We now have our planes flights reserved. The key to understanding the time in China is that they are 12 hours ahead of us no matter where we are in China. All Chinese clocks are set to Beijing time, there are no time zones. So imagine Cheryl living in the equivalent of San Diego (with no Ocean) and her kids having to get to school at 8:00 Eastern time (in other words, in the dark).
August 11, we leave Atlanta on Delta, fly approx 16 hrs direct to Shanghai (think Washington DC), and arrive August 12 about 2:00 pm (it will be 2 in the morning for our bodies). We will take an unknown mode of transportation 40 or so miles to another Shanghai airport, where, thanks to Jerry's frequent stays at the Hampton Inn, we will stay in a Hilton and have executive privileges (which we hope means free breakfast).
August 13 we will fly to Fuzhou (think Savannah, Georgia), where Ric's grandparents live. We expect to be picked up at the airport but beyond that have no idea what the next three days will hold. I have requested no adventuresome sightseeing like our last ferry ride in the East China Sea, but the Chinese have their own ideas of fun so there's no telling what we may be in for(we may get another chance to hike to a grandfather's gravesite and sprinkle holy water). Fuzhou will probably be our only chance to ride on bicycle taxis because the other places we are going will be "adoption travel" with a tad less local color. Ric's uncle Chu, who we know from America, will be there to help with communication. We also bought a translator that talks in Chinese when we type in English words. However, it speaks Mandarin ( as we Andy will) and Ric's family speaks Fujianese. If they can read that won't matter since tha written words are the same all over China (imagine we see a cat, I say cat you say pickle but we both write it'+=+'.
On August 17 we fly to Tianjin (think Newark,NJ) where Andy's orphanage is. I think we will be met by someone from our agency and taken to our hotel. The next day is what is called in adoption-speak 'gotcha day'. We get Andy!! Please pray that God will prepare his heart to meet his new family and leave behind everything he has ever known. The next 5 days we spend in Tianjin getting to know each other while China is preparing his Chinese passport. At this point, from the Chinese perpective, Andy is ours.
On August 22 we fly to Guangzhou (think Louisiana). Here we have various appts (ie medical) leading to approval by the US Consulate for a visa for Andy to acompany us home. We will be staying at the famous (in adoption circles) White Swan where all new children get their picture taken on the red couch. We hope there to meet some of the people whose stories we have followed online. We REALLY MOST hope that Cheryl (who is responsible for getting us into this in the first place) will be able to meet us there.
On August 27 we fly back to Shanghai and then to Atlanta arriving the evening of the 28th.
For those who haven't heard, we were able to use frequent flyer miles for 3 round trip tickets - Atlanta to Shanghai...we Never expected this and consider it a great miracle and another assurance that 'everything is as it should be'.
Katrina is here this week helping me get ready. Yesterday she made a huge dent in the disaster we call our library. The back of my car is stuffed with things for the thrift store. After we empty we'll try again. Then I'll start packing.... Eight more days!!!