By this time next week, she'll be in my arms.
The weight of that new responsibility, the peace because we're finally done waiting, and the thrill of a new, beautiful soul joining our little family hits me so hard.
Guys- we're leaving in 3 days. I should be asleep, but I'm not. The caffeine is working and I'm knocking out the rest of the work to be done before we leave. Though it's not evident lately on my blog, I'm still a professional photographer who has actual photoshoots and clients. :) I've had the privilege of photographing some crazy beautiful people and moments lately but all my photo-blogging time has been taken up by paperwork, or noses that need wiping.
Perhaps I am already getting on China time? It's just a stark, painful, orange-juice-mixed-with-toothpaste 13 hour difference. Yikes.
But we will be just fine.
It's high time I answer a few questions about our travel, seeing as it's only 3 sleeps away. The travel portion of an international adoption trip is fast and furious- filled with delicate details that needn't be missed.
Last Monday, we were granted Travel Approval by the Chinese government, which means we are now allowed to enter China for the purpose of adopting a child and bringing her home with us. We found out about this around 10 am...and the agency needed our flight itinerary by 4 pm. Hah!
We fancied ourselves worthy of booking our own flights (we've done trips to China and other countries in the past)- but once we realized all it would take (6 people going to one city, 7 leaving from another, layover restrictions, visa processing time, time difference)- we gladly reached out to Adoption Airfare. They had flights ready to book for us in about 1 hour- cheaper than any we'd seen in all our googling, and with only 1 short layover. DONE! Highly recommend them.
We are bringing Knox and Liv, as well as my parents to help out. It will be quite a crew, but we felt so strongly about bringing our children with us, and we are really glad to have the support of my parents, so that we can focus on Lucy as much as we can. To us, it's just like the birth of a new sibling- and there is no better education than travel.
Knox and Liv have backpacks full of little activities for the plane ride, and mommy has melatonin in her carry-on. :) Seriously though, that is my plan- once it's "bed time" in China, we'll be going to sleep on the plane. And I really believe that the kids will be just fine. Call me crazy. Or naive. Maybe both.
Our trip will be almost two weeks exactly, and we will receive Lucy permanently three days after we land. Our agency schedules trips with a few days to get over jetlag, which I am thankful for. During that time we will get to do a little sightseeing. I have been to all of the places we will be going- so I am excitedly anticipating seeing all of my people experience them for the first time!
Once we receive Lucy, the rest of our trip will be filled with various appointments- one to finalize the adoption, one medical assessment, one for her visa (and maybe a few more?! I'll check the itinerary again...). On our days off we will get to bond and explore. I can't wait!
Lucy will receive her American visa right before we leave China, and will officially be a citizen once our wheels touch American soil.
Packing has been quite an adventure so far. I feel I'm doing pretty well, but I haven't packed my things yet- so that may be my undoing. :) The great news is, I really only have to pack enough clothing for half the trip- the laundry services there are excellent and inexpensive, from what I hear. My greatest packing find has been a Lululemon Vinyasa scarf I found on eBay- sure to be my forever travel companion from this point on. I also splurged on this $15 wonder which looks sort of like a neck brace, because I guess...that's what it is. Don't worry, kids- Shawn will be spotted with this lovely contraption...just to embarrass you further. 'Cause mommies and daddies NEED their SLEEP.
For at least the past week, my mind has been bouncing between complete circumstantial presence (see paragraph above) and the deep realization of all that's actually happening. It's like I'm sitting on a dock, applying my sunscreen and adjusting my hat, while the deep blue water pulses up and down- reminding me why that dock is even there in the first place.
It's that steady stream of purpose, of all the undeniable ways God's taken care of us in this process- that make me so thankful to be here. And to soon be all the way across the world!
I'm going to do my very best to share our trip here- and likely more so on Instagram- so go follow me there if you haven't already!
And I'm sure I've forgotten some details- feel free to ask any questions about the travel process in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!