It's hard to imagine, but it has finally happened. We got our consulate appointment! We leave for Beijing, China, on October 5. Our plan is as follows:
Arrive in Bejing on October 6 (We're scheduled to land at 2:40 PM local time. We had decided to go a day early because all the other flights we had looked at landed at about 11:30 PM on the 6th. Looks like we're going to have an extra day we hadn't really planned on. Oh well!)
October 7, depending on how we feel, will probably be a "down day," a day to adjust and refresh. But, since we are getting in so early the previous day, we may be up to finding some local sights.
October 8 we are taking a day trip / tour to The Great Wall and the hutongs. It's difficult to comprehend we're actually going to see these. We are so blessed!
October 9 we have our orientation with Holt, and then as a group, we will visit Tiannamen Square and The Forbidden City.
The next day, October 10, we are scheduled to go to Aiden's province, Shaanxi, with three other couples. October 10 is GOTTCHA DAY! We will meet our son in Xian. There are no words to express our excitement and joy! We had hoped to make the group traveling in September, but it was not to be. And to be honest, this will just give us some more time get everything ready and make sure we have the essentials. Now that we know it is going to be October 10, it just seems right. I am reminded yet again that God's timing is perfect! We will be in Xian until October 15 while we wait for....paperwork. Go figure. While we are there, we hope to visit the Terra Cotta Warriors and maybe the hanging monestary. There are so many sights to see, we're sure to keep busy - assuming Aiden will have it! :) It ought to be interesting. We'll make sure to take video. I'm sure everybody will get a kick out of watching us try to travel with a 27 month old. It ought to prove amusing; hopefully for us as well. Here's praying we can keep our sense of humor!
October 15, if everything is processed on time and properly, we will fly to Gauangzhou. It's far enough south - Tropic of Cancer south - that it should be really warm. We kind of hope it's cold back in SD so we can feel particularly pleased with ourselves. Sorry. Of course, this means we we're packing for three different climates, though. Ah well. While in Guangzhou, we have our consulate appointment on October 19. We should receive Aiden's US visa on October 21. During this time, Aiden will officially, legally become OUR SON!! (Of course, as far as we're concerned, he's has been our boy since January!)
On October 21, we will take a train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Again, this new experience should be interesting. Catching a train with all our luggage and a two year old? Luckily, there are other families who will be doing the same thing. It will be nice to have other American's who will be doing the "deer in the headlights" thing. We're relatively experienced travelers, but Asia may be a little overwhelming even for us!
We fly home from Hong Kong at 12:35 on October 22. If we're on time, Aiden will put his feet on American ground (after a 14+ hour flight - sigh) around 1:54 CST and officially become an American citizen! Our flight is scheduled to land in Sioux Falls at 7:34 PM. We're so grateful that Mom and Dad are willing to house-sit for us so we know we'll be coming home to well-cared-for pets and a house that is still standing.
It is almost incomprehensible that this journey that has lasted thus far just over a year is nearing its completion, or is just starting depending on how you look at it! We've made it because of everybody's support, prayers, and good wishes. Again, we are blessed beyond belief.
Aiden, sweetheart, we're almost on our way!!!