Kat Mostue didn’t listen when the U.S. State Department told Americans not to travel to China because of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Mostue and her husband were in the process of adopting a Chinese boy, and they had to travel immediately. Chinese children are not eligible for adoption once they turn 14, and his 14th birthday was March 1.
They made it just in time.
Mostue spoke with OPB’s “Morning Edition” host Geoff Norcross from her home in Medford, Oregon, this week about her experience in China. Here are the highlights:
Geoff Norcross: What was it like just trying to get to China in the middle of all this?
Kat Mostue: It was stressful for us because we had two flights that were canceled. One was canceled and we were able to reschedule. And then that flight was also canceled when the Trump administration banned flights into and out of China.
And so then we rescheduled again, and we were worried that there would be no flight, that we wouldn’t be able to get there. And so there was a sort of frantic few days of trying to figure out how to get there. And we ended up flying on China Airlines through Taiwan.
Norcross: When you finally got to China, you spent time in the cities of Beijing and Guangzhou. What was life like there?
The new coronavirus is spreading across the Pacific Northwest. Here some basic things to know: • Coronavirus is more severe and more contagious than the flu. Take it seriously but don’t panic.
• The elderly and immune-compromised are most at-risk, but everyone can get sick.
• If you are sick stay home, self-quarantine and call your doctor.
• Practice social distancing. Avoid large gatherings, or small gatherings in tight spaces. At-risk people and people with underlying conditions should stay at home.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a backup option.
• Cough into a sleeve. Wash hands after coughing. Avoid touching your face.
• Sterilize things you touch often, like computers, phones, keys, and tablets.
• If you have prescriptions, call your doctor and ask for a 3-month supply in case of drug shortages.
The new coronavirus is spreading across the Pacific Northwest. Here some basic things to know:
• Coronavirus is more severe and more contagious than the flu. Take it seriously but don’t panic.
Mostue: It was kind of eerie, because this was the third time I’ve been to China, and China is usually just teeming with people and activity. And there was just nobody on the streets. It was empty, and it felt so strange to be walking through the streets of Beijing and have nobody be there.
When we went to Guangzhou, there were a lot more people out and about. But in Beijing it was very, very empty, and it was still pretty reduced population out and about in Guangzhou.
Norcross: What precautions did you have to take?
Mostue: The Chinese government had requested that everybody wear masks, and so we wore masks when we were out and about. We would get our temperature taken when we entered the hotel, and then within a couple days of being there, they were asking to take our temperatures three times a day. So they were coming up and knocking on our door, the hotel staff. We would get our temperatures taken when we would enter the subway tunnels.
Norcross: What would it have meant for your adoption if one of you had gotten sick?
Mostue: We needed to sign the paperwork before March 1, so by the end of the day on Feb. 29, we needed to sign the paperwork. If we had gotten quarantines and that quarantine extended past his birthday, it could have compromised the adoption.
Norcross: What are your days like now?
Mostue: We are quarantined at home. There’s a health care worker, a nurse from Jackson County, who calls us and checks in with us about if we have any symptoms. And we check our temperatures twice a day. So she just calls to check in and make sure that we don’t have any questions. And we haven’t had any symptoms or fever.
We’re spending our days doing things that we can do at home. We’re on a farm so my husband can work on the farm. And I’m studying a lot since I’m in graduate school. Our son sits next to me and studies English.
Norcross: How is your son doing?
Mostue: He’s doing very well. He’s great. He’s such a sweet, kind, gentle soul. And he’s so happy to be here.
Listen to the full conversation by clicking play on the audio player at the top of this story.