Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The one where we are on our way! (Originally written 2/23/2015)

Several of these will be back posted, because we sent emails to friends & family instead of using the public blog prior to leaving & while we were gone.  

Originally written 2/23/2015

Hello family, friends, & friends-like-family~

For a multitude of reasons, we've been pretty quite on social media about the latest details of our trip to China, & will be doing most updates via email from here on out.  We are pleased to say that we have travel approval & will be headed to China on March 11th!  We are full-on in the throws of trip planning & have been nesting like crazy as we prepare for our family to grow again. 

The details of the trip are coming together & most days we are very excited about our latest adventure!  On the days we are not, our hearts are burdened by the reality that our sons are about to be ripped away from everything they've ever known.  I mean really, how scary would that be?!? To be almost 3 & 5 & be taken away from everyone that looks like you, smells like you, talks like you, to be placed with another family that does all those things differently...it's going to be difficult for them.  Jonathan & I have talked several times as we have prayed that the Lord will prepare their hearts for the terror they will likely feel as we bring them home with us.  There isn't a doubt in our mind that these children are ours, & that He loves them more than we could ever fathom, but we do not want them to experience the hurt we know will come.  As our hearts hurt for theirs, our hearts also rejoice knowing there will be amazing moments: the first time we get to hug them, hold them, hear them laugh, comfort their fears, and make them smile.  We are so looking forward to those moments!

We will be flying United Airlines, leaving from Charlotte around 9am on Wednesday, March 11th.  We will lay over in Chicago before heading to Beijing.  We will loose a day traveling & will have 2 days to tour Beijing--Forbidden Palace, Great Wall, etc & recover jet lag.  While in Beijing we are also hoping to deliver supplies & visit the medical foster home where Ray Ray (our 5yo) lived for several years.  The home is very similar to the Howell Center where Jayson lived before coming home, & it is called the New Hope Foundation.  Much like Howell's, they care for "medically fragile" children, but at New Hope, all kids are orphaned.  Their slogan is
​ ​
"To comfort always, to relieve often, and to save sometimes"
& they provid
​e medical treatment and palliative care for orphaned children in China

They really are serving as the hands & feet of Christ in an amazing way!  
If you get a chance, check out their website & consider praying for the children & workers caring for them.  They also have opportunities for child sponsorship & donations if you feel led to do so:  

On Sunday, March 15th, we will take the bullet train from Beijing to Zhengzhou (ZZ).  ZZ is the capital of the province the boys are from.  Their province is Henan Province & is located in central China, south of Beijing & north of Hong Kong.  It is a rural, blue collar province.  We will meet both boys on Monday, March 16th when orphanage officials bring them to a government building to meet us. ​ They will leave with us & will be with us 24/7 from then on.  Yay!  Eeek!  So many emotions.  

​In the days that follow that week, we will travel to the boy's hometowns to apply for their passports.  Ray Ray is from Jiaozuo City, which is approx 2 hrs NW of ZZ & Teddy is from Pindingshan City which is about 2 hrs south of ZZ.  We are hoping to visit places that represent part of their story while we are there.  We do not know what days we'll be in which cities, but they will be day trips & we will return to the hotel in ZZ at night. 

The following weekend we will fly to Guangzhou, which is near Hong Kong in the southern coastal region of China. ​ The American Consulate is located there & that is where we will have several appointments to get the children's visas & take our oath.  We will fly back to Beijing before returning to the States around midnight of 3/27. 

​We have been wonderfully educated by several friends (many of you!) & our agency about how to travel safely & what to expect.  Our hotels will be Western-style hotels meaning they are small, but accommodations are not unlike ​those located here.  

​We've had our travel doctor appointment & are quite possibly the most well-vaccinated people you currently know :)  Ha.  For those of you that know how terrible my motion sickness can be, no worries, I got a prescription for scop patches, a list of anti-nausea meds, & one of my dear, sweet pregnant friends is loaning me her seabands.  Mama can't be gettin' sick if we can help it!  

For those of you wondering, yes, Jayson is going with us!  He is doing remarkably well processing through everything that is going on..  His courage never ceases to amaze me.  He is recovering well from minor surgery last week & we will go for a follow-up appointment with his surgeon the week before we leave.  Most days, he's excited about being a big brother, so we're just going with it!  ​

​We are INCREDIBLY grateful for ​each of you & the support you are giving & have given us during this journey!  Many of you have given of yourselves, your resources, &  your finances to partner with us in pursing all the Lord has called us to & that has not gone unnoticed in our family!!  Many times over Jonathan & I have looked at each other, marveling at how much we are loved & how giving the people around us are.  We are truly grateful.  

​And now I need to go to bed...I think I'm finally tired, yay!  

We love you all & will keep you posted as things progress as much as we possibly can.  Please, please do not take offense if we have missed your birthday, forgotten to call when we said we would, or dropped the ball in our relationship with you somehow; we truly are not doing any of that to spite you, but we have moved into a time where every spare minute is consumed with trip planning or nurturing our marriage & our relationships with Jayson as we get closer to travel.  We are pressing into the Lord for His strength & we are ​cherishing these moments while we wait & prepare. 

​Thank you for covering our family in prayer!​

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