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(Almost) China Bound, with an Itinerary of a Lifetime!

The nest is ready, our bags are nearly packed, and the schedule is locked and loaded. We are beyond excited to hop on the plane Wednesday morning that will take us to the next chapter of our lives, which begins in just three days! A whirlwind of a trip awaits us in a most beautiful country that we can’t wait to experience alongside our even more beautiful daughter. We don’t know exactly what to expect, other than it being the journey of a lifetime.

It doesn’t seem possible to adequately put into words the myriad things we are feeling right now, so I won’t even try. What I can say though is that we. are. ready. Mingled with the nerves and excitement, we are steady and at absolute peace.

Our greatest hope for the moment we meet the little lotus is that she will sense our peace and perhaps find some of her own in those first tough hours and days. We love her endlessly and wish we could bear the confusion and fear for her, even though we know we can’t. We hear this is the general theme of parenting, so I guess we’re at least on the right track. But we are filled with patience and will jump to become her comfort when she’s good and ready. Until then, we promise to take it slow.

Beyond love, we have faith, and we have hope too. We are a family, and that will be inked into reality when we meet her on April 14, 2014… just three days before our 10th wedding anniversary. No greater gift exists, of that we are certain.

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We take off from Nashville at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, April 9th, and land in China on April 10th. Don’t bother praying for that first long flight – we’ll need it double on the return when we have a toddler to entertain for 24 hours on multiple planes... yowza!

We are required to enter China two days in advance of our meeting date to ensure that no travel snafus delay the rest of our scheduled appointments that happen in Nanjing (the city where her orphanage is located) and Guangzhou (the city where all Chinese adoptions are finalized). Given that these two stops are big cities, we chose to spend these first two days in rural China. And so our adventure will begin in the countryside of Yangshuo, Guangxi for some jet-lag recovery before our world gets beautifully turned upside down. If you have a moment, search for some images of the karst peaks on the Li River in Yangshuo. It has our name written all over it.

Here is the itinerary for our incredible journey. We will be shuffling around China attending various required government and medical appointments and taking in all we possibly can about our daughter’s fascinating country of birth. We even hope to be granted a visit to her orphanage, though we won’t know if we can for sure until we reach her city.

  • April 9: Depart Nashville (Nashville > Chicago > Shanghai > Guilin > Yangshuo)

  • April 10: Arrive in China! Spend a couple days getting acclimated and taking in the breathtaking scenery of Yangshuo.

  • April 13: Off to Nanjing, and arrive at our hotel just two miles from her orphanage. And we’re expected to sleep that night?!?

  • April 14: THE DAY we meet her, take custody of her, and become a family of three forever!

  • April 15: Adoption registration and notarization at the Civil Affairs office.

  • April 16: Free day to shop for clothes and gear for her, once we will know her size and have a better sense of her developmental level.

  • April 17: Free day to explore Nanjing and celebrate our anniversary in the most memorable way yet.

  • April 18: Pick up her Chinese passport at the Civil Affairs office, then off to Guangzhou.

  • April 19: Visa paperwork and medical check appointment at the U.S. Consulate.

  • April 20: Free day to explore Guangzhou.

  • April 21: Pick up her medical result.

  • April 22: Visa appointment and oath taking ceremony.

  • April 23: Pick up her visa.

  • April 24: Home bound! (Guangzhou > Tokyo > Chicago > Nashville). Because of the time change, we arrive the same day we leave, despite the lengthy travel day. Did we mention this will be the day her precious little feet touch U.S. soil for the first time?!?

  • April 25: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Note that throughout China we’ll be 13 hours ahead of Central U.S. time, so when you awake on each of the days above, it will be night time for us and we will have just completed that day’s adventure.

This highly organized trip will be a mix of tightly scheduled appointments (required by Chinese and U.S. authorities) and a handful of free days, of which we hope she is up to spending out and about seeing some sights. If not, we will be fully content to just play together in a hotel room halfway around the world. We have some major catching up to do!

We appreciate your continued thoughts, prayers, and good vibes, and we will try our darndest to update the blog and/or Facebook a few times while we’re in China. We might be a tad busy though, what with becoming parents to a toddler in an instant and all. We also plan to spend most of our free time staring at her while she’s sleeping. And who are we kidding, while she’s awake too.

We can’t wait to introduce you all to our little lotus soon. 拜拜啦 (bye bye) for now!

"I am a lotus flower – delicate, fragile, yet strong... floating, unfolding, and blossoming into the life where I belong.”