we've had so many of you ask about our schedule while in china...so i thought it best to post at least some of the highlights from our two weeks in guangzhou city.
friday july 16th - we leave atlanta at 6:55pm and fly to los angeles. in LA we connect with china southern airlines and leave at about midnight for our 13 hour flight to china. we arrive sunday morning, the 18th (saturday night your time) in guanzhou city.
sunday the 18th - we will meet with our guides nikko and simon and prepare for our gotcha day...more paperwork and some details. hopefully some rest...though i kind of doubt it.
monday the 19th - gotcha day! we will meet our bella...most likely in the morning and then bring her back to the hotel with us...she is with us from this point forward. oh my...i can hardly write that without tears.
tuesday the 20th - we will go back to the CA office and will finalize her adoption - this is the actual adoption date.
* the next few days will be a mixture between bonding with bella, doing our own thing, and attending some scheduled excursions. our agent said some people were more comfortable staying close by the hotel and doing little...he said we didn't strike him as that kind of couple. =) told us as long as we stayed in the province we had the freedom to explore as much as we liked and as much as bella could handle. good answer.
saturday the 24th - we will head to a US consulate medical clinic. they will test bella for infectious diseases, etc.... this is a big deal...if we are going to have a hiccup in these two weeks, this would be the most likely place. she must enter the US as an immigrant. so that means her visa would not be approved if she tests positive with something. please pray for this...it is not common, but there have been problems with our orphanage in the past. because of immigration law, bella is considered an immigrant until she touches american soil. interesting fact: her plane ticket from china to LAX is in her chinese name xue zhu zhang. from LA to atlanta her name changes to bella grace xue mcnatt. we are not so worried about her name...we just want to call her "ours."
monday the 26th - we will head back to the medical clinic to have test results read.
wednesday the 28th - this is the date of our consulate appointment. all of bella's files...medical/legal are handed over to the US consulate for their approval.
thursday the 29th - we head back to the consulate office and when everything is approved we will have a "swearing in" ceremony.
friday the 30th - we leave china - i think we'll be more than ready.
saturday the 31st - we arrive in atlanta at 6:15 am....and introduce bella to her new brothers and sisters!
so those are the highlights of our journey to bella. it seems impossible to be at this point. we have literally been able to only put one foot in front of the other this year. there was no point in this journey when we understood the whole thing....we never really "got it" completely. we just kept taking the next step. we are amazed to finally be at a place where we can look back. we can now look back...but friends, i assure you our greatest joy is to look forward. this is truly only the beginning. often in life we long for the next great thing. it is the anticipation which can cause our hearts to stir...our pulse to race. i am sure there is a little of that in all of this. but as a mother of four, i know this longing won't compare with the living. i know this anticipation is not about the getting...it is about the having.
you may have noticed there are days in our schedule with nothing listed. can you imagine? rick and i will be just hanging out with a two year old! when is the last time we did that? i am sure it will be a little on the funny side. we have been living in this constant whirlwind of four busy older kids....now we'll be on the floor playing blocks and dolls and puzzles and sharing cheerios...
i could go on and on tonight. i have spent the day washing and folding and packing little girl items into a cavernous suitcase. it feels make believe to me. like when i was a little girl and i would pack up my doll clothes for a great journey. i have felt the need to pinch myself throughout the afternoon. this is real! this is real! we are really leaving in less than 48 hours. i have to keep checking my list...i can't see past the image of her in the brown and whte sundress. i look at the folded monkey pajamas and i can only think about tucking her in for bed. it is real. it is real. it is real. there is a suitcase on my bedroom floor and it is packed with things for our daughter. mind blowing, yes. but it is real.