Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beijing: Off To China

Before too much time passes I want to blog about our trip to China.  I hit the ground running once I got back, advocating for the orphans we worked with in China.  I also had lots of catching up on my work, the girls' school work, and life!  And Lizzy moved out while we were in China.  She is all grown up now, with a real job, as a real nurse, working in a real children's hospital.  Where did my little girl go?
Lizzy and I went on a mother/daughter date to buy scrubs before I left
And Lizzy moving out had the cascade effect of kids moving bedrooms.  In a large family, the bed's still warm when the next child moves in!  Lan Lan has been talking about a "vanilla" colored bedroom forever.  She's finally getting it. 
Lan Lan was so excited to get her own room.  But then she and Mei Mei slept together the first few nights because they both thought it was so strange to sleep apart.

 As we prepared for our trip I felt the gamut of emotions.  I wondered how the girls would do.  I thought they would do well--but I've been surprised before!  They were both very excited, but we also spent time talking through some of the feelings they might experience.  I especially wondered how Mei Mei would do returning for the first time.  I also wondered how I, myself, would emotionally handle the trip.  I have the "gift" of being able to distance myself emotionally when needed, but I decided I was going to fully love on the children and my goal was to leave them broken hearted.  My heart did not disappoint. 
Our trip was part of the Holt International Ambassador Program.  This was a first for China, but Holt has had similar programs in other countries with great success.  Holt is an amazing adoption/child welfare agency and I can't say enough about them.  I have so much love and respect for this agency.  We had a total of 7 different families represented (some couples, some singles, some moms/daughters) and all the families had a connection to China.  We had an AMAZING group and it was SUCH a blessing to spend a week together.  I feel a lifelong connection.
We left for the airport at 4am.  Yawn.  With China being 16 hours ahead of us we were already in process of switching over.  We left our city and all the Holt families met up in San Francisco.  I was a bit worried about making our connection so we did all carry-on.  Get that? 
All carry-on for an international trip.  With three women (and some gifts for the orphanage).  Yes, I am so impressed with myself that I am bragging.  Big pat on the back!
We flew Virgin Airlines to San Fran.  It was the cheapest.  Although I wasn't sure I could trust an airline with that name.  It was cool!   It had a party feel and in fact, when we got on Lan Lan said it was like being at the club!!!  (I'm hoping she doesn't really know what being at the club is like!!!). 
It was awesome though!  All I can say is that our United overseas flight was a great disappointment with NO individual screens, and no Wi-Fi, BUT it gave us a chance to talk and read (for 12 hours) and get to know the other members of the group. 
We landed in the afternoon and had GREAT Chinese food at the hotel--we ate most our meals there and the girls were especially thrilled!  And the next day it was time to meet "our" kids.

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