Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Travel Plans

The last week or so has been devoted to figuring out all the logistics for getting to and around China. Here's what we are doing, with websites for our hotels, for any of you who want to follow along.

We’ll be flying out of SFO 1:30 am Monday, May 2nd, returning to SFO the night of May 20th. Direct, non-stop to and from Hong Kong. We arrive May 3rd in Beijing (via Hong Kong) in the afternoon. We'll be sight-seeing in Beijing as a pre-trip before the adoption.

May 7th in the late afternoon we fly to Guangzhou and meet the rest of our group of 22 adopting couples. We stay in The China Marriott Hotel that night and the next.

May 9th we split up into smaller groups to go to individual provinces and/or orphanages. We go to Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province. We’ll be staying here May 9th through May 13th, at the Gloria Hotel.

May 9th we receive our babies!!

We spend the rest of the week doing local, provincial paperwork for the adoption. We are holding out some hope that we can get to visit the actual town our daughter is from, Tonggu, 3 to 4 hours away from Nanchang in the mountains.

May 14th we return to Guangzhou to do more paperwork, mostly with the American Embassy there. We’ll be back in the China Marriott Hotel through May 19th.

We fly home the evening of May 20th, and arrive a few hours before we left due to crossing the date-line.

Jiangxi map: Tonggu & Nanchang marked
Jiangxi: Tonggu in red, Nanchang in blue

Saturday, April 09, 2005


The name given to our daughter by the social welfare institute is Tong Min Mao.

All the children from one orphanage have the same surname, in this case Tong, for the city they are in. In this case the town is Tonggu, and Tong means “copper” because the area is rich in copper mines. All the children from this orphanage also share a generational name of “Min” (which means “of the people”), then a given name, in this case Mao. Because Chinese is a mulit-tonal language we had to wait until we saw the character of her name to know the meaning, as there can be many meanings of Mao. Turns out the meaning of our Mao is “furry” or more commonly, “fluffy”, which in Chinese is a commonly used term for “cute”. So, our daughter’s orphanage name could mean “people (or person) of the fur” (!), which fits us well with our two very hairy dogs and rather furry house. The character Min, “of the People”, or “The People’s” is the same character as in “The People’s Republic of China”, . The character for Mao is the same character as in Chairman Mao, though in his case it is a sur-name; . So another interpretation of her name is that the orphanage director is very patriotic!

Her new name will be Isabella Youlan Minmao Emery Webster.

Isabella Webster was Andrea's Great Grandmother. She was born on the 4th of July and lived to 101 years old--so it is a very auspiscious name in our family!
Youlan means mountain orchid, or secluded orchid, and is written
. Youlan is also the name of a Chinese song that is by far the world's oldest surviving substantial melody, dating from at least the 6th century CE. At the risk of a rather long name, we decided to keep her orphanage name of Minmao too. If she ever wants it legally tied to her as part of her past then it is there for her to use.

(The Chinese characters in the above posting may not show on all browsers. If you are finding funny characters or question marks, they are really supposed to be Chinese characters.)

Isabella referral picture