After a week of hearing nothing, where we could blissfully pretend that nothing was going to happen, Ric's father told us that he was taking Ric and Brandon and leaving them there for a year or two (Brandon's American family has heard it would be three or four years). We don't know the exact date, but it is very soon.
After some discussion of the matter, my mother may have persuaided him to let her take the boys to China for two weeks to visit their grandparents, and then bring them back here. He has verbally agreed to this, but we don't know if he is telling us the truth, or if the mother, who seems to be the one who really wants them to go, will agree. But in the meantime, my parents are getting their passports today.