Ni hao Nashville!

15 months after starting this fantastic adoption journey, we finally arrived home Thursday night (with the little lotus in our arms, forever) via a 25-hour, hop-skip-and-jump, triple-country connection of Guangzhou, China > Tokyo, Japan > Chicago, U.S.and.A. > Nashville, Tennessee. I tell ya, being home in Music City never felt so good.

Our little world traveler – who has now visited three countries before taking her first steps – outperformed herself on this long and busy travel day. It was either a blessing or a curse that four other adoptive families shared the same first two flights as us out of China. But we kept Julia easily entertained in her seat on the plane, with only a few required distractions (and no electronics!) to prevent her percussionist tendencies from bugging the person in the seat in front of us. We got her to nap in the classic airport benches during our long layover in Japan, while Mom and Dad dined on (darn good) take-away sushi. Then she slept 6.5 hours of the longest leg from Tokyo to Chicago, although some of the positions she found looked incredibly uncomfortable. She even taught Dad a good lesson in how to keep a smile when dealing with ever-so-grumpy U.S. Customs officials who confiscated seemingly everything in our diaper bag. All in all, only one small throw-up on our first flight (induced by us trying to force solid foods from the airline kid’s meal) came close to souring the day. Nice work, Jujube!

We were greeted in Nashville by a small welcoming committee, perfectly sized for this timid little Bee. Julia was asleep as we walked up the terminal, and awoke pleasantly surprised to see so many strange, beaming faces (many with tears in their eyes). Truth be told, Mom and Dad were welling up a bit too, knowing that countless individuals (including many critical ones at the airport that night) made it possible for this moment to happen in the first place. And that these sweet people traveled far themselves just to see her in the flesh. It felt a bit surreal to be finally on American soil, with friends and family touching the sweet skin we’d be hogging to ourselves the past 10 days.

Thank you dearly to our friend Neely Catignani – an amazing Nashville-based family photographer ( – for being at the airport to capture the special occasion. And we’ll be doing a full-on session with her at the house soon, so that the world can see Julia’s perfect little face via the lens of a professional photographer in a setting that’s NOT a hotel room.


Speaking of our house, a heart-warming greeting awaited us as we pulled into the driveway Thursday night (other than the entire place being fully cleaned, stocked with food, tuned-up, and replete with fresh flowers thanks to Granddaddy & Gram Callaway). We live on a one-of-a-kind street (Ordway) in a one-of-a-kind neighborhood (East Nashville) where we count all our neighbors as dear friends. We all knew each other pre-kids, for the most part, and watched together as our street bloomed from one tike in 2008 to now 10+ counting Julia.

As we pulled into the house for the first time as a family of three, we saw that our front porch had been decorated with “Welcome Home!” signs and hand-made t-shirts (dangling by clothes pins) from all the kids in the Ordway Gang. All of the families had apparently gotten together while we were in China to create this amazingly thoughtful gift to the new kid on the block. Remembering the love we’re coming back to gave us even more reasons to be thankful for finally being home.

We look forward to laying low in the coming days, introducing the Bee to our humble abode, and hopefully helping her adjust to all the new sights, sounds, and smells ahead. To be honest though, we can hardly wait for all the new sights, sounds, and smells that she’s bringing to us. We’ve been dreaming about a little squirrel scooting around our hardwood floors in footed PJs since we first filled out paperwork in January 2013. Our lives and this home will never be the same, and we’re so eager to get this new world started together as three.


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