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Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Time Event
Facing the ogre atop a glass mountain
Armed only with a pen, this day I faced a mound of paperwork 15 forms high: passport copy, certificate of abandonment, application for visa, medical forms, certified copies of translations of copied certificates of Chinese permissions, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I wrote my wife's name at least 20 times, Lady Jane Jenny Lenny Lane Jagi Nemenstratus Cthulhu Lamprighter Lampwright Lamplighter Nyarlathotep-Smythe Wright, Countess of Polinac --- fortunately, I had my own name legally changed to X, so it was relatively easier to write my name 20 times. According to Chinese law and tradition, I had to write all the forms using a brush made from the hair of a wild camel I caught myself. The adoption agency made this part easier by having the camel tipsy with rice wine before I clubbed it to death with the ceremonial jade-carved ox-headed truncheon known as 'Nine Thunders'.

Okay so it was not that bad. But it was a lot of papers to fill out. Naturally, I would have faced an ogre atop a mountain of glass to win my daughter back home but in the modern age, the only trial of manhood required is facing the many pages of bureaucracy without complaint -- a feat which, until I sat to type out this complaint, I had accomplished. d'oh!

On an unrelated note, my Chinese guide was sincerely puzzled when he overheard the Americans adopting children (we are here as a group) complaining about socializing the medicine in the US. Most of the adoptive parents are Christian Conservatives (I leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess why), and most understand the basic idea that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch -- redistributing a scarce good or service does not make it somehow less scarce; all it does is give an arbitrary authority control of the decisions on how to prioritize, ration, and economize. As if the newspapers had been overhearing our talk, I was pointed to an article from the Sunday Times of London. The headline: “Daughter saves mother, 80, left by doctors to starve.” You may see the story here.

May my daughter prove as loving and loyal.

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