Leavin' on a jet plane...

**I had intentions all day of posting the basic outline of our trip. But "last minute details" took over and I never got around to it. I'm exhausted and the alarm at 3 am is going to come much too quickly, so here's a slightly edited email that I sent to family and travel buddies earlier today. Hope to post more from the other side of the world! Several backup plans are in place, including an alternative blog that I'll get posted here one way or another if I can't get here.**

After what seemed like an eternity, our journey to Darcy is finally here! Our suitcases are zipped and Ian is loading them into the van as I type.

This time tomorrow we'll be almost to Shanghai. Ian, Kylie, Caleb and I will spend two days catching the city sights (on our own) and perhaps more importantly, getting on the local time zone.

Friday afternoon we will transfer via hired mini-van with driver ~ we were advised against the train during CNY ~ to Hangzhou.

Then on Saturday morning (the 20th ~ but actually Friday night EST time) we will finally meet our Darcy Qingyou! It ended up working out that we will meet her 11 months to the day from when her referral file entered my inbox. I still remember so clearly the "jolt" when I saw her face clearly for the first time.

Here she is in the picture I first saw and fell in love with.

The Chinese side of the adoption process will take place Saturday through Wednesday there in her province (Zhejiang) and we'll have time to do some sightseeing in and around the provincial capital (Hangzhou, also the city Darcy currently lives in) which is supposed to be a beautiful city.

Wednesday night (the 24th) we'll fly to Guangzhou to begin the American side (medical exam, TB testing, vaccinations, immigrant visa processing). We finish up there late in the afternoon on Wednesday March 3rd and will begin our journey home early on the morning of the 4th.

Darcy will officially become a US citizen when we land in Chicago, and after customs, we'll board a flight back to NC where we're scheduled to land here in our city some 25 hours after our first flight begins. Just thinking about that makes me REALLY tired. I have to say that the trip home is what I'm looking forward to the least. Ian and I will be on "zone defense" instead of man to man AND there is the pesky problem of all the luggage to get through customs...

We know that many of you will be praying for us, and if you would like a few specifics of things to pray about (this is NOT an exhaustive list ~ my brain is somewhat unfocused due to extreme fatigue right now):
Health for all of us.
That Darcy will find comfort in either Ian or I and will not be frightened of her new surroundings.
That we will have safe, uneventful flights.
For Kylie and Caleb as they adjust to sharing Mommy and Daddy with a new sibling.
That we successfully navigate getting ourselves to our hotel in Shanghai.
There's so much more, but naptime is coming to an end and there is still much to do...

I hope to be able to post daily (or at least every other day depending on how tired I am) to our blog. I have a few other back up plans if we are unable to access fireworks and fireflies. We will be able to read our comments, and you have no idea how much it means to read them thousands of miles from home. Plus Darcy will be able to read them some day, so if you have a minute, or if something strikes you as you read it, please let us know that you were reading!

We love you all and can't wait to introduce Darcy (and still Caleb to some of you) to you after we get home and feel that she is settled!

Much love,
The M_____ FIVE


Anonymous said...

Praise God!!! We are praying for safe travels and a smooth transition!!! Love you guys and miss you terribly!!!!
Aunt Cici

Laurie said...

Tears of joy!! I am just so excited to hear about this 3rd journey of yours, Kristi! To see your 3 children together is going to be such a blessing. You will be in my prayers the rest of the month- and then of course during the transition to home, which is really when the adventure begins, right? :) Have a safe and happy trip!

Cindy M said...

I'm still up helping the girls with projects, and I'm finding myself looking at the clock and counting down the hours until you leave. You'll be in our thoughts and prayers constantly. Love you all...all FIVE of you!

Angela said...

I have butterflies of excitement in my stomach just thinking about that trip again. It was this time last year we went to get Lia (we returned March 6). Praying for an amazing time for all of you and for His mercies to be evident every step of the way.

And that baby picture? Absolutely gorgeous!

Carla said...

Can't wait to see Darcy in your arms!! Praying for safe travel, and a smooth transition for all.

In Him,
Carla L.

Rachelle said...

WOO HOO! YEE HAW!!! Safe travels! Can't wait to see Darcy with her family! Loads of prayers for your trip. I know the Lord will have his hand on your family the entire time. SO excited, WOO HOO!

Ally said...

I said a prayer for you all today when I woke. I will be thinking of you often through the next two weeks. I can't wait see you all together as a family.

Journeymark Cards & Gifts said...

We will be praying for safe travel and protection over you all while on your trip to pick up your daughter.

This is so very exciting!!!

Angela said...

You all are in my prayers! How exciting! I will never forget the minute my two were placed into my arms. What a great feeling! Adoption is so wonderful and our GOD is so good! I am so excited to read your blogs the next couple of weeks. I pray everything goes smoothly.
Love, Angela (Love) Nixon

Lisa said...

I am so excited for you all. You have worked so hard and waited so long to get to this point. You will all be in my prayers. Being a bit over a month behind you in this process gives us faith that we will one day soon see our sweet daughters face too. Paying for a healthy and joyous adventure to Darcy.

waiting for Lu Zhu

Our Journey said...

Praying for you all this morning (and the whole way through). We're so excited for you & can't wait to see this little blessing become part of your family!!

Amy Murphy said...

Hangzhou is a beautiful city, and such a great orphanage director and all! Our Ewen is from Hangzhou. We had a wonderful time in his city. Walk the lake, it's great, and the exercise will help to acclamate you to the time zone. Will be praying!

gethooked said...

WOW! Congrats! We will be praying for you guys! The M_Five I like it!
Can't wait to see some pics of all of you!

Love The Brayley's

Lilly said...

HAve a happy and safe travels as you are up in the air on that big airplane. I will be praying for you and your family of five.

So sorry we couln't meet in GZ (you will be leaving a day before we arrive) but hopefully someday in the old USA.

Take care and many hugs!

rachel said...

Definitely praying for all of you and sending lots of love with you guys to China. I'll be checking often for updates- can't wait for more about Darcy.
Aunt Rachel

Annette said...

Praying for all that you listed! We can't wait to meet precious Darcy at a playgroup ;-)
Annette, Daphne, and Camden

Jennifer Barbee said...

Hey Kristi -
I emailed my posts to my niece and she posted them for me. I'll be glad to do that for you if you need me to. Just send me an e-mail.

Nancy said...

Noah and I have been praying for you every day at naptime, even before we read this post (did I tell you he says "Amen" now?)! I can't tell you how excited I am for your family. I pray for safe and smooth travels, Darcy as she meets her new family and many other things!!!! HUGS!

Jenn said...

So excited to follow your journey for the 3rd time. It is amazing to know that in a few short days Darcy will be in your arms. Prayers going up for your entire trip.
Can't wait to check in with yal daily.

Lora V said...

Prayers coming at you from the Vann family! We love you guys and we are praying for safe travels and smooth transitions. Can't wait to meet Darcy!
Lora and Josh

Melissa said...

I am thinking about you all right now, just wondering how you are holding us on the LONG flight:) We said special prayers for you tonight when I got home, and I just cried when I read your post. Your lives will be forever changed as a family of 4 in just a few days, and I cannot wait to see Darcy become part of your family. Much love and hugs to all of you, and we will continually be praying for a smooth transition and for an amazing trip!!!! Love, Melissa Chris, and Matthew :)

Amanda said...

Woo hoo! Safe travels - good luck and God bless!

Sharon said...

Man..the stomach bug has hit our house and I have been off the internet for over 24 hours...YOU ARE FLYING RIGHT NOW!! Praying for you as you near our beloved China and your beloved daugher. Can't wait to check back in and see how things are going. PRAYING YOU TO CHINA AND HOME AGAINE!!!

Shannon said...

Wow !!! I am finding it hard to believe you will be landing in CHINA in just a little while!! AND finding it hard to believe you have now been back twice since we first met on our first flight to china together!! OH How thankful I am for all of you! How thankful our family is for the blessing your family is in our life! And thankful to our Heavenly Father who again is weaving a beautiful story in the creation of your family. Can't Wait to watch it unfold!! Praying for ALL of you !!
Love you!!

Jenn said...

Praying, praying, praying!!!!