Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29

Today we went out and saw a few sights around town.   It started with a stop outside the Zhenglin seed factory.  That was the sight of where RJ was found at just 2 days old.  It is a difficult piece of history to face, but I think it is important as we start to piece his story together for him…even the painful parts.  Someday he may want to know about his life before he became part of my family...and these things are a part of that life.  The seed factory was on a busy street.  His papers say that a policeman found him near inside the back door by an abandoned house.  I wonder if his birth father worked at the factory or if his birth mother lived nearby.  There were some very tall apartments nearby, but also some very worn down brick huts.  Of course they might not have lived close by at all, but because RJ was only about 2 days old at the time he was found and the likelihood that they would have been quite poor, they probably couldn't have come from too far away.

After that painful dose of reality, we went to the nearby water wheel park.  It goes along the famous Yellow River, which runs all the way through Lanzhou.  The park has many water wheels that replicate those along the Yellow River used for farming.  They are quite amazing, although none of them were 'on' as we were at the park.  It was a lovely walk and really nice to see a little bit of Lanzhou city. Then we went for a meal at a restaurant near the hotel.  On our way back to the hotel, I promised Emma I would buy her a popsicle.  So, at the first little vendor on the street I saw, I decided to just run over so I wouldn't slow the group up.  Just as I was approaching the little ice cream stand, I missed a step down on the uneven sidewalk, I felt my ankle twist under me…and down I went….all the way.  I was certain I sprained my ankle, but after I sat on the curb for a minute, I realized that I would be able to walk on it…even though it was already swollen and hurt like crazy.  I limped back to the hotel, and put it up while we all napped…hoping that it was not sprained.  How would I ever manage with my two kids if I had a sprained ankle?  Although it is swollen and a bit bruised, I have been able to walk almost normally on it, so I think all will be well. 

Anyway, after our nap, which we have all come to enjoy quite a lot, I decided that we should try the pool.  Emma loves to swim…and I figured RJ would too.  The pool at the hotel was not very nice and it was very crowded.  We had quite an audience of observers watching our every move.  We got ready, swim caps (required in all the pools in China) and arm floaties and all.  Emma started in first…it was cold she said.  I thought, I'll just dip RJ in from the side to get him used to the water.  Maybe it was the cold water…but boy did he hate it.  So, then I got in and thought maybe if I was in there and held him as we played that he might like it.  But no such luck.  He hated everything about it and screamed and fought to get out.  So, swimming for the first time was a loser…but at least we tried.  Poor thing, he seemed quite traumatized.  But he recovered quickly.  He is so good natured and easy going. 

Only one more full day in Lanzhou, then off to Guangzhou for a week.  We are already ready to go home.  Emma often says she misses her home and friends.  She has done so great for these two weeks, but we will definitely be anxious to get home. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a few more pictures

I didn't get a chance to write this afternoon while the kids were sleeping and now its after 11:00 and I'm too tired to write I will just post some more photos...since that is what you want to see most anyway.  Right?

Sister and brother

Monday, July 27, 2009

Making it official

This morning was really insightful and sweet, but so sad too.  We had the meeting with the orphanage director, civil affairs bureau officer, notary, adoption facilitator, etc.  It is kind of the formal meeting where all the official adoption documents are signed and finalized.  It isn't really much ceremony, mostly just paperwork and some exchanging of gifts.  We all went down to a little office room in the hotel and all the officials met there.  It was very convenient.  RJ and I didn't really do anything, except every once in a while, I would have to sign another paper.  RJ was happy playing with a little toy that I had taken for him.  Emma was playing too, although not nearly as quietly, of course.  At one point near the end, after I had inked my thumbprint onto several documents and RJ did his right foot…Emma and Matt went out because Emma wanted to play.  Suddenly RJ began sobbing.  He put his arms around my neck and his head buried in my shoulder and hung on for dear life.  His crying kind of shocked us all because we hadn't heard him hardly whimper, let alone these deep sobbing cries.  Everyone thought that he was crying because Emma had just left the room.  But I think it was because we had just kind of moved around a bit and I think RJ noticed that the director of the orphanage was in the room.  I'm not saying the orphanage director is a bad person.  I'm sure he is not…but, I do think that RJ had seen him there and was afraid that he would be taking him away again.  Just four days earlier RJ had been taken from his foster family's home and returned to the orphanage to await this adoption, per orphanage policy.  I am certain this had been very traumatic for him.  This stress seemed to be just too much for him to bear and he would not look at anyone, he kept his head buried into my neck and cried and cried.  I kept assuring him that he was staying with me, but he would not be consoled.  We did our best to exchange gifts, I even tried to set him down once or hand him to Aunt Karen, so that I could properly accept a beautiful ceramic pot from the orphanage, but RJ clung to my neck tightly and hung on for dear life.  We then had to take some pictures and exchange more gifts and so on before we could go.  At that point I couldn't get out of that room fast enough.  I could see, hear and feel the stress that my son was experiencing and it was so painful.  It wasn't until the five of us were back in the elevator and the door closed that he started to calm down and stop the crying.  What pain my sweet little boy has experienced in his short little life, I can't even begin to imagine.  I just hope and pray that I will help to heal and ease those painful times and provide the security and peace that he so deserves.  He is such a beautiful spirit and so very special, I believe not only to me, but to the angels and a loving Heavenly Father who, for purposes which I do not know, has led all of us down these both painful and blessed paths that now have joined together. 



A Champion!

Once RJ settled into sleep our first night, he did well, sleeping until after 7:00 the next morning.  But once he woke up he was restless, clearly needing to go potty.  However, I am trying to figure out how this whole potty thing works here.  Children don't use diapers, but wear split pants, so they start potty training very early.  RJ definitely is potty trained, but I don't know how to facilitate it, Chinese style.  I brought diapers, pull-ups and underpants.  The underpants will work fine, if I can figure out exactly how to help him.  He has pointed or taken my hand to the potty every time he has needed to use it, but pretty much once he steps foot inside the bathroom door, he squats and squirts.  That would make sense, if he were wearing split pants…but he isn't.  So, we went through two pairs of underpants, just trying to make it all the way to the potty.  Now I am taking them off in advance, and also trying to just go in regularly, so it isn't an emergency.  How fabulous it will be if I can stay the course and teach him that potty is not just making it to the hole in the bathroom floor, but actually getting to the potty…to have him already trained at 2 and a half would be terrific.  He hates wearing pull-ups, but he will put up with the underpants.  Perhaps we will have to call him Captain Underpants!

Anyway, so far that is the biggest adjustment we are trying to figure out together.  In every other way he seems to just have a 'go with the flow' attitude.  He is so pleasant.  Well, there might be one thing that he takes very seriously and I already see that you don't get in his way of…FOOD.  The boy is a champion eater.  I haven't found anything yet he isn't too fond of…except maybe an oreo cookie.  This afternoon he ate a huge bowl of noodles with dumplings and cabbage, then came back to the hotel, ate a package of peanut butter crackers (6 total), a box of raisins, a nectarine, an asian pear, a baggie full of cheerios and a chewy granola bar.  I don't want him to get sick, but he sure seems like he is able to handle it.  At two and a half he is already better with chopsticks than most people I know!


Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well, now the big day has come and gone.  It was surprisingly calm and easy.  The flight to Lanzhou went smoothly…well, the check in and so on did…the flight was actually quite turbulent, then we got off the plane and were immediately met by our guide, Kaige.  She is a Holt employee and actually runs the foster care program for the Lanzhou orphanage and another nearby city's orphanage…about 110 children currently under her organization.  How thrilled I was to learn that R.J. was a part of her foster care organization, and so she knew him personally.  During the bus ride from the airport to the city center she was able to tell me many things about R.J. and his foster family and his life over the past two years.  What a blessing to get to talk to someone who has known him personally. 

We got to the hotel at about 3:00 and were told that he would arrive around 3:30!  We got checked in, took our bags up to the room and by the time all that was done, we were told R.J. was in the lobby!

We immediately went down to meet him.  There he was, just sitting on the woman from the orphanage's lap, eating a sucker.  Emma got to him first and then he came to me without making any sound.  He was very calm, or maybe in shock, not sure what was going on.  We played a little bit there on the floor of the hotel lobby.  Then there was a little paperwork to do.  Karen, Matt and Emma just played with R.J. We had taken a few toys from the room, plus he had the little toy truck that I had arranged through a service (Red Thread China) to have sent to him.  I was told that it was against the orphanage policy to give the children personal toys or to take pictures from a disposable camera that I had also had sent to the orphanage so that they might take some pictures  of him for a bit of a record of his life.  Nevertheless, there he was, happily playing trucks with Emma and running around.  He was very quiet throughout.  No cries or anything.  It was not what I was expecting, even though I didn't know what to expect!  I thought there would be some kind of outward indication of trauma or something.  But there was none.

After I finished the intial paperwork, we went back to the room and played some more.  He was delighted with building towers from the stacking cups I brought and he loved rolling a little ball.  He and Emma got along great so far.  He laughed a little bit as they played, but was overall quiet as could be. 

We were then whisked away to get some pictures taken that are necessary for the adoption paperwork.  Then we were on our own to find dinner.  We walked down the street but really didn't find much and ended up in a restaurant that none of us really liked much…except R.J.  The boy is a great eater…even though he is quiet small and thin…he had no trouble with any of the food and probably would have kept eating all night if we would have let him.  He especially seemed to enjoy the Sprite.  He would drink, then wiggle up his face when the bubbles of the carbonation set in to tickle him.  He was delighted with dinner and with his bath afterwards.  The hotel we are in doesn't have bath tubs in the rooms, but they supplied us with a little tub that we put on the floor of the shower.  Emma even enjoyed a little bath in it!

Emma and R.J. played some more, until I finally insisted that they lay down.  Both went to sleep quite easily, but R.J. has been restless, crying some, seeminingly quite uncomfortable with the circumstances of his new sleeping arrangements.  We tried the crib, but ultimately now he is sleeping next to Emma.  I am quite tired and as soon as I finish posting this, will go to bed, with him next to me.  Hopefully that will ease his little spirit enough so that he can sleep.

It was an exciting day, but really quite calm.  I was not the emotional wreck I expected to be…just very peaceful and happy.  How blessed we are!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One More Day!

Just one more day until we meet our beautiful boy.  I am so very excited and ready.  But pretty scared too.  It is going to be a huge adjustment for all of us.  I hope I am ready for the task.
Emma and I needed to got to an orientation meeting today presented by my adoption agency.  I felt adventurous and decided to take the Subway.  That was new for me.  I hadn't ever done that here...but I figured I had done it in other places and it couldn't be too hard.  And it wasn't, it was actually very easy. Fun advenure.
At the meeting, they talked about the adoption process and so on.  But the best part was that we got new pictures of RJ.  They were taken just recently and were so cute.  Showed him walking, with the help of some other kids.  All of them were smily and so on.  I took a picture of the pictures to post here…obviously that is not going to give you the best quality of prints, but still I wanted to share.

July 24

We took a pretty slow day today…just walked around the streets near the hotel.  We went up to the Lama Temple, didn't go in, but did do some shopping.  The vendor lady was so funny.  It was great to bargain with her…and she would just laugh at us.  In the evening we ventured out to a restaurant near the hotel, no English speakers, no English menu, just me and my not so terriffic Chinese.  But I did o.k. and we ended up eating a pretty delicious meal…nothing weird, no pig intestines or cockroaches or anything…just yummy food.  I was happy that I still have some ability to speak the language!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23

Rickshaw (Hutong) tour
Giant Pandas
Confucian temple
Bye Bye to Campbell kids  :(

July 22

Terra Cotta Factory
Terra Cotta Soldiers site
Hot Springs
Dumpling dinner
Overnight train back to Beijing

July 21

Xi'an city wall
Hotel, swim and REST

July 20

Bird's Nest, Water Cube (Olympics 2008 sites)
Temple of Heaven
Silk Factory
Acrobat Show
Overnight Train to Xi'an


July 18

Arrive in China
Tiananmen Square
Forbidden City
Half a million people in Tiananmen?? Probably
Blisters on Feet

Is anyone out there?

I've been having some blogging issues...but hopefully this will resolve some of them.  So, this is a test.  Here are a few pictures from our first few days.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

So far so good

Well, we arrived safely in Beijing...after a very long day of travel...but we didn't get stopped by any quarantine issues or anything! We did have to stop in our hotel lobby today and get our temperature read before we could be cleared. Apparently we all passed...I guess. At least our guide seemed to think so.

It is blasted hot and humid in Beijing. Our first day, we arrived into China at 5:20, we couldn't check into the hotel yet and we just figured we would go and jump into the sightseeing. I'm not sure that was such a good idea. It was so hot and we just walked and walked and walked...sweat dripping, exhausted, jet lag setting in...and because it was Saturday in China is was soooo crowded. I swear there must have been a million people in line in Tiananmen Square waiting to go into Chairman Mao's mausoleum. Boy did I wish that I had brought a stroller with me...or insisted on stopping to get one before heading to Tiananmen and the Forbidden City. It was sooo hot and Emma just couldn't walk me or one of my nephews ended up carrying her. We all were extremely grateful for a bed when we got home...and mostly slept from early evening until this morning. That was great for jet lag. I don't feel the effects at all today. I'm exhausted, but I think it is from walking and heat.

Today was a trip to the Great Wall, pearl factory, jade factory, cloissone factory and the Summer Palace. Again...lots of walking. But it was hazy/fog all day, so that made a huge difference with the heat, I'm happy to say. We had a great time at the wall. Some of the young and strong hiked quite a ways up...but not me. With the 400 or so stairs I took, that was enough hiking for me. Emma sure had fun, as I took a bubble blower thing. Watching her dance around amidst the bubbles on the great wall was wonderful. A really once in a lifetime event.

Now I am tired and I'm going to shower, tend to my 4 blisters and go to bed so I can be ready for another full day of adventure tomorrow. We sightsee for most of the day, then tomorrow night we get on a sleeper train and head to Xian for two days. Sounds fun!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Grateful Spirit Sings

Unexpectedly I received the following email this morning from the Salt Lake City office regarding my USCIS update.

"I have approved your changes and I am sending you the notice from our office and forwarding the Visa to the NVC. ... Good luck with going forward with your adoption. I wish you the best."

In other words, it appears that overall, the crisis has in essence resolved and I can go on to China without this burden weighing on me constantly. I am so grateful that I went forward with my plans.

The congressman's office, the wonderful and angelic Ashley, here in Utah has been a lifesaver. Congressman Matheson get my vote forever!

So it appears that all my original plans are a safe go ahead and I will be meeting up with my Holt adoption group for orientation on the 25th of July as scheduled.

Thanks to all of your prayers and thoughts. This stressful time has been a real test and had many discouraging moments...but I am so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who continue to bless me and work miracles in my life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

come what may...

Come what may, Emma and I are getting on a plane tomorrow to begin this adventure in China.

The "pre-adoption trip" with my sister Karen's family will begin Friday morning on our 1:40 a.m. flight to China and go through July 23rd.

July 24th starts my official adoption trip with a little orientation conducted by my agency on the 25th

On July 26th I will be in Gansu province picking up my boy!

Other than the still unresolved nightmare USCIS issue with the addendum/updated I-171H (see the previous posts, if you don't know what I'm talking about), we are pretty much ready to go!

I am going on faith that the USCIS problem will be resolved by August 5th. I am leaving many phone numbers and all my paperwork with my sister Jan to champion the USCIS problem from the US. I have arranged for multiple sources of communication with the states and I am putting a great deal of faith into dear Ashley at Congressman Matheson's office. She has been my source of hope this week, as she has contacted USCIS officers, congressional workers and so on, to get this pushed through by August 5th. She has been I am trying to be hopeful as well.

Oh, and of course quarantines still remain a real possibility too. Aaaaah the "adventure"

It remains to be seen what exactly will happen...but....


And that is what keeps me looking forward!

Monday, July 13, 2009


I've just finished my second addendum/update interview with an angel of a social worker who drove clear here from Ogden (five hours) complete a 'new' update to my homestudy. She believes she can get it done, approved by Holt and back to me before I leave for China. So, that is some good progress.

However, on to the USCIS issue....
On Friday the Los Angeles USCIS office (where my paperwork/file was originally processed) told me that because I now lived in Utah they couldn't do my update, so they would have to send the file to Salt Lake City. The officer told me that she did that on Friday. I then sent an urgent plea to the Salt Lake City USCIS office to please expedite my update so that I would know that it would work out for my travel dates. Today I received an email from Salt, they can't help me because Los Angeles is supposed to do it and they should not send the file. So, I called Los Angeles...Nope, she said, we don't have jurisdiction, Salt Lake has to do it, besides, the file has already been sent. So right now, I can't even ask any office to rush the process, because no one will take responsibility for it! I have now called my congressman, Matheson's, office. Ashley who deals with these issues for the congressman has promised to make contact with the two USCIS offices to try to get someone to take responsibility...then, we will work on getting the update! Oh, the fun never ends.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Problems

The crisis continues to the time continues to shorten until we are supposed to be on our way to China. Now, there is a new problem with my paperwork, that I just learned about yesterday.

If you read the previous post, you know that I have to do an addendum to my home study because I have moved from California and because I have changed the age and so on of the child that I am adopting. I asked a local licensed social worker to do my addendum. She did, it was great. As soon as I learned of this new problem, I FedEx'd the addendum to L.A. (because that is where my file was initially processed) so that I could get this 'update' for my pre-approval. Yesterday, I finally got ahold of the CIS worker who said that I had two main problems:

First, the LA office couldn't do my update because I was no longer in their jurisdiction, so she would have to send the file to Salt Lake. She had no idea how long it would take to even reach them, but she would send it.

Second, my addendum wasn't valid, no matter what...even if she could do it. She said the addendum has to be done by a social worker with some kind of approval to do international home studies for my state. I'm like....what????? no one told me this. I can't find that specific rule anywhere, I read the CFR, the instructions on the forms, everything, it all seems to indicate that a licensed social worker is all that you need...but when I called my agency about it, they somehow seemed to agree. So, it appeared that not only did I now have this issue of the update, but I couldn't even use the addendum that I had!

I guess I could go on hope or faith that my addendum, which is done by a licensed social worker, qualified to do home studies in my state would somehow pass through the Salt Lake USCIS office, once my file arrives there (whenever that is)...or, I could just jump through the supposedly 'required' hoops to get a new addendum.

Of course, I want to do all I can to make it happen, so I spent all afternoon yesterday trying to arrange for the 'right' kind of social worker to do a new addendum as an emergency. The only social workers in that 'special category' that my agency knew of were 4 or more hours drive away from me, up in northern Utah. Finally I found one good soul yesterday who said she would make the 4 hour drive down to see me (and of course, 4 hours back) on Monday and she would do all she could to get it done. She seems like an angel!! OK....a little hope.

But then, in the course of our talking, she asks about my criminal clearances/fingerprints. I tell her that they were all up to date in California and the FBI (for the adoption renewal), etc. But, of course, I never did one in Utah, because no one ever told me I needed to!! So, just one more problem with even getting the addendum, if she can't find a way to use my FBI/USCIS fingerprints or my California ones, or the ones that I did here in the state of Utah so I could take the bar exam .... or something....then, I will have to do new fingerprints, because I have to meet state requirements, and that will take around two weeks. So, all that has to happen before I can even begin the fight with USCIS regarding the update.

My agency told me that they really didn't see any way that I would be able to go on Thursday. What a tough day it was. I felt defeated and ready to give up...but then I got home and looked at that little picture of that beautiful boy....and thought NO WAY am I letting some ridiculous government agency get in the way of my family coming together. I don't know how I will do it...but I am not giving up yet!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Test of Faith

I suppose it would really be too much to ask to just be able to get excited about our trip to China in 8 days....every day actually is bringing new stress....and new tests of faith.

For the past month or so, I have been fearful of the fact that in China they are still coming on to every plane and taking every passenger's temperature. If you are within 3 rows of anyone with a temperature, you get quarantined for 7 days while they see if you have the swine flu. This has happened to at least two adoptive families that I know of...probably more, but they aren't blogging all the time. Anyway, yesterday it was announced that China would be relaxing its policies regarding the quarantine. Not that the possibility is totally eliminated, but....a least less threatening. That was a big boost to ease some stress about the trip....

Then at about 3:00 yesterday, when in speaking with a representative from my adoption agency, I learned that I may not actually be able to get RJs visa on the date scheduled because the US consulate is implementing a new policy. The following is the extent of what the policy is:
  • Information regarding Home Study Addendums
    Please note: if there have been any major changes to the adopting parents’ circumstances since the most recent I-600A approval, or if the child to be adopted does not meet the criteria as shown on the current I-600A approval notice (for example, they were approved for a healthy child but are now adopting a special needs child, or they were approved for a child under 18 months and are adopting a four-year old), the parents must contact USCIS for an updated I-600A approval notice. Failure to ensure a valid I-600A approval prior to travel could lead to significant delays in issuance of the child’s visa.

Let me tell you what that means. In most cases, before a person is able to adopt internationally they must get pre-approval from the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS). This is the agency that deals with immigration issues (and we all know how messed up that system is....just to give you some background with where I am going with this).

The pre-approval form is the I-600a. You go through a process of a home study, fingerprinting, criminal background checks, etc. etc....when you have all that paperwork together you submit it along with the I-600a. The USCIS then determines whether you are 'qualified' to adopt a child from abroad. You have to get this pre-qualification before you can send your request to China to be matched with a child. The pre-qualification only lasts 18 months. If you don't finalize an adoption within those 18 months, you either have to file a renewal or start the process over.
Well, since China is taking so long in getting 'healthy' infants placed with families, I've already renewed once and got a second pre-approval in July of 2008. Then in March, I changed my focus a little from what is known as a non-special needs child to a special needs, this sped up the process for me considerably. I was matched with wonderful RJ! However, RJ is a different 'category' of child than what my home study states that I am approved for (a healthy infant girl, between 9-18 months).
So, I have to do what is called an addendum. A social worker has to review your info, and the things that have changed and write an addition to your home study. OK. No big deal. Done. Well, in the past, when you had to have an addendum, you could just take that hard copy to China, present it to the consulate and they would process your adoption application based on your pre-approval, plus this new information that still includes a recommendation for you to adopt, but just that the circumstances have changed a little.
Now, all of a sudden, like as of this week, you can't just show up with your addendum. According to the consulate, now you have to get your pre-approval updated with the addendum information. In other words, I have to send it back to the USCIS office here in the US, have them approve it, then they send it to the National Visa Center, then the National Visa Center send the information that you have been pre-approved on to the consulate in Guangzhou. Well, all that would be great....except that process could take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months!
My consulate date is set for August 5. My tickets are purchased. My adoption date is set. My sister's family vacation (7 people) to China is purchased, tours arranged....the works....all based on that August 5th date. If my now newly required pre-approval isn't in China by that date, I won't be able to bring RJ home. I might be stuck in China for weeks...months....who knows? If the consulate really is enforcing this, I just don't see any way that I will be able to get it done before I leave. I have called the USCIS office in L.A. I have emailed. No reply. The addendum will be in FedEx today to them...but I don't know if they will even bother looking at it, since my file is in L.A. (that is where my pre-approval was done, initially) and the local office where I am 'supposed' to file is in Salt Lake. To have to get through at least two, maybe three, federal government offices before the approval gets to China is just not likely to happen in less than a month, I am afraid to say. I haven't called my senator, yet....but I will.
I am beyond concerned.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Well, the tickets are purchased and the itineraries are coming together. It has been a long week in making all the right arrangements...but we are almost there, so that I can focus on other things to get ready! So here is the plan:

  • We begin our journey on July 16th in the late afternoon from St. George to Las Vegas to catch our first flight: Las Vegas to LAX.
  • We then meet up with the Campbell family (all 7 of them!) at LAX
  • Together we will take our long flight LA to Beijing - leaving at 1:40 a.m. on the morning of the 17th and arriving in Beijing a day later on the 18th at 5:20 a.m. (the flight is about 12 hours, but with the time change and all, we lose a full day)
  • We will have some fun tourist time in Beijing for about 3 days (18-21)
  • Then, I think, a trip to Xian (where the famous terra cotta soldiers are) for 2 days then back to Beijing to see the Campbell kids off on a flight back to the USA on July 23rd.
  • The rest of us: me, Emma, Karen and Matt, will have one 'free day' in Beijing before I meet up wtih the other adoptive families from my agency for orientation on July 25th.
  • The next day we fly off to Lanzhou in Gansu province....and that same day we will meet RJ!!!!
  • We will stay in Lanzhou for about a week completing the adoption and waiting for RJ's chinese passport.
  • On July 31st (Happy Birthday Jan!) we fly out again - Karen and Matt will fly back to Beijing to catch their flight home; and Emma, RJ and I will fly to Guangzhou in southern China to complete the visa paperwork.
  • August 6th is our final day of flights. We start in the afternoon and fly from Guangzhou to Beijing (3 hour flight), have a layover of about 4 hours then fly from Beijing to Los Angeles (12 hours), then have a short layover (hopefully enough time to get through customs and change terminals) and fly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (1 1/2 hours). Hopefully someone will pick up three weary travelers from the airport...and drive us another 2 hours home. That day is going to be an adventure...and a real test of my will and strength as a single mom of two - a 2 year old and a 4 year old. Pray for me!