I picked up our Travel Visas today! Yay!!!
I had brought all of our documents in last week to file the application, and was thankful that I had previously researched what the potential issues could be. I was also very fortunate that my BFF is resourceful and made sure I had everything I needed from her! She had sent me a letter of invitation with tons of details, as well as photos of 3 different parts of her passport, all of which I needed, but would never have known to ask for.
I was also glad I had been reading posts on a yahoo group about homeland visits. Through this group, I became aware that if it is your child’s 1st time returning to China since his or her arrival to your country, you must send their Chinese passport along which they cancel and return to you. I was ok with this, until I collected the Visas today. The fact is that they (rightfully) cancelled the passport with a huge “CANCELLED” stamp on several pages. This is not really a big deal to most people. Child is no longer a Chinese citizen, child’s Chinese passport is cancelled. Simple enough, right?
Wrong. As I have posted in the past, by choosing to adopt a child from China, we “chose” to raise a child while meeting certain conditions, including revoking their Chinese citizenship and facilitating the process to have the child become a Canadian citizen asap. Having “made the decision” to revoke my child’s Chinese Citizenship bothers me. I wish there was a way that we could wait until our child is old enough to make the decision herself. But that is impossible, and I understand that.
Nevertheless, when I saw the “cancelled” stamps, I felt like in the midst of trying to expose J to her birth culture and encouraging her to embrace it (the Visas were obtained for a homeland visit, after all), one of the steps in the process has been to take a little bit more of it away from her. It’s not like we could have ever used the passport for her to gain entry into the country. But At the same time, there was something about that passport that remained hers. In its pristine condition, it was a proof of her heritage and of the mutual belonging she had with China (mutual, in the sense that she belonged to China and China belonged to her). For some reason, I foolishly thought that this would last forever.
Let’s be honest: the cancelled stamp on J’s Chinese passport do not change anything about who she is or where she comes from. But I can’t help but feel that a little bit of her past was lost today.
However, instead of letting this get me down, I will use it to propel the meaning behind our upcoming trip. I am hoping that our trip will be much more memorable than a passport is. And I will be honest with J. At some point, I will tell her how I feel about this. And she may share my feelings. Or she may not. But I am hopeful that this will lead to an important discussion on identity and cultural belonging-when the time is right.
Back to the Visas: I actually messed up today… When I filed the application last week, I was given a slip of paper with a number on it that I was to return with today. I forgot it… So I had a really hard time getting them. In the end, a Manager was called to see what could be done, and thankfully, she was the one who had taken my application! She remembered me from last week! Thankfully, she authorized the release of the Visas (with appropriate pieces of identification for both J and myself and a signed waiver). Lesson learned for next time!
So this is real…. and coming soon! We leave 41 days from today!!! ( Oh wait-it's after midnight here-40 days!!!)