How it all works

I’ve realized that it’s not really all that clear to everyone exactly how we got here, so I’ll try to explain.
The people seated behind Rob and the boys on the plane did NOT have a fever when we got off the flight. But once they felt sick, they called the authorities (and we don’t know how sick they are, so we will forgive them for that), and two of them tested positive for H1n1.
So they came for us, and presumably others on the flight, and anyone else they were in contact with. And quarantined us, after plenty of negotiation, in the Grand Hyatt, and tested us. And there we were.
Until Rob’s test came back positive. Then it was ROB’s contacts they were concerned with. Us. The hotel staff. The taxi drivers. The waiters.

Here’s why: Even if you’ve been exposed to the virus, you’re not contagious until it’s taken hold. So–everyone who was scooped up on account of Rob: us, the manager at the hotel, the person who drove us to the hotel from the airport: tested, and into quarantine. If any of them develop the flu, then they’ll go after THEIR contacts.

It’s an effective, but mind-boggling operation. The American mind can scarcely grasp it. Really? Really quarantine all those people…how would you even do it? Where would you put them, how would you feed them, how would you track them–and they would object, they would sue–it really doesn’t even feel possible. Seriously? Everyone Rob talked to in the last two days?

We want to argue–but you can’t get EVERYONE, what about random people we talked to, or who touched things after we left? The feeling is that they may not be able to get to everyone, but quarantining the ones they can find will at least slow the contagion rate way down, and it does seem to be working. That said, the result is hundreds of quarantined people. I have no way of knowing how many, but there are a few hundred at this hotel alone. It’s just–

I don’t know that I ever would have grasped how really, truly, utterly different life can be in other places, even though so much of it looks the same, without this experience. They can do this. They have, in fact, done it. It’s an astonishing feat.

5 Responses to “How it all works”

  1. Amy says:

    Hi, I am going to be traveling to China next month to get our baby girl and my husband and I are planning to bring our 6 year old. My concern is not so much being quarantined(not that I want to)but my concern is having my 6yr old taken from me or my husband. I am just unnerved by all this and was wondering how you know your children won’t be taken from you and if the embassy was good a/b promising you this? Sorry to bother you, just reaching out….thanks

  2. KJ (aka Lola Granola) says:

    I don’t think China WANTS to do anything like that. If you and your husband both tested positive and your son did not, you might want to have the embassy on speed dial, but–and believe me, I’ve thought long and hard about this–I don’t think it’s LIKELY. I suppose their trouble would be that once you two were in the clear he would need to be quarantined still…I’m not sure that’s come up for them. I don’t even know that they know what they’d do–but no one’s really been unkind, or unreasonable about the kids. But once you’re here, you’re playing by their rules. I don’t think anyone can actually make any guarantees.

  3. Elisabeth says:

    Amy, the State Department issued a travel alert on June 19, that addresses this issue.

    Hope this helps. This site lists contact information for all the U.S. consulates.

  4. Diane says:

    This is for Amy above…I know some agencies have suspended adoption travel for the time being…. also you might want to skip the trip to Beijing if you can. I know when I adopted my daughter in 2006 I did not go to Beijing I went straight to her province’s capital city where the adoption was taking place (Nanning). Every story of the Swine Flu and adoptive parents that I have heard has been on Beijing flights…I have heard several stories…or “near misses” (the family was called in the hotel room and and told that someone on the flight test positive and they had to be watched– nothing this serious). So, if it was me and especially if I were traveling with children now I would be on the fun with my agency and arranging to skip the entire Beijing scene (assuming you child is not in Beijing). Just my two cents..advice. Also take every precaution on those planes. Talk to your medical people here and see if you should be wearing “masks” while on the plane? Might be extreme but so is this situation I suppose.

    best wishes to everyone who is getting ready to travel. I know this is a very stressful time for you. Adding a child to your family should be a joyful time and you all have waited so long for this moment to come. I am sorry you have to endure this aadded stress.

    and to Lola and family, you time is coming and soon you will be released from your four will. Your children will gain added prespective and their “what did you do on summer vacation” story at school will be the highlight of the class.

    Hang in there. Check one more day off the calendar. You made it through this one!

  5. Amy says:

    thankyou so very much everyone that was kind enough to respond. We actually will not be going to Bejing, we will be flying into Hong Kong late July for three days and then into Nanchang. Then onto Guangzhou the last wk. Our agency said we would only be “checked” at Hong Kong on day 1 and Nanchang on day three.
    I guess we’ll just have to pray a/b this and hope for the best.
    Meanwhile, I am praying for your fam,Lola. thanks