After another early breakfast, we left Beijing early in the morning to catch our flight to the province of Henan where our children were born and currently live.
We once again boarded a bus and our guide Jean took on the monumental task of getting multiple families and dozens of pieces of luggage through the airport. Words fail to express how well cared for we have been by our agency and what a blessing it has been to have had them with us every step of the way.
A 1-1/2 hr flight later, we arrived at the capital city of Henan province, Zhenghzhou. We immediately saw a notable difference between this provincial city of 10 million people in a poor region of China compared to the relatively cosmopolitan city of Beijing. There is no English signage visible anywhere. We are the only white people. The stares from the locals are more curious, more penetrating. The pollution is thick and scratches the throat. It appears to be poorer.
Once again, our agency arranged for guides to both meet us at the airport and shepherd us safely to our hotel.
The bus picks us up at the curb and we are driven straight to the hotel where our two guides, Vivian and Yisha, painstakingly get 9 families checked into their hotel rooms.
And they give us information about our children who we are about to meet tomorrow. They have prepared individualized print-outs for each child with the details of his/her daily routine, schedule, diet, bowel/bladder habits, brands of formula they take, nap and bedtimes, foods they prefer and soothing methods that work best. We hungrily devour all this information and each family makes checklists of items they might need to buy to prepare for their first day together.
Once again, our beloved guides took us by the figurative hand and walked us 4-5 blocks down the busy street to the local Walmart to gather supplies. It was an experience like none other.
We have settled into our room and prepared the cribs.
The diaper bag has been packed and bottles prepared with dry formula, snacks, suckers, toys and anything else we can think of to bring with us tomorrow that might help sooth the early transition of them coming into our lives. We are expecting lots of tears (both from them and from us). They will grieve and be terrified of these strangers who smell different, talk different and look different. There will be little more we can do to sooth their cries than offer food, candy, toys and distraction until they learn to accept us. To trust us. These next few days will be difficult but we know it will get better day by day.
But this is where we are hoping and praying that by bringing the older kids, the transition will be easier on Marianna and Joseph. The older kids are beside themselves with excitement and I predict the boys will turn to butter and will bend over backwards to bring a smile out of M & J’s face. I predict Sarah will vacillate between mother hen and offended sibling.
But I trust. And I surrender the events of tomorrow to the Lord’s hands. I know that He will give each of us the grace and strength to welcome these no-longer-orphans into our home and family.
I will try to update when I can tomorrow but our priority will be to the kids first. We sincerely appreciate your prayers.
Pray that I can sleep more than 4 hours tonight? Many thanks!