We're liven' it up and I'm writin' it down! We left home Wednesday afternoon…a few hours later than we'd hoped. Getting six people ready to be away for 16 days is no small feat. Especially when four of them are headed half way across the world…and are bringing someone home with them! (Woop Woop!!)
We got the little girls settled with the grands…parting is such sweet sorrow. It felt so good to hold my babies one last night. Baby girl woke around 2am and I nursed her for the last time and then crawled into bed beside Little Bit for a few last snuggles. The Engineer and the older two and I, along with all the grands were up at 3:30am. My sweet in-laws sent us off with prayers, hugs and kisses, and coffee. Mama delivered us to the airport and sent us off with banana bread and a giant target bag of last minute items we ran out of time to purchase…and I forgot all my jewelry (save my wedding rings!). My MIL shared her small hoops with me and Mama and my baby sister put together a bag full of fun pieces. All to say - we had a grand send-off and so much help and couldn't have done it without everyone! Thank y'all so much!
Little Man had his first flight. He wouldn't admit it, but I'm pretty sure he was a little freaked. Apart from ear aches upon landing (after every flight so far), he's done awesome!
Sister and I sat together for the 13 hour flight to Beijing. We made a sweet new friend who grew up in China and was returning to visit her grandparents. The three of us talked or slept almost the entire flight. I loved getting my new friend's perspective on so many things Chinese! And not to be TMI - but what a blessing to sit beside a sweet girl my age who has lots of friends with babies and who didn't blink an eye when I whipped out my nursing cover and pumped…sheesh. Potential for incredible awkwardness!!!
We flew from Detroit over Canada and the North Pole, over Russia, and finally to Beijing!
Little Man slept like a champ during a good bit of the flight. He even snuggled up next to the Chinese dude beside him, who kindly and graciously didn't move our Little Man. (And it broke my heart to learn that same dude was praying to his gods, who cannot hear him, as our flight encountered turbulence…)
We made it to Beijing Friday afternoon around three and met our adorable guide at the airport. It's pretty crazy being in a country where very few speak English! We were so thankful to be in such great hands. Heidi took us to purchase water and straight on to our hotel. Our room was dirty upon arrival (we walked into it, bed unmade, etc.) and the hotel staff was so mortified, they upgraded us to an executive suite. Um, I could get used to that. I wish I'd taken a picture of the bathroom - amazing. It was a sweet gift from the Lord. Although, I have to say, the first room had beds for four, and with the upgrade, we were given beds for three. When I asked about having another roll-away moved in for a fourth bed, we were told one of the children was supposed to sleep with us. In America, that's not exactly an upgrade. Hahaha. That's ok. Little Man started out on the floor and both nights made his way into our bed.
On our first night, Heidi purchased dinner for us from a local spot…so delicious!!! Dumplings and fried rice and Kung Pao Chicken. Amazing!
While The Engineer exchanged dollars for yuans, Little Man taught Heidi his favorite hand trick. (Grandma and Grandpa - we thought y'all would get a kick out of that! He also kept a little Chinese girl enthralled during one of our flights with this trick!) And the guard at the bank - yikes! He carried this scary metal rod/pole about two feet long with spikes all over it…kept me a bit on edge.
Saturday we took a two hour van ride to the Great Wall. Oh. My. Amazing. Words fail me.
We rode cable cars to the top...
See the Great Wall along the ridge!?
Check out the watch tower in the distance (center).
The Engineer and Little Man rode up together...
Me and my favorite man...
We learned that portions of the Great Wall have fallen into massive disrepair…years ago locals took bricks and stone and used them to build their own homes…
It's hard to see in this photo, but there are watch towers dotting the ridges...
Love these two!!!
There were apricot trees all around the Great Wall. Heidi picked several handfuls and shared with us. They were still green and super sour, but a yummy treat.
In China, the "peace sign" means "success." (Heidi asked us to pose like so…)
Little Man and I rode down together. He made me so nervous in that cable car…"Hey Mom, what would happen if I jumped right here? Do you think I could survive if I landed right there?" Etc. And…it had started raining and the wind was whipping through and the cable cars were swinging…it was an intense ride down the mountain. I had a few, "I'm thankful God's sovereign and I know where I'm going" thoughts.
Saturday night we walked twenty blocks to Tiananmen Square. The wind was blowing so hard you practically had to brace yourself with every step…and then we were offered a scooter ride…and we got taken…the rest of the way, but also with the price. The guy said one thing before we climbed on and charged another…it was kind of a heart sinking, scary moment. The Engineer handled it well and didn't pay the "new" price. Still, it was an expensive memory - and a lot of fun. Oops. Lessons learned. (smile)
What a treat to curl up in plush robes and slippers after all that walking and wind and rain!
Breakfast here is quite amazing. We're mastering our chop stick skills!
Sunday morning Heidi dropped as at the airport and we were off…for Guangzhou!!!
Mom…this one's for you. Your fav! Only, served at room temp. (hmmm)
Sister has already read both books mama sent…Little Man is persevering, making his way through.
Here we are right before take-off. The flight from Beijing to Guangzhou was quite turbulent. Again, one of those, "I'm thankful God's sovereign and I'm in the palm of His hands!" kind of reality moments.
And now we are at the Garden Hotel. And it's AMAZING. Gorgeous. I can't wait to explore the grounds with our boy!!! Breakfast was delicious. We met another family adopting through a different agency. They were in process to adopt #2 when they learned they were expecting…so fun!!!
This was the view during breakfast…there are Koi fish everywhere.
And my heart. Oh. My heart. It's racing as I type. In an hour and a half we leave to pick up our boy. I cannot even imagine. I've found I've guarded my heart as with each pregnancy after Sister's birth…trying so hard to hold the hope of this little boy with an open hand…not wanting my heart to be broken again…and to know, he's on a bus right now. En route. His life, our lives, about to be changed forever. The lessons we are learning…adoption is beautiful and messy. Everyone thinks we are crazy. I say the Gospel makes people do crazy things. And I wouldn't change the story He is weaving, even with the bumps and bruises and pain, there's so much beauty.
I woke super early this morning and enjoyed some quiet moments of reading and journaling…and then drifted back to sleep. Later, both children snuggled up with us in bed and we had a sweet time of prayer for our boy and our family and the little girls…I can't believe we are here. At this moment. After all this time. After all the preparing.
The Lord has been so sweet and kind to us. He has faithfully provided above and beyond our wildest hopes and expectations. He is faithful and good. When He calls, He equips. It's been an adventure getting here, but an hour and a half from now, that's when the real adventure begins! We can't wait. Please pray for our sweet boy's transition and bonding with us. Pray God grants us insight and gives us wisdom. Pray we love our little one well. And above all, may God be glorified and made much of.
Happy "Gotcha Day," y'all!!!