Monday, February 28, 2005

Hong Kong Calling…

Greetings from a cloudy Hong Kong!

We arrived last night (Hong Kong time) and stayed the night at the airport hotel. Less than stellar, but it was a place to rest our heads, and by that point, we needed it! We awoke early this morning, showered, and met the rest of our travel group as they arrived and congregated in the Hong Kong airport. We traveled as a group to the hotel on the Kowloon Peninsula where we are staying tonight. We had to wait several hours for our rooms, as they were fully booked the night before and had to wait for people to check out, but they provided a lounge area where we waited and got to know the other families in our group. After getting checked in, we met the group and took a half-day bus tour of Hong Kong, including Victoria Peak and the Fisherman's Village. We are now back at the hotel winding down.

We will leave this hotel on Tuesday morning (again, Hong Kong time) and travel back to the airport and on to Nanchang. We should arrive around 12:30pm, and will hopefully have Sydney by this time tomorrow!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Greetings from Tokyo!

Well, we made it to Tokyo! One leg down, and just one more to go before we sleep and spend a day in Hong Kong meeting the other 9 families adopting from the same orphanage at the same time.

Below are a couple quick shots to prove that we are bearing up well here at the Admiral's Club (thanks, Dad!) at Tokyo's Narita airport.

We're getting closer, Sydney!

Friday, February 25, 2005

24 Hours!!!

Picture Ty Pennington running around our house with a megaphone yelling "Twenty-four hours, people!" and you'll get a sense for the anticipation in the air around here. It has been hard to wait through all of the stages and delays, but we are, at long last, only twenty-four hours from leaving for the airport. Our bags are mostly packed, our day-jobs have been tied up and either put on hold or handed to others to deal with for a few weeks, and our refrigerator is looking empty enough to go a few weeks without anything spoiling...

I have been sitting in the living room this morning praying and enjoying the company of our dogs who will be well taken care of but still lonely, and realizing that this is finally it. No more delays, no more to-do's (well okay, a few more of those). Our tickets, passports, and visas are in hand, our baby stuff is prepared, our hotel rooms are booked, our bills are paid, our t's are crossed and our i's are dotted. Off we go! Praise God!

For those wondering about when we will get back on the 12th, our parents have our flight details, and I don't feel perfectly comfortable posting them here. If you have a need for them, please contact any of our parents. If you don't know any of the parents but would still like to know when we get in, you can email me. I should have time to reply while we are in China. My address can be found to the left under the sign-up box for email updates.

We would greatly appreciate your prayers for safety and for our time with Sydney as we begin to bond and attach. There are certainly many things that could go wrong, but few things that usually do. We anticipate it will take anywhere from a few days to a week for Sydney to really feel comfortable with us, and we covet your prayers for that process. I know we have not been alone in praying for Sydney's health and protection. We are also praying, as every parent does, that the Lord would touch Sydney's heart and bring her into His family in His timing.

All I know about parenting is that I don't know diddly, and that I may not know much more 20 years from now. Pray for grace for me and Amy as we become parents and seek to honor God by our caring, teaching, and guiding of Sydney.

Thank you to all of you who have supported us through this long waiting process. Soon it will be over and she will be home with us!

Friday, February 18, 2005

March 1st

We now know when our "Gotcha Day" will be - March 1st! We will arrive in Nanchang around lunchtime, go to our hotel, fill out some paperwork, and then receive Sydney later that afternoon! In Dallas time, this will be (if my math is correct) sometime around 2 in the morning on Tuesday, March 1.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Last minute lunge…

Having frantically worked with our agency and the airlines for the last few days to get reasonable flights to China, here is what we're doing, for those that care. The in-China itinerary has not been sent to us yet, but here is our international travel:

We'll leave Dallas the morning of Saturday, February 26th, and get to Hong Kong the evening (in Hong Kong) of the 27th. We'll meet our group the next morning, on the 28th, and travel to Nanchang on March 1st. We have our appointment at the Consulate in Guangzhou on March 10th, and we'll fly out of Hong Kong the morning of March 12th, arriving back in Dallas the afternoon of Saturday, March 12th.

We don't have a firm date for "Gotcha Day" as it is called (the day we see Sydney in person and she joins our group permanently), but I hope to know that by the end of the day.

The dates above obviously got pushed a little once our agency actually started making arrangements. We had hoped to leave two days earlier and return a day earlier. It has felt a little like chasing something that is just out of reach like in a bad dream, but the dates can't slip any more as the tickets are bought and the bags are on the way to being packed!

Monday, February 14, 2005

We have a Consulate Appointment!

It's official - we have an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou on March 10th. We hope to leave Dallas on February 25th, and should return about the 11th. Based on the finalized itineraries of those going to other provinces, this should put us in Nanchang to receive Sydney by February 28th. The rest of the time will involve paperwork and ceremonies in Nanchang and Guangzhou, with (hopefully) a fair amount of down time to get to know our daughter. Wow, "our daughter" - I'm enjoying saying that, but it still takes getting used to!

We will be working with the travel agents used by our adoption agency to finalize tickets and reservations this week, and I'll post more information as I have it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Some Assembly Required…

Well, we have received word that our consulate appointment has not yet been made, so we will have to wait until Monday to hear anything. While disappointing, we have been reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9 once again.

While we are waiting, let me explain the title of this post...

"Some assembly required" is the revelation of the past few days. It started with the crib, which wasn't so bad. I knew it would have to be put together and was prepared. Little did I realize it was just the tip of the iceberg. This weekend I assembled a set of shelves, a chair, a stoller, a pack-n-play, and various and sundry other smaller items for Sydney. Of course, in the process I have scraped, skinned, cut, (fortunately, I didn't do this) and ripped my hands to the point that they have formed a union and asked for paid time off. Hey, there may only be two of them, but if they go on strike I'm in trouble. I'm just trying to keep them from hearing the rumors I've heard about the amount of assembly required for kids' toys at Christmas, etc...

Monday, February 7, 2005

No news is not good news…

For those anxiously waiting with us, we did not get any word back from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou today. We have to get an appointment from them before we know what our dates will be so we can proceed with other arrangements. We are hoping to hear tomorrow. If we don't hear tomorrow, we won't hear until Monday as the Consulate will be closed the rest of the week for the Chinese New Year holiday. That would be a disappointment as it would delay everything by a week, but once again there is nothing we can do directly, so we are praying and trusting in God's plan. Thanks for hanging in there with us!

Friday, February 4, 2005

Travel Approval and Thank you

Great news! Our travel approval (TA for short) has come in. This is a formal approval from China to travel over and adopt our daughter, and it is the event we have been waiting for since the referral came in last month. Now that we have it, we can make the appointment with the US Consulate in Guangzhou, and then start to nail down dates for travel and the other appointments we will have to make as part of the adoption process in China.