong Kong. Eric declined my offer of buying them and preparing them with a meal ;) Then we came to the meat section. And by meat section, I mean plastic bins of live lobsters (the biggest I've ever seen!), crabs, fish, and turtles! They did have a dead animal section as well-whole ducks and chickens with no feathers but their heads still on, resting ever so neatly at the top of the bag, big bins of bird feet and livers, and lots of whole fish on ice. The kids enjoyed looking at the live animals (Jeb was terrified of the lobsters!) and then asked if we could bring home a turtle for a pet. I gently but honestly explained that these are not pet turtles, they are turtles for food. Then they started begging me to buy a turtle and cook it for dinner!! My strange, adventurous children! I told them I didn't know how and I would have to learn about how to cook turtle, but that is
a little bit wayyyy outside my comfort zone! Maybe we'll find a Chinese restaurant that serves turtle and they can try it?
We picked up some nice Chinese vegetables, some Hong Kong style noodles, a sweet chili sauce, and some other things. Unfortunately I didn't think to read the labels and when we got home I realized that the frozen lemongrass I bought had artificial blue and yellow dyes, and one of the packages of noodles has artificial red and yellow :( So I guess that will be for Eric and I. Luckily it wasn't the package of noodles that we are going to use for our Chinese New Year dinner, longevity noodles!
After the store, we swung by the adoption agency office to pick up our homestudy, then came home and Eric got back to work while I prepared our packet to send to USCIS. Eric ran it to the post office and got it sent priority mail so it will arrive on Monday. On the website, they say that it is their goal to get through each case within 90 days, but usually they guess a date that is farther away so that they aren't getting phone calls from anxious, impatient adoptive parents...I'm hoping to get it back within 6 weeks. Actually I'm hoping to get it back yesterday so we can move on to the next part of the process (sending our dossier to Hong Kong) but patience is a virtue, right? ;)