The day had finally arrived! Travel day!
So many hopes and dreams and prayers had all come together to this point: We were packing and ready to go to China and get our little girl!
On Tuesday, April 12th, at about 7:30pm, amidst packing suitcases and making sure lists were all made for Memaw to stay with the kids, our driveway was flooded with cars and our friends from church gathered in our front yard to pray over us one final time. It is really difficult to put into words the magnitude of this gesture on us. Having the love and support of your friends and family is just amazing. But having them take the time out of their schedules to come and PRAY specifically over this trip, made me just about speechless. THANK YOU Gregoryville Christian Church. You all mean so much to us and we will not forget this precious time you poured out to us.
The bags got packed. Nighttime prayers were said over Owen and Camden. I really do not think they understand the length of this trip. We will be gone from April 13th-May 1st, and by the time we actually pull into our own driveway, it will likely be early on May 2nd. They gave us hugs and kisses and prayed for a safe trip to get Sister, but I really think they believe we will be gone a weekend and that is all. I am ever so grateful for John’s mom, Patty, taking such a great amount of time off of work so that our boys can continue on with their normal routines over these weeks. She has sacrificed a lot to be there and it does not go unnoticed. It is very important to us that Owen and Camden continue with school, church, and karate, and the days pass by as normally as possible. THANK YOU, Patty for EVERYTHING!
My alarm was set for 2:15am. I barely got 4 hours of sleep that night, probably closer to 3 when I stopped tossing and turning. By 3am on Wednesday, April 13th, we were on our way to Lexington, KY. Mark Deakins met us in his driveway and took us to the airport so we would not have to park our car that long. Mark and Sandra have been such a blessing to us and we are appreciative of this kindness! Off we went to the airport! We knew ahead of time that our two suitcases would both be close to the weight limit, and one would go over. The decision was that we would pay for the overage rather than lug a third suitcase around with us everywhere. Once Mia is with us, that third suitcase would likely become a bigger stressor than it would be worth. My/Mia’s suitcase weighed 69lbs and we just kept rolling. Perhaps the weight will decrease when we have eaten some of the food we packed!
Lexington to Detroit was not very exciting. We had to wait for out plane to be de-iced, which took a little longer than expected, but nothing major. Once we landed in Detroit, I was ready for more coffee and to stretch my legs. We ate breakfast and chilled out in a lounge area for the next four hours. Since we had the time, I jumped on a team call and surprised the coach running it, so she shared my story with the group on the call. It’s pretty interesting to me how many people we have cheering for us! I had a quick call with my coach, Katy, and then we got a little lunch and headed to our gate.
We were asked to board about an hour earlier than our flight time, so that meant more time sitting on the plane. John said we would have WiFi on the plane, but at that point, I just wanted to chill out. By the time I was ready to use that service, we were out of range for it to work. Apparently, it doesn’t like the upper areas of Canada and Greenland. Our boys were very excited for us to fly over the North Pole, but we did not have window seats, so we did the best we could.
13 hours on a flight is definitely the test of sanity. I had done it before, so I knew to prepare to watch movies, read, journal, etc. They fed us three meals on this flight, plus two snacks! I watched 2 movies and finally fell asleep on a third. That 2 hours was the most sleep I got during the entire travel day. I think the last hour of the flight was the worst. 40 minutes to landing, the pilot said we were descending, and I started getting pretty motion sick. Things didn’t settle down until we were about out of the airport in Beijing.
Once we finally landed, we got ourselves together and went through immigration and customs. We found our CCAI representative, Alice, and waited with her for our transportation. The other three families arriving today from our travel group were in the other terminal. “Other terminal” sounds like you just have to drive down a few blocks, right? Well, it actually meant that we were on a bus, waiting through incredible traffic, for about an hour.
It was so exciting to finally MEET the other families that we had talked to only through Facebook groups! I jumped off the bus to greet them and then we all piled on to head to the hotel. It was more traffic (certainly rush hour at this point) and we finally arrived to our Beijing hotel about 6:00pm, local time on April 14th. Our bodies felt like it was 6am, and we had been traveling for about 27 hours. Our guide is very helpful and kind. We all really enjoyed hearing more about our plans for our time in Beijing.
After arriving at the hotel, we got our luggage and then headed back down to exchange some money and go out to eat together as a group. The group so far (with a couple families joining later) include: John and me, another married couple with no children yet, a single lady and her mother, and a family with four children. Alice showed us which restaurant would be good and helped us order as a group. The food was great and we all ate plenty. It was nice to try new things all together so that everyone found something they enjoyed. When all was said and done, we ate for about $5.00/each. Not bad! Then, we walked to the 7/11 store to buy bottled water. We are not to drink the tap water here, so bottled it is!
Now that we are back in our hotel room, it is time to adjust and try to go to sleep at a good time so that we can start to get on their schedule. Tomorrow is sightseeing in Beijing and lunch with a Chinese family in their home. We are all very exhausted, but excited to learn more about our children’s culture and heritage.
God is good. We are blessed. Thank you always for your prayers!