Our luggage all packed and ready to go the night before we left- the big one is all Will's stuff!
Written from the airplane: Of course between finalizing our packing and preparation and pure excitement about the journey ahead, I only managed about 2 hours of sleep the night before our big journey was to begin. Nevertheless, that didn't stop me from eagerly waking up to the 4am alarm this morning- I cherished a few extra snuggles with each one of the cats and then got up to get in the shower and prepare for our flight.
You got it IPhone!
We left the house around 5:15 am and had a very easy time at the Grand Rapids airport.
Adios Grand Rapids!By 7am we were in the sky, for a very short 29 minute flight to Detroit. We landed in Detroit around 7:30 am and after a short walk around the terminal, settled in for the next 5 1/2 hours. It was a bummer to have such a long layover, but I managed to get some thank you cards written out from the last two adoption showers, have a nice long catch up phone conversation with Amanda, and got to chat with Melanie quick while James took a nap. I took a walk to find some postage stamps and a mailbox to arrive back at the terminal to find the gate agents had arrived and a line was starting to form.
There's our plane!
Because we didn't have seats assigned yet we were a little unsure of what we needed to do in order to ensure our getting to sit together. We got in line but then they told us they were working on the seating arrangements and would page us to the counter. This was a little stressful because it was 1 1/2 hours before takeoff, and we hadn't eaten lunch yet, but when I asked the gate agent he said not to leave. So we sat for an hour, they never called us up, and then it was time to board. I gave up my hopes of indulging in some Chik-Fil-A and settled for some snacks from the closest gift shop and a couple of overpriced salads. We boarded our plane and were pleasantly surprised that the did get seated together, and James had a window seat. We are right in front of the bathrooms, which are incredibly busy, but at least we're not split up and we have a window to look out of.
Here we go!
So excited! (And tired!)
So far I've watched two documentaries on the in-flight entertainment, one about a man returning to China after having lived in the US for 40 years (My Life in China), and another one about Janis Joplin.
I should be working on practicing/learning some Mandarin but I don't think my brain can really retain any new information right now... Hopefully I'll find a little time for that between now and Monday when we take custody of Will.
So far it doesn't really feel like this is actually happening. I think it's just been such a long process of one task after the next and weeks of running errands that it just seems like we're in the midst of another errand. It's hard to comprehend that in another 9-10 hours we will be IN CHINA, and in just a few days we will get Will. 5 days until we become parents in real life and not just in our hearts.
I don't really feel nervous or anxious about anything anymore, I think the best way to sum up how I am feeling is curious. I just wonder what it will be like when we land, how I will feel, how many hours I can make it on no sleep (I'm totally incapable at sleeping on planes) and how bad the jet lag/exhaustion is going to be from going nearly 48 hours on just a few hours of sleep.
I know that we will be experiencing every kind of moment in the next couple of weeks- moments of pure magic, pure exhaustion, confusion, feeling overwhelmed, doubt, confidence, joy, fear, etc. But I also know that the same Great God that has carried us this far is also going to carry us through this time of great transition.
As I sat in the airport earlier today (or was it yesterday... Hopping 12 time zones is confusing!), I was overcome with awe at how many people God has used to carry us through this journey- so many of you have prayed for us, bought t-shirts, coffee, purses, donated cash, shared our story, spoken words of encouragement, loaned us items, gifted us stuff for Will, thrown us parties, and just shared in our joy and excitement. I cannot tell you how much it means to us, and I also hope you realize that you were all part of a bigger plan- a promise that I heard that night back in March 2015- that if we stopped worrying about the logistics that God would provide. And He worked through so many of you to do just that. I'm seriously convinced we have the best circle of people in our lives imaginable.
So far, I know that we have about 9 hours left on our flight, and when we land in Beijing we will be greeted at the airport by 1 or 2 guides from our agency who will take us back to our hotel. It will be 2:30 pm local time on Thursday when we land, 2:30 AM Michigan time. I'm hoping we can manage to stay awake until at least 8:30 local time so that we can go to bed at a somewhat "normal hour" as Friday is a BIG DAY.
Well that's it for now. They made everyone shut the windows on the airplane and I'm getting drowsy. Maybe I'll try my hand at a little nap again. It's SO COLD on the plane- I'm wearing yoga pants and a long sleeve knit top plus a cardigan, wrapped up in two blankets and I"m still freezing (note to self, dress even warmer next time)
Written from hotel room:
The rest of the flight went well. The only thing that really bothered me during the journey was that a few hours into the flight they made everyone close the window shades and kept them close until the final hour of the flight. I can never sleep on airplanes, especially when I'm sitting right in front of the lavatories and an on my way to pick up our son, but regardless, my favorite thing to do is to look out the window every few moments to see the world from above. It was a bummer I couldn't do this especially since we were flying over places I had never seen from the sky. Hopefully they don't do the same thing on the way back. I passed the remained of our flight watching more movies and attemping (without success) to fall asleep.
Hello Bejing!When we got off the plane we went through customs and got our bags and then were greeted by our CCAI rep. She had to stay at the airport to wait for another family, so a driver took us back to our hotel. Our hotel room that CCAI booked is huge! It's bigger than our first apartment was, and has a kitchen, laundry, dining room, leaving room, and 2 bathrooms.
Written next morning (today)
We got checked in and settled into our room, and then had dinner in the hotel restaurant. The wait staff was really sweet to us, and right before we left, they came out and explained today was a very special holiday (Dragon Boat Festival) so they had some complimentary special dish for us to try- sticky rice wrapped up in bamboo leaves- delicious! We were both so tired that we came right back to the room, got ready for bed and fell asleep around 7pm local time. I slept until 5am and though I knew I should try to get another couple of hours I couldn't fall back asleep. Now it is 7 am and we we will get ready, grab some breakfast at the hotel and then meet up with our travel group. Today is a big day! We have our tours mentioned above and then something even better that I can't tell you all about just yet (hey just be thankful you get updates! ;) )
Have a wonderful day everyone!