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11.05.2008

Packing, a visit to the consulate, and saying goodbyes

Tuesday morning (election day at home ~ well 13 hours ahead anyway) we were free to pack up as we didn't have to be anywhere until 2. We slept in a little late and then headed to breakfast. I left a bit ahead of Ian and the kids (major breakthrough that Caleb didn't flip out when I was out of sight) to begin packing. Not that it was going to take a while or anything...
...it looked like a bomb had gone off in one (or more of our suitcases)! If we were headed directly home, this would have been a rather simple task but when we found out we were flying back to Beijing (apparently adding the domestic flight from Guangzhou to Beijing to the Beijing to Newark round trip was cheaper than flying home through Hong Kong) we had an impulsive moment and decided to tack on a few days in the capital city to do some additional sightseeing. So that meant that I wanted to try and organize the suitcases such that we only needed to open one once we got here. (So far we've opened them all anyway...)

Ian and Grant entertained the kids out in the hall while I finished up (much easier to pack without two little sets of hands "helping") and when I was finally done we were in a quandary of what to do about eating lunch and nap time. We ended up at McDonald's again because it was all we really had time for (besides, french fries are tasting so good) and sadly enough, having to be down in the lobby at 2:30 ended up meaning no nap for Kylie and only a 3o minute snooze for Caleb. We knew at the time that we'd be paying for that one later, we just had no idea how much...

When we met up with the other families in the lobby the mood was pretty jovial as we were headed for the final formality of making our kids US citizens upon arrival in the states. We chatted about our flights home, laughed at the mountain of luggage our families had brought, and also had a laugh ~ at our expense ~ at the fact that our guides knew us well and had told us 2:30 even though we didn't have to leave until 3.

I didn't think to start heading around for a picture with everyone until it was almost time to get on the bus, but I did get a picture with Heather and her sweet baby Eli. Heather was a travel mate of my bloggy friend Laurie and as it turned out, she had followed the blog during our first trip to China. I've heard a lot about Heather from Laurie, so it was fun to finally get to meet one of my "across the country" blog friends ~ amazing how technology makes the mid-west right at your doorstep!
Finally the bus pulled up and we got the obligatory "happy bus" shot...
Frustratingly enough cameras are not allowed at the consulate, so we have no photos for the approximately 2 minute "swearing oath" in which we promised that our paperwork was correct to the best of our knowledge. Then we were handed the prized "brown envelope" and reminded to keep it on our person at all times and NOT TO OPEN it, just to hand it over to immigration officials in our port of entry in the US. One nice thing about this ceremony was that the guy leading it really seemed to enjoy his job. I think that there were 26 children there yesterday with their families representing some 18 states. NC was one of two states with 3 families ~ funny that all the NC families were in our travel group. We also got a special call out as we were one of the 8 or so families that were there on our second adoption trip.

Then we got back on the bus and it was time to say goodbye to the three families that were going home through Hong Kong. Once again, our travel group became a little family and it was hard to say goodbye, even though two of them are from NC ~ one in our old city, and one in our new city!
Then we rode with Zach and Luke's family to the airport so that they could catch their flight to southern CA and we could catch ours to Beijing.

We hurried through check in and security only to find out that our 2 hr 15 min flight had been delayed from 8 to 9:30. Cue the no naps and the fact that we were the ONLY Westerners in the area and it made for a rather unpleasant evening! The kids were wiped out and each time they'd cry someone would look at us with one of those accusing stares that seemed to say that we were not fit to parent those beautiful children. I finally got to the point that I was staring right back! When we finally got on the plane Caleb woke up from his 15 minute power nap and he had a really rough time settling back down. The crying and of course accompanying stares were almost more than I could take as I was way too tired to deal and I'm going to be honest and say that I totally dread the flight from Beijing to Newark. We leave here at 4am EST (home time) on Friday and I'd REALLY appreciate your prayers!

By the time we finally got off the plane (at 12:15), collected our luggage (wouldn't you know that one of our bags was THE LAST one to come off the conveyor belt), found our mini-bus, got to the hotel, got checked in, and got the kids settled it was almost 2am. I'm getting too old for being up so late!

**So if you are wondering, no, we don't have a guide for these two days in Beijing. However, Maggie came with us from the airport to the hotel and got us checked in. She also gave us several suggestions of things to visit (she lives here) and wrote out the Chinese characters for the spots she said we should see so that we can take a taxi there. She also is calling us in the evenings, has given us her cell phone number, and will come to the hotel to take us to the airport on Friday.**

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, we'll be praying for your flight home. Enjoy you last few days in Bejing. We are so ready to see you guys!
Love ya
Aunt Cici

Mom of Triple As said...

Wow! That's incredible!! We'll be praying for a quick and quiet flight home.

Melissa said...

Kristi - we will surely be praying for a great trip home for the 4 of you! I just love typing that out - the four of you! Enjoy your final time in Beijing - we are so hoping to be in Beijing by the end of the year as that is where our son is! Then, I will definitely be looking for you to follow our blog with some advice for an almost 2 year old little boy :) I certainly hope we can get to know each other more through blogging - your trip was so amazing to follow! Take care, Melissa

Anonymous said...

I'm exhausted just reading your post...yes, we will too be praying for the flight home .Will pray for an enjoyable but restful time in Beijing too. So enjoyed hearing Caleb's laughter in the post about the bubbles!! And I laughed at your dancing debut!!:) Will be praying for Ian's continued work on his project. I know that deadline is just around the corner after your return . Can't wait to see you and give hugs to ALL!!!
Shannon

Nancy said...

You must be exhausted! We'll pray that your flight to Newark is smooth!

Cindy M said...

I LOVE YOU! That picture of your room just made my MONTH! Especially when I remember how neat and tidy your room was when we got the girls...while ours was...well, not...

And you did pack the cold medicine, right? I'm just sayin'...that and a few prayers will get you home! Have fun touring in Beijing!

NaiNai Miller said...

Love the picture of your hotel room!! No sense in trying to be tidy when you can be out sightseeing. Congratulations on making it to Beijing at midnight with two exhausted toddlers-you have aced a major parent test.
Love, nainai

Cindy M said...

Mindy said, "NOW let's see who's late in the morning!" :-) She got a kick out of that picture of your room, too!