Adopting Daji

October 2002

Adopting Daji

We left Copenhagen on November 23rd 2002, and were in China for a total of 13 days. We flew to Beijing, where we stayed for three days, on to Hangzhou, the administrative capital of Zhejiang province for a week, before returning to Beijing.

Daji was from Yiwu, about 100 kilometres south of Hangzhou. He was brought by car, by the Director and a driver from from the Yiwu Social Welfare Institute. “Gotcha” day was the 28th October 2002.

On our first trip, to collect Yanmei, we’d left Copenhagen with just 48 hours notice – this time we had roughly a months notice – so there was plenty of time to get ready. Despite being well prepared, a sick son and lost passport, both on the day of travel, brought the stress level to near breaking point.

Hangzhou was also very very different than Langzhou, where we’d collected Yanmei. Whilst Langzhou is close to the Gobi desert and one of the poorest areas in China, Hangzhou is situated on the delta of the Yangtze river, in one of China’s most fertile and richest areas. Historically Hangzhou has been a trade and tourist centre for China’s elite, which in turn led to the famous saying: “Heaven above has its paradise; this world has Suzhou and Hangzhou”.

The reactions of Yanmei and Daji were also very different. Naturally both were scared; Yanmei was 2½ and Daji 3, so they were very much aware that something was happening, even though they probably didn’t understand what! Yanmei was withdrawn and timid, until her first smile, 36 hours later, at which time she totally opened up. Daji, on the other hand, reacted at almost everything that happened with excessive laughter, and had occasional bouts of often prolonged hysterics.

Read our day-by-day description of our trip ...
Day 1: Panic at the airport October 23, 2002 Everything’s ready – we have our passports, Chinese visa’s included, we've picked up Dollars from the bank, plane tickets have arrived and we've been vaccinated and everything's packed. But Thomas our oldest son, has been taken ill, so we move him off to his grandfather. Then Lene's passport is missing at the airport, it had… Read more >
Day 2: Back in Beijing October 24, 2002 We were still an hour or so delayed, when we arrived at Beijing International airport. We managed to sleep - sitting in business class seats makes it so much easier, so we didn’t feel too bad as we queued up for passport control. We took a taxi to Beijing, checked in and went for a… Read more >
Day 3: Walk about in Beijing October 25, 2002 We'd planned to walk to the Temple of Heaven, but never made it, as we needed to meet our guide, Christina, just after lunch. The soon to be big sisters spent some time in the pool and we ate dinner at the hotel. Read more >
Day 4: The Great Wall October 26, 2002 Today was the day! The day were were going to visit the Great Wall. We missed out on it last time, so we had great expectations. We also visited a jade and pearl factory before eating a mediocre lunch and taking a long walk in the afternoon. Read more >
Day 5: On to Hangzhou October 27, 2002 We were up early to leave for Hangzhou, the city to which our adopted children would be brought tomorrow. It was beautiful weather and we went for a walk and ended up in a local supermarket. Four western families with Chinese girls generated a lot of attention. We had a western buffet dinner at the… Read more >
Day 6: Gotcha Day October 28, 2002 We woke fairly early - before the alarm clock rang. We had to be at the Civil Affairs Office by 9:00, so at 8:30, four sets of expectant, well-dressed parents and 4 soon to be big sisters, met in the lobby for a group photo. Daji arrived at 9.45, very shy. He bonded fairly quickly… Read more >
Day 7: The adoption ceremony October 29, 2002 After a good nights sleep we woke up to another grey and wet day. In the afternoon we were back at the Civil Affairs Office for the official presentation of the adoption documents, including a small gift for Daji (a panda), and to meet the Notary and fill in some more forms. We also visited… Read more >
Day 8: A quiet day October 30, 2002 Another good nights sleep, no nightmares or waking up during the night. Daji must sleep fairly lightly, because as soon as there's any movement in the morning, he's awake. Of course he was used to getting up early at the orphanage - or perhaps he can see through his open eyes whilst he's asleep :-)… Read more >
Day 9: West Lake and Silk Factory October 31, 2002 Today the rain had stopped and the group took a chance to sail on the West Lake and visit a silk factory. In the afternoon there was some sun and the four of us decided to walk about downtown. We ended up on some small streets with small shops - this was "normal" China, away… Read more >
Day 10: Daji gets a passport November 1, 2002 After breakfast, Lene, Dorthe, Conny and Claus took the bus to the Notary to get more official papers and the Chinese passports. Yanmei played with the other children and I read for and played with Daji. Upon Lene's return, we took another trip around town before the official farewell dinner and an evening packing, as… Read more >
Day 11: Back to Beijing November 2, 2002 We had a very early morning flight back to Beijing and a couple of hours wait to check into the hotel. We decided to walk into Beijing, but were delayed by Daji being very upset about a piece of chocolate. It wasn't fun walking through the hotel, 2 westerners with a screaming Chinese child. Read more >
Day 12: Beijing Zoo and the Summer Palace November 3, 2002 Another tourist day in Beijing. We visited the zoo to see the panda's and the Summer Palace. It was cold, and perhaps not the perfect tourist destination for families with strollers, but not least the Summer Palace was well worth a visit. It was another day with bouts of hysterics, which was worrying. Read more >
Day 13: Last day in Beijing November 4, 2002 This was our last full day in Beijing. There weren't any plans for the day. We started with an early trip to the Silk Market, before the crowds, and bought a few things. Back at the hotel, we met Christina, who was to take the children’s Chinese passports to the Danish embassy to get their… Read more >
Day 14: Home to Copenhagen November 5, 2002 It was chaos at the airport, and the 2 hours we had soon disappeared in queues. We were relieved to even make the plane, which was duly delayed waiting for people to get through passport control. Daji saw a Stuart Little file 4 times, which kept him quiet and occupied. Read more >