Wrapping things up

*URGENT PRAYER REQUEST* due to a computer glitch in Washington DC, no visas were issued today by the US Consulate here in China (or anywhere in the world for that matter). Families who intended to travel home today with their children are currently grounded/stranded here until further notice. We cannot leave the country until Marianna and Joseph have the necessary visas to enter the US. Please pray that the glitch can be fixed quickly and we can make our flights home on Friday.

 

20140722-DSC_3725

We will need baby gates. Lots of them.

You know it’s been a long trip when you are counting down the hours – not days – until you are home, even if it’s multiple days until that blessed moment.

We touch down at Washington Dulles in just a little over 54 hours. And what a hallelujah moment that will be! Between now and then we have 1 more night here in Guangzhou and then take a van (actually two vans for a group our size + luggage) tomorrow afternoon to Hong Kong where we will spend one last night at an airport hotel before checking into our flights home Friday morning. Our first flight will take us 4 1/2 hours to Tokyo and from there the remaining 13 hours to Washington DC.

Pray for us? And for our fellow passengers who will be within earshot of M&J. Both are screechers.

The past couple of days have been considerably more relaxed than the rest of the trip has been thus far. After the babies’ visa medical exams on Monday, we had little to do besides enjoy some time poolside and even got some shopping done at a local pearl market.

20140722-DSC_3585

 

From there, we took a taxi (actually we had to squeeze our family into two taxis–I am L’ingOL at that) to Shamian Island, a quaint little isle adjacent to Guangzhou with tree lined, cobblestoned streets, a plethora of little shops and cafes and dozens of bronze statues–the whole place had a decidedly European flair.

20140722-DSC_3637 20140722-DSC_3611 20140722-DSC_3659

 

Today (Wednesday) was the big day at the US Consulate. I wish we had been permitted to bring cameras because I wanted so much to capture the beautiful sight of our American flag waving in the breeze. For all our country’s problems, there is nothing quite as comforting (or emotional) as seeing one’s flag displayed proudly on the compound and stepping on “US soil” when you are so far from home. The throng of people outside the Consulate was overwhelming and intimidating. I’m guessing they were all Chinese in line to apply for travel to the US. But our guide navigated us through the US Citizen line in a matter of seconds and right up to the door that lead to the blessedly air-conditioned building.

Inside, we swore an oath (something to the effect that we are who we say we are, we understand what we are doing and promise to vaccinate the children upon entry into the US) got fingerprinted (for the billionth time) and were on our way. The visas are currently being processed for Marianna and Joseph and will be placed into their Chinese passports which will be available tomorrow afternoon.* At that point, we will be FREE to leave the country with all 5 of our children.

When we returned to the hotel, we took pictures of our travel group. Allow me to introduce you to some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met:

20140722-DSC_3842

Peter and his wife are ex-pats living in Shanghai who have 6 biological kids (the youngest is just 5 weeks old). They’ve lived in China for 7 years and fostered their new daughter, Elsie since she was just weeks old.

20140722-DSC_3831

Ana and her husband Tony (not pictured) are also ex-pats living in Shanghai. They have 4 grown children (including Armand here) and fostered several children before falling in love with this little guy. When they met little Alejandro, they couldn’t let him go. Congrats to the Sisante family!

20140722-DSC_3830

Meet the Polks. A homeschooling family from Colorado who raise grassfed catlle and have 6 bio kids. They came to China to bring home 2 more. Their oldest sons came along for the trip and have become close friends with Isaac and Sam–we are so sad that we live so far from this wonderful family.

20140722-DSC_3805

The Vogts are among the funniest and most fun-loving couples we’ve ever met. Danny is a hoot and Amy is a photographer. Little Jeremiah is going to love his 3 older siblings who are eagerly waiting for him at home in Colorado.

20140722-DSC_3791

Tanna was joined by her sweet mom Becky to bring 8yr old Jay home. This sweet family was just 20 days away from bringing home a little girl from Russia last year when Putin terminated all adoptions of Russian children by US families. To see Jay’s sweet smile is to see the face of an angel. Congratulations Smith family!

20140722-DSC_3757

Janeen and her daughter Brittany traveled from Indiana to bring home these two sweethearts…making a total of 9 kids for this beautiful family. I want to be her when I grow up.

20140722-DSC_3750

Scott and Lucy are first time parents of sweet little Tori. They’ve been trying to adopt from China for 10 years and we were honored to witness the blessed first days of this beautiful new family.

20140722-DSC_3740

Stacey (center) and her son Justice from Florida were accompanied by their sweet-as-can-be friend Carissa to bring home 4yo Zoey, a little girl with equal parts sugar and spunk. LOVE these people!

20140723-IMG_2333

Travel group 2117 — 9 families, 13 Chinese children who now have families.

20140723-IMG_2339

Weaksauce attempt at getting all the babies to smile and look at the camera.

 

Our bags are already packed. We are ready to go home. Two more sleeps!

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Wrapping things up

  1. I love the way you talked about each one of the families! I learned a few things! I love the way your family was “all-in” for this adventure. We have loved laughing with you and sharing these special moments.

  2. Thank you for sharing about all the awesome families you have met over there. What a gift to have such wonderful people to share this experience with. We are praying so much for everything to go smoothly over the next two days. WE ARE SO EXCITED TO HAVE YOU HOME! Let us know if there is anything you need! We are all here for you!

  3. So well written Annie!! I love the little tribute to each amazing family! I truly wish I lived closer to your beautiful family! You are all amazing & have made this trip a pure joy.

  4. Annie, you are so amazing and so interpersonal! You are a great friend and have such a great heart! I really can’t wait for you all to touch American soil! Prayers for safe and uneventful travels!

  5. PRAYERS for you as you prepare to travel home. It is so great to see pictures of your travel families with their children! ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s