Applying from Chengdu. I think I have the answer now. Thanks, I did call CIC information people on the Help Desk earlier a few months ago and forgot. I just checked my notes. Talked to two information people, a couple of months apart. One said putting myself down as father was OK. The other said put myself down, but make a note of it for the Immigration Officers. This last advice seems sound. The note will state the name and birthdate of the absentee biological father (who has had no contact for >10 years).
So that's what I will go with in our application, making this note. We will submit within about 2 months or so. What an ordeal! Understand that for Chengdu (to Beijing) average wait times are currently 89 days + 5 months.
Anyone know if sometimes people are pleasantly surprised with a shorter period? Does it happen?
Thanks for your trouble