Thursday, August 30, 2007

Flights are Booked!

It has been a whirlwind few days. I was speaking at a Korean Church Kids' camp this Monday-Wednesday when I got the call that we did not get the consulate date we requested. Fortunately, it is only a two day delay. Our trip is a bit complicated because my brother, Jonathan, and my friend, Suzanne, are going to travel to Beijing two days ahead of us so they can see the Great Wall, Tiannamen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace. Then they will fly to Shanghai to meet us there and then we will all travel to Gaoyou to visit Lian's birth city. After many, many conversations on the phone with everyone, our flights have finally been booked. So our itinerary looks like:

Sep 11 - Jonathan and Suzanne arrive to Seattle
Sep 12 - Jonathan and Suzanne depart for Beijing
Sep 14 - The Jukanovich family departs for Shanghai
Sep 15 - Everyone meets in Shanghai
Sep 16 - Take the train to Nanjing / Meet tour guide to Gaoyou (It looks like the Vice-Mayor of Gaoyou, Mr. Ni Wencai, is going to host us for this portion of our trip)
Sep 18 - Return to Nanjing / Fly to Nanchang (capital of Jiangxi province)
Sep 19 - 29 (still waiting for final dates of when we will travel to Guangzhou, but our consulate date is Sep 27 and then we return to Seattle on Sep 29)

Tomorrow I leave for Virginia to run a half-marathon on behalf of Children's Hope Chest. While I am running for an orphan I met in 2003, I also feel that I am now running on behalf of my little girl. This race is one of endurance for me and this entire adoption process has been one of extreme endurance. We pray that our little girl will somehow know she is so wanted and loved already and that her family is just two weeks away from bringing her home. Please pray for our time in Gaoyou, especially for Lian as she meets her caregivers and sees where she lived the first year of her life. And then please pray for our new daughter, that amidst her mourning of her foster mother that she will feel very safe and loved with her forever family. Thank you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

China - Here we Come

We received our Travel Approval today - this was at least a week if not two weeks earlier than we anticipated. What this means is that we are waiting now for our Consulate Appointment to be scheduled, but our agency is planning for us to leave on Wednesday, September 12. Needless to say we are ecstatic, but also slightly stressed as I am speaking at a kids camp for three days next week (Lian will be joining me) in Westport, WA. I'm home for one day to throw our neighborhood BBQ and then I leave for VA Beach to run the Run for One half-marathon on behalf of Children's Hope Chest. I return on Sep 3 and we leave 9 days later. Feels crazy, but I'm sure we'll be fine. :)

Our current plan is that we will not do the pre-adoption trip to Beijing with the rest of our adoption group. Instead we will travel to the city of Gaoyou in Jiangsu province (www.aboutgaoyou.com), which is where Lian was born. We are working to schedule a visit to her orphanage and to meet her caregivers. Your prayers for this time would be appreciated. We want to do this before we travel to Jiangxi to bring home her baby sister.

My brother, Jonathan, and my close friend from college, Suzanne Baker, will be traveling with us. We will have quite the entourage. They really want to visit Gaoyou, but they also want to see Beijing, so they will be traveling three days prior to our trip. Everyone will meet in Seattle and then they will head off on Sunday or Monday and we will leave on Wednesday.

After waiting for so long, we are so thankful that this part is going by so quickly. We just want to bring our baby girl home. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Introducing Lian Mei's Baby Sister!!!



It is hard to describe our emotions right now. We just "met" our beautiful little girl, Feng Xiao Nu, this morning. We now long to meet her in person sometime in the next 5-8 weeks. In Lian's words, "I am so excited! I love my baby sister so much!" We couldn't say it any better.

The quick facts are that she is 10 months old (bday is 9/18/06), which is exactly how old Lian was at her referral. We are praying we will be able to celebrate her first birthday with her in China. She was born in Fengcheng in the province of Jiangxi (Lian was born in Jiangsu) and it looks like she has been in foster care through the Fencheng Social Welfare Institute. She is 24 inches and 14.9 pounds. We are still awaiting the translation of her personal and medical history, along with what they say about her personality. But so far they say she is active, fond of listening to music, playing with toys, has a ready smile, quick in reaction, impatient sometimes, and is closest to her caretaker. We still don't know what we are going to name her. Lian has some ideas and we're waiting to see if any characteristics jump out at us as we look at her picture. Until then, she is Feng Xiao Nu, which I'm still waiting for Dano to translate ;).

I knew we might receive the phone call today, but it was already noon and I hadn't heard anything. Ironically, I had just said to Shelley, my sister-in-law, that it seemed strange to not have anyone around with which to celebrate. When we received Lian's referral, i was in my office and everyone got to celebrate with me. Well, Lian's friend, Emma Balma, had a birthday party today at 11:30 am. In the midst of the party, my phone fell out of my pocket and I didn't realize it. So it was now 12:30 pm and I realized that my phone was gone. I found it on the ground, picked it up and had missed two phone calls from our adoption agency. When I called back, the intern answered because everyone had gone to lunch. He didn't know where our file was. I hung up so upset that I missed the call. Then I tried again and pleaded with him to just get me the basic information. He was able to this time and I started jumping around in total excitement. The cool thing is that so many of my friends were at this party, so I was able to celebrate with so many friends. I thought I would cry in this moment, but it was my friends who were teary. I was just so excited, I could barely think straight. Then off Lian and I drove to Tacoma to pick up the paperwork. Dano leaves for a three day work trip tonight, so we were so thankful that he was able to see her picture before he left.

We started this process in January 2005. Now we have to wait a little over a month to welcome this baby girl into our home. Thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement, tears and joy, as we've been on this journey. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family in our lives.