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I’m writing this blog at 3100ft above sea level.   WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO GET OUR BABY GIRL!!  I have not had a chance to tell everyone personally and I apologize!  Monday started and almost ended much the same as the past several weeks, almost….  Complete with an end of the day call from our social worker saying there was nothing to report, we yet again resigned to wait and went about the evening. During Luke’s baseball party I glanced at my email while checking in on a sweet friend going through a very similar journey.  And then I saw it.  It couldn’t be what I thought it was, could it? It was!  We received our travel approval (TA)! And just like that, in the midst of hosting our son’s end of the season pool party, my water broke (well, so to speak).

I’m writing this blog at 3100ft above sea level.   WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO GET OUR BABY GIRL!!

After receiving TA, you have to wait on your Consulate Appointment (CA) before you travel. People generally hear back about this date 48 hours after TA news and it’s typically two weeks before you go.  We spent the remainder of Monday night, mapping out our “plan” to travel the following week and praying for a consulate appointment by July 5th (to avoid issues with the Consulate closure taking place mid July).  I decided to hold the TA announcement until we had actual dates to share.  I went to sleep planning out the last minute things needing to be done and forming a plan to scrub the house from top to bottom.  I was going to go and buy all the little gifts we are supposed to bring for our guides, nannies, drivers, etc.  I was going to finish the nursery, put pictures on the walls and get everything perfect for sweet Susan Elizabeth.  I was going to swap out a few of the clothes we bought her because we received an update saying she had grown (which thrilled me to have to do because she is so very tiny).  I was going to take the boys to Seaworld one more time before their worlds were completely rocked.  I was going to stay on top of laundry so it would be easy to pack things up. I was going to make fabulous meals to use up the fully stocked fridge I just filled. I was going to do my duties as the world’s most amazing Vacation Bible School photographer and make a fabulous slide show of all the kids.  I was going to pick up all the preventative and just-in-case prescription meds and be ready for whatever may strike.  We were going to mail off all the remaining shirts, medals, and chick-fil-a coupons for our Virtual Race.  All this was to be accomplished by this weekend.  I made the comment that I do my best work under pressure and felt up to the challenge.  Good thing.

Tuesday morning, the boys and I reported to our various classes and workstations for VBS.  My friend gave me a precious gift and I went to put it in the van.  While there, I received a text saying one of our friends in the same adoption timeline circle just received her CA and wanted to know if I did too.  I figured no, but checked my email anyway.  And sure enough, there was an email, about 15 hours after being informed of our TA, with our consulate appointment confirmed for the 1st of July.  I read a little further and it says we will have our “gotcha day” on Monday June 24th (Sunday morning in America, China is about a day ahead).   We will be holding our baby in just a few short days, this means we needed to get our tails to China real quick like!  I dumped my VBS photography duties like a hot brick and shot home to make flight arrangements. I called Josh a work but I’m pretty sure my blabbering didn’t make any sense.  Somehow he managed to understand what I was saying, got his leave papers together, wrapped up his loose ends at work, and got home.  I was now in active labor with my sweet baby girl.

“I’m trying not to think we may now miss their birthdays… They both said they did not mind as long as it meant their little sister gets to finally come home.”

I frantically scrambled to get the shopping done for our trip; we needed all the gifts, diapers, baby food, and all the personal odds and ends you need when going on a multi week trip to a foreign country.  I did not get to buy the new outfit I wanted for meeting my baby girl, but I did manage to buy myself some new drawers while at the Walmart, so at least my bottom half will feel good.  We got the laundry done and the house received a good ole fashioned spit shine (well, somewhat). I stayed up until 3 am on Tuesday night, woke up Wednesday morning at 7 ready to hit the road hard.  I made 3 trips to the base pharmacy, only one of those trips was partially successful. The other 2 were a flop.  Particularly the one made at 11pm Wednesday night with my friend Stephanie.  In less than an hour period I managed to fib a little to the gate guard saying “no she doesn’t have her ID with her” because I didn’t want the military police to swoop in and detain her for having an expired since November drivers license (perhaps I am being a bit dramatic in that description but it makes it more fun).  I also managed to argue with a posse of janitors waxing the floors and blocking the way to the pharmacy.  They told me it was closed and wouldn’t let me pass.  I wasn’t trying to hear that.  The past couple days are not what I pictured this beautiful time to be like, but oh well.  True to form, this baby is coming whether we’re ready or not.  It makes me think of the birthing plan I so carefully filled out with my first born.  I wish I still had a copy, I’d laugh and laugh and laugh at it now!

“… I know this is all part of a Greater plan. I’m going to embrace the journey!”

We literally did not even unmake our bed Wednesday night.  Josh and I worked through the midnight hours attempting to get everything done.  To add to the madness, we received news Wednesday afternoon that our trip was going to be extended by a few weeks as we wait on the logistics of the medical flight home.  Packing for 6 (the boys are with grandparents) for what could easily be a month in less than 48 hours is a bit daunting.  We also realized we needed to impose on our house and dog sitters for even longer now too. This is all so crazy!! I tried using the Lamaze breathing techniques I learned 9 years ago, they didn’t work for me this time either.  I needed a stinking epidural STAT!  We left home Thursday at 4:30 for our 6 am flight. We arrived in Hawaii and attempted yet another trip to the pharmacy to get Lizzie’s meds and our ain’t-nobody-wants-the-diarrhea-malaria-or-scabies medications.  It seriously took another 3 trips to 2 additional pharmacies but we finally figured it out (thank you so much Courtney).  I went to sleep around 11pm Thursday Hawaiian time (4 am central time).  I was a hot mess by nights end but woke up feeling well rested and ready to get my baby girl!!

I’m finishing this blog in in route to Tokyo, were we have a 4 hour layover, then it’s on to China.  I keep thinking of all the things I wanted to do to better prepare us all for the trip.  I’m trying not to think of all the important things I probably forgot.  I’m missing my sweet boys already but reminding myself they are going to have an amazing time.  I’m trying not to think we may now miss their birthdays (Luke & Taylor’s bdays are only a few days apart).  They both said they did not mind as long as it meant their little sister gets to finally come home.  I love those sweet stinkers!  While all of this has floored me, I know this is all part of a Greater plan. I’m going to embrace the journey!  We had it right all along and just didn’t know it… We won’t just come to you sweet Susan Elizabeth, we will RUN to you!!!

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Please disregard any typos, I am publishing without proofing and this was written under extreme exhaustion! Love you all and stay tuned for more!!!

Follow Lizzie

Touch the Sky is working to support the adoption of a girl who was previously advocated by the name Tamarix. She is a bright, beautiful 12 year old little girl from Xi'an China who is deaf. She loves to draw and the orphanage director says she often draws picture of a family. She very much wants to be adopted and wants a family desperately.  Go to their page to learn how you can donate or buy a t-shirt/tote bag to support a grant that will allow a family to bring her home.

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