Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Prior to leaving to bring home Hope this past summer, my super cool friend, Elissa, sent out a prayer itinerary to her family and friends. I thought it was a fantastic idea, so I decided to snag her idea and come up with one of our own. Imitation is a great form of flattery, right?
So, if you would, please give us the gift of prayer. It would mean so much to us.
Now-Pray for our health, stamina, and attitudes as we try to attend to each detail prior to the trip. Don has been away on business all week and is flying the red eye home and won't roll in until today sometime. (Can you say tired?) We have (lots of) funds to gather, bags to pack, prescriptions to be filled, paperwork to assemble, copies to be made, doctors to be contacted, notes to be sent, bills to be paid, housework to be done, etc., etc.
Please pray for us to be able to think clearly and know what needs to be done, what can be delegated, and not go crazy in the process. I'm not going to lie, I'm a stress case right now and my need for control is making me a bear. I need to breathe and have peace. I become happier as I see visible progress and things crossed off the list. Praying to see MANY more items crossed off my list in the next day.
Please pray for my parents to arrive safely (on Monday) and stay healthy as they make their way to our home to stay with Lindy.
Thursday, October 6th-Don and I are scheduled to leave at 12:39 pm. Please pray for easy goodbyes as we drop off Lindy to school, our departure to be on time, and for a very capable crew as we "fly the friendly skies" and head to China! It is supposed to be a non-stop flight, we'd like for it to stay that way.
Friday, October 7th- We are scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 2:20 pm. Based on experience, my biggest prayer is for a good night's sleep. This travel does CRAZY things to one's body.
Saturday, October 8th- We are supposed to have an opportunity to do some sightseeing--most likely in the Forbidden City, an excursion we missed last time. Prayers for a nice, relaxing day for the two of us. Having the time as just a couple is a rare commodity for us. I imagine it will not get any easier to find alone time with two children. We'd also love for our nephew, Jake, to have a super birthday!
Sunday, October 9th-Please pray for our safety as we leave Beijing and fly to Urumqi City on an airline I've never heard of. Their website says they are a "world five star airline," so I don't anticipate hanging out with cargo. It is about a six hour flight. China is a BIG country! Prayers of thanksgiving for my Grandpa as he celebrates his 86th birthday!
Monday, October 10th-MILLIE MEI DAY! We don't have a time yet but at some point during this day we will finally meet Xin Mei Ting in the Xinjiang Provincial Adoption Center. I'm not really clear but it looks like it might be our official adoption day, too. With Lindy it was "official" on the day after we met her and that is what we called our "Forever Family Day."
Lately, when I look at Xin Mei Ting's smiling face, I see a child who is so loved. She is already part of a family--just not the family God intended for her. She has fingernail polish and styled hair and is clearly given the gift of time and attention. All this brings such happiness to my waiting heart but it also brings the reality of what is going to happen on this day. A child is going to be removed from EVERYTHING familiar and placed in the arms of strangers. Please pray for Xin Mei Ting to work through this initial shock as easily as possible and for us to be strong for her and to have the wisdom to help her through her grief. Also, please pray for her foster family who loved her and is now saying, "goodbye." I imagine that little sweetheart who captured our hearts with her big smile will leave a big void in their hearts.
Tuesday, October 11th-Please pray we'll be able to have the ability to communicate with loved ones back home via some method during our trip. Sweet Sara is going to be my guest blogger (will take our emails and pictures and put them in the blog). I know there will be a very anxious BIG SISTER waiting to see her little sister but time differences and other factors can make communication a challenge. Oh, since we're talking communication, please pray we'll be able to successfully communicate with our toddler who knows Mandarin. We know the handful of words we've learned on Ni Hao Kai-Lan.
Wednesday, October 12th-We didn't see it on our itinerary but we've asked to build in time to tour the orphanage. We want to see where Millie has been for her entire life. Please pray we will be allowed to visit. Additionally, I have "met" a fellow Urumqi waiting mom and am hoping to deliver a care package to the daughter for whom she waits and take pictures of her.
Thursday, October 13th-Please pray for the three of us to have a special day as we tour Urumqi City. Please pray for continued bonding, developing trust, and for us to learn more and more about Millie.
Friday, October 14th-Happy birthday, Uncle Robbie! After we pick up essential adoption paperwork and Millie's passport in the morning, we will make our way to the airport. Oh how I wish we were heading home. However, at this point we will only be halfway through our trip. We will leave Millie's province and head to the city of Guangzhou. Please pray for our safety and an uneventful flying debut for Millie. It is about the equivalent of a coast-to-coast flight and we'll have a limited bag of tricks. Benadryl anyone? NO JUDGING! We've had more than one very fine pediatrician recommend this little cocktail. It didn't work for big sis. Let's pray it does for the little one!
I remember such a sadness and the tears I had when we left Changsha with Lindy. I anticipate I will have a similar sadness as I leave my daughter's first home. These first few days together are filled with so many bittersweet moments.
I am pretty sure my parents will be taking a road trip this weekend after Lindy gets out of school. Please pray for their safety and a lot of fun times!
Saturday, October 15th-Sleep in right? Oh no. Today we will do paperwork, have Millie's pictures taken (not for fun), and have the mandatory medical examination. Please pray for Millie's exam to go well. This exam will include a TB test and possibly some vaccinations. Please pray for her to be found healthy and pass her exam. If she doesn't, we could have an undesired extended stay. We wouldn't mind prayers for our health, too.
Sunday, October 16th-Please pray we can attend church. I think it would be an amazing opportunity and experience for many reasons.
Monday, October 17th-We will return to the medical clinic to receive the results of Millie's TB exam. Please pray for favorable news and minimal flashbacks or trauma as she sees the men and women in white coats again.
Tuesday, October 18th-Please pray for our family at home--especially for Lindy to be focusing at school and behaving well for my parents.
Also, please pray for us to have some fun family times in Guangzhou.
Wednesday, October 19th-Today is our Visa appointment at the US Consulate. Please pray all our paperwork is in good order and for this part of the process to go as smoothly as we expect.
Thursday, October 20th-Please pray for us to have a great last day in China and for our Visa package to be ready at 3:30 pm--the LAST thing we need to leave.
Friday, October 21st-AKA longest.day.ever. At about 6:00 in the morning we will leave Guangzhou to make our way via van to the airport in Hong Kong. At 11:50 our flight is scheduled to leave and the really long journey begins. Please pray for our flight to be on time and for safe travels. Also, please pray that all of us will be able to rest at some point during the flight and for Millie to be a champ.
Millie will become an American citizen during our layover in Chicago. Woo hoo!!! We will have a couple hours there and then make our way home, hopefully landing close to 7:00 pm EDT where we will do our best to get to the excited big sister and grandparents as soon as possible.
I could use your prayers for my heart. Leaving China is a bittersweet time. This time it is even more bittersweet and I pray I won't be a complete emotional wreck in my presumed broken down, hormonal, weary state of exhaustion. I already know it'll be sad to leave the land of our daughters. I think most adoptive parents have encountered that feeling on some level. The happy part is that we're coming home with the daughter we waited so long for, prayed so hard for, and many times thought we just might never have. We will have living, breathing proof of God's amazing love and faithfulness and answered prayer! However, I'm not going to lie, it is so hard for me not to be bringing Millie home to San Antonio. Although it feels like a lifetime, we will only have been gone from San Antonio for six months on October 10th. The pain of the move is still very real to me and I carry a great ache in my heart knowing that so many of the people who faithfully prayed for us and carried us these past four and a half years won't be meeting Millie and be a part of her homecoming. In some cases, the day we showed people Millie's picture was the same day we told people we were moving. I am not sharing this to sound self-absorbed, selfish, or pathetic. They are my true feelings and truth is what you get here. I'm just so grateful for the people who were by our side through the good and bad, so I know I'll be missing them a lot more on this particular day.
That is not to say that Millie won't be loved in her new home and I in NO WAY want to take away from anyone else outside of San Antonio who has been supportive of us on any part of this journey. She is, without a doubt, loved and we are so blessed and humbled knowing that.
I apologize for the very lengthy post. If we aren't able to post during our travels, you will at least be able to "picture" what we might be doing. While you're picturing us, please make sure to see me at least 10 pounds thinner, with good hair, and a cute outfit. Ha ha!!!
Thank you, in advance, for your prayers. It will bring us great peace knowing we are covered.