We are in Guangzhou, China just hours away from meeting our new daughter! We arrived at our hotel about 2:30 pm yesterday--China time. We are exactly 12 hours ahead of our home base in Atlanta, Ga.
The flights were long but the kids did great. Brady is such an easygoing little guy that you can take him anywhere. Victoria is your typical 2 year old but thinks she is 22. Apparently she must be under the impression that she is some kind of goodwill ambassador to China. When she got restless on the plane, we'd let her walk down the aisles. She would wave and chat with the passengers like she was one of the flight attendants. By the time our flight landed the Korean Air crew knew her by name and all the flight attendants said,"Bye, Victoria!" The 5 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea, gave her additional opportunities to make friends on the little playground they had. She talks nonstop (very little of it actually English). Other travelers must certainly have wondered what language she was speaking.
Today we rested and ventured into the city a bit. We went to Trustmart which is their version of Walmart and to the mall across the street from our hotel. It's funny but this city reminds us so much of Guatemala City, Guatemala. You see poor and rundown areas next to luxury hotels and shopping malls. Then there's glimpses of the western world with their 7 Eleven, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks. More than once I have tried speaking to people here in Spanish. I guess Spanish is my default second language.
I'm sorry I can't post photos yet. For some reason I can't access my blog from our laptop (anyone else have a problem with Blogger when traveling?) and am doing this from an iPad. I've posted a few pics from my phone to Facebook and will continue to do so till I can get them from my camera to my blog.
Before we left I had many ask if we were nervous or excited. There's been an equal mix of both. As we inch closer to actually meeting Ella, the nerves seem to be winning over the excitement. It's a lot to ask of a 4 year old to be handed over to a group of strangers and be told that this is your new family. We know it will be hard on her and my heart already aches for what she is about to go through. And as her new family, we know we will be parents to a little girl who is hurting, may not trust us, may not like us, and may need some time and patience throguh this transition. We also don't know the severity of her medical needs. To be honest, I think those emotional needs are harder to heal than the physical ones, yet I still worry that I'm not prepared or equipped for what she needs from her new mom. The only certainty today is the uncertainty ahead.
It reminds me of when Daniel first came home. We took him to Disney World. (By the way,I wouldn't recommend taking a newly adopted child to Disney World. Too much stimulation. Rookie mistake.) Anyway, we arrived and he loved the park but was afraid to ride the rides. We begged and pleaded and he finally agreed to get on the Buzz Lightyear ride. When it over he announced that he loved it and wanted to ride it again. We were thrilled but explained that we would come back after riding some other rides. He had a meltdown, refusing to try any other ride. He liked Buzz, he knew it was fun and knew what to expect. We finally persuaded him to try the race cars and, of course, he loved them and then only wanted to ride Buzz and the race cars. This went on all day, but he eventually learned to get over his fear of the unknown so he wouldn't miss out on the fun of the next ride.
I find myself doing the same--only wanting the ride that is known, familiar, and predictable. But I know I would have missed out on so much of what God has planned for us if we had let fear of the unknown guide our actions. And yet, as we stood in line at midnight Thursday night ready to board a plane to China with our two youngest kiddos, Brad turns to me and asks, "What are we doing?" We started laughing because my only answer was, "I don't know."
Yes, lots of uncertainty but here's what is certain:
1. I have one awesome husband who would travel to China with me during the first weekend of college football.
2. I am truly blessed that our children are so supportive and so excited about their new sister.
3. We have such an amazing extended family who never questioned this adoption (even if they had concerns)and are taking care of the three kids we've left at home. I can't tell you what a blessing it is to have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for Ella who have loved her and been praying for her for the past year.
4. We have a dear community of friends from church, our neighborhood, and from the schools our children attend. Their love and encouragement means so much to us.
5. Most of all, we have a God who is faithful, who has been preparing Ella's heart for our family and our hearts for her.
Tonight I rest in that truth.
Thanks for your love and prayers!