10.10.2013

Day 1: Travel

Life since receiving travel approval has been pretty wild! So much of adoption is hurry up, wait...hurry up, wait...hurry up, wait, and this part of the process was the same. We waited for our paperwork to be processed at the embassy (2 1/2 weeks), and then we waited again for travel approval. When I got the phone call on August 27th, I was in complete shock. We had gotten our Travel Approval in just 10 days, which is quick friends! I know our social worker (aka super hero) did some major moving the previous night to make it happen.

After waiting and waiting and waiting the previous 12 months, 21 days, we had our final permission to bring Tucker home! Hallelujah!!!

Our first major task was to book our flights. We worked with a couple travel agent who work solely with adoptive families. After comparing pricing and itineraries, we chose our agent and flights. Because there is a major Trade Fair on China while we are visiting, flights and hotel were both more expensive than the previous weeks. We cannot thank all of you who donated to our family, as it is only with your donations that we have been able to afford this trip to bring our son home.

Right now, Ryan and I are on a flight to Seattle, our second of three flights today. We will be traveling for 23 hours total, getting to Beijing at 5 am Eastern time. Ryan is cozy next to me with a neck pillow listening to music while we await our in-flight movie, The Lone Ranger. Neither of us have seen it yet, so that'll be fun. This flight is 4 1/2 hours, and the flight to China is 12 hours, I believe. With all the craziness to get ready, I haven't sat down for one hour the past two weeks, let alone 12. Ryan and I are happy to just be relaxing now! As he said last night, "We cannot wait to be bored!" It is a welcomed break right now.


To help the boys while we are gone, we made videos for them to watch each day. They are personal messages about what they will do that day, what we did while they were sleeping (12 hour time difference), how much we love them, etc. because we had to make 17 videos - yes, we get home on Day 17 - we started getting a little creative/out of control. We used the webcam on my computer and started playing with all of the features. I mean, there are only so many ways to say good morning. We started adding these different frames, a Chinese statue Avatar, a blurry screen that Ryan pretended to clean while making squeaky sounds. We had fun!! We also got the kids gifts to open on certain days, as well as a map of the world with 17 dots to help count down the days until we are home. They will put a sticker on one dot each day to help them visualize how long until they get to meet their brother!

***Just finished The Lone Ranger...definitely a fun movie to help pass the time.***

So, I mentioned that our flights were more expensive earlier, but it didn't share how difficult it was to actually find flights. Most were booked because of the Trade Fair. We hoped to leave on Thursday or Friday, but to make it affordable, we had to leave Wednesday. We are hoping that this extra time in
China allows us to 1) adjust a but to the time change before we meet Tucker and 2) take this opportunity to learn about Chinese culture. We will be in Beijing Thursday night through Sunday afternoon. So, we will have two full days to explore Beijing.

When we arrive at the airport, a driver will be waiting for us with our name on a sign. Yay!! We will make a wild drive to our hotel downtown Beijing. We have heard that signs are more decoration than rules, so we will close our eyes, hold onto our hineys, and pray. :) It will be 5 PM Beijing time when we land, so hopefully we can grab some dinner, stay awake a couple hours, and crash! We hear jet lag is no joke, and quite frankly, I'll be elated if we can sleep until 5 am. Many of my friends have woken up at 1 am the first several nights in China ready to go. We are praying for deep rest.

Friday the plan is to get picked up by a driver at 9:00 am. We will head out to the Temple of Heaven, go on a Hutong Tour, visit the Lama Temple, and go to the Chaoyang Acrobatic Show that night. We
just want to soak up China and fall in love with the country where our son has lived the first two and a half years of his life.

Saturday, Ryan and I plan to visit Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square on our own. I believe it's fairly close to our hotel. Then, a driver is picking us up at noon to take us to the Great Wall. That night we will visit Snack Street and see lots of interesting foods. #iwillnoteatbugs

Sunday, we will head back to the airport with a driver and meet up with another family with our agency. They are also adopting from Chongqing province, though their two year old son has lived in a different orphanage. We will all fly together and stay at the same hotel. I think this will be a huge blessing for all of us.

There are many more parts to our trip, but I'll leave you with just the Beijing portion for now.

What?

When do we meet Tucker?

We believe we will meet him Monday afternoon, which is Monday after midnight for you. We appreciate all prayers lifted on his behalf...that God will supernaturally prepare his heart and give him peace and trust for us. While this is a moment we've been longing for, he is bound to feel quite frightened. I will write more about that later, too.

We land in 30 minutes in the city of Seattle. We will grab some lunch and await our next flight. We hopped to Chicago, skipped to Seattle, and next we will jump to China. God has gone before us. He knows what awaits us, and He will be with us. Until next time!



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