A week from today we leave for China! Yesterday we got our complete itinerary for the two weeks we'll be there:
NOV. 29: Depart O'Hare for Beijing midday.
NOV. 30: Arrive in Beijing late in the afternoon.
DEC. 1-2: Tour Beijing and visit sites such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. Try to adjust to a 14-hour time difference.
DEC. 3: Fly to Changsha, capitol of Hunan.
DEC. 4: RACHEL DAY. Our daughter is placed in our arms for the first time and we begin adoption paperwork.
DEC. 5: No activities planned -- a day to get to know Ting Ting.
DEC. 6-8: We take tours, go sightseeing, do some shopping in Changsha. We hope to take a ride up to Yueyang, where Rachel spent the first 10 1/2 months of her life. On the 8th, we will get Rachel's passport and other paperwork.
DEC. 9: Fly to Guangzhou -- Ting Ting's first airplane ride.
DEC. 10: Free morning, consulate paperwork meeting in the afternoon.
DEC. 11-13: Mostly shopping, touring, but also some necessary steps such as Rachel's medical exam on Monday, our consulate appointment on Tuesday, picking up her visa and getting her sworn in at the American consulate.
DEC. 14: Begin the long trip home by flying to Hong Kong, then direct from there to Chicago.
As you can see by the clock on this page, China is 14 hours ahead of Chicago. That means that when you wake up in the morning, we're trying to get that little baby to sleep!
My plan is to update the blog at night so you can see new photos and reports each morning. I know from my year or more of devouring adoption blogs, though, that it's not always easy to adhere to that plan. We will be fighting jet lag, adjusting to parenthood (first time for me!), trying to get to know a little girl who likely will be upset and frightened, and relying on what could be spotty internet service or other technical glitches. I also know from months of reading, though, how frustrating it is to have no updates when you're following along at home. So I will assure you that I will do my best to post photos of that baby every day -- I don't flatter myself by thinking that you care one whit about what Lance and I are doing :-)
You can encourage us and bolster our spirits by posting comments to the daily posts or e-mailing one of us privately. Think of how wonderful it will be for us to feel your support. And years from now, we can share those comments with our daughter to show her how much she was loved and wanted before we even knew who she was.
We're so grateful for the interest you've all shown in our journey so far. Now we're getting close to meeting our daughter, and we need your good thoughts and prayers even more. Please remember Rachel in your prayers -- she will not understand why she is being taken from the only family she has ever known and handed to these weird-looking people who talk funny and don't know how she likes her cereal. And please remember the foster family who has cared for her for the last 10 months as they send her on her way. They will have to say goodbye to this precious little one so she can become part of our family.
They have given us a very special gift. And it is with that knowledge that we will celebrate a very special Thanksgiving this year.