China is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people, however after traveling here I appreciate the USA so much more.
Yesterday we had to go to the bank to exchange money from U.S. currency into RMB. The exchange rate is 6.44 RMB to 1.00 US dollar. The daily exchange limit is $5,000 US a day. We did not know that when we went to the bank but God did.
Before we traveled to China we were blessed by a school fundraiser from a fellow adoptive mom (they adopted Quinn's foster brother) in New York. The PTA at her children's school worked with an organization called Love Without Boundaries. They chose Quinn and the family that would adopt him as the recipient. They raised $2,000 and Love Without Boundaries also donated $1,000 to the family that would adopt Quinn. As it turned out we were that family.
So, each family must bring with them from the US $7,300 in brand new one hundred dollar bills to give to the orphanage as a donation. Love Without Boundaries and the school in New York wired $3,000 to the orphanage on our behalf when they knew we were traveling. So that meant we needed to bring $4,300 with us.
So, our guide took us to the bank yesterday to exchange our money, we waited about 20 minutes to go to the counter, they only had two windows which were protected with very thick glass. Once we got to the window it took over an hour and a half to exchange our money. So I stood their with our guide for the duration. At times it was very tense. I passed my money and passport through the bulletproof glass and they had my way out of the country in their hands. The person helping me looked very young and I stress, very young. He seemingly entered my information on a computer and studied my passport.
What you need to know is that the banks are government controlled and very regulated.
The other thing you also need to know is that my Visa is only approved for 30 days because I am a minister.
So the government did not want to exchange my money because I only had a 30 day Visa.
Something else that is important to know is that the central bank in China has to give permission for all currency exchanges over $200 a day.
So, they asked me a bunch of questions, they looked at my Passport and Visa and my face at least 30 times just to make sure it was me. The young man at the counter had two other very young workers looking over his shoulder the whole time, double checking and tripling checking everything done.
Our guide, Helen became a little upset at their delay and decided to ask some questions and to give them a piece of her mind. The branch manager came out and told her they would work much slower if she didn't quiet down because everyone in the bank was listening.
She explained the situation to me as it was unfolding, so I attempted to calm her and tell her it was ok and it would work out.
So one hour and thirty five minutes into it and wondering if I was even going to get my Passport and Visa back, the bank finally approved our exchange.
If God had not moved the heart of one mom in New York and an organization on our behalf we would not have been able to exchange our money yesterday and pick up our son.
We collected our RMB's and hurried off to meet our new son Quinn.
Now you know why I am so thankful for the freedom we have in the USA!