We left home 4:30 am Feb 25th. Dean's dad was leaving our house as well to drive home to Canada, so we loaded up and he dropped us off at the airport.
I actually got 3 hours sleep, Dean did not even go to bed. We have a history of that before major trips and definitely adoption. Not the best way to start out, we just do what needs to be done. The girls were bathed and fully dressed with their shoes by their bed.
The night was beautiful. There were stars everywhere. The house was glowing with the warm exterior lights and as we pulled away I prayed that each light represented an angel to protect our family. The moment I prayed it...the tears came. I could still see the house on the hill and my heart was crushing. Each name I prayed for brought more tears. The greatest...definitely being Azlan. Not because he is loved more, cared for more or any of the above (yes...I need to clarify that)...but because his need is different. This is the oldest he has been (obviously) so the hope is there that he does not regress with me gone so long. Two weeks without speech therapy has a major effect...combine that without Mommy too and you have a real set back. Please pray for him.
We noticed he has large scabs on is scalp and what's happening is he is picking his head. No itchiness, no dryness...just picking his head. Seems like anxiety to us and heaven only knows what that makes me feel. Please pray for his heart that he feels perfectly safe.
Auntie Tanis (Dean's sister) and her sweet girls (adopted from Zambia) are staying with our family. I thought it was really sweet that Tanis wanted to sleep downstairs in Azahria's room as she thinks this will make the kids feel safer to have her right there. She's right. I totally saw relief on Azlan's face when I told him.
We arrived at the airport, checked in...got on the plane. It was a 6:20 flight. Short flight only about 30 minutes to Seattle.
Then we had a 5.5 hour layover in Seattle. Yes. We did.
There, we met a family that had just returned from China with their beautiful 19month old daughter. I mean...beautiful. This child was breathtaking. The family had just gotten off a flight from Hong Kong and were headed home to Georgia. We chatted with them for a while and then eventually moved on to our gate.
My stomach hurt with nervousness but I had a peace.
Just a few days before, I was pouring out my heart to my sweet friend. I told her of my deep crippling fears with flying and leaving my children. She addressed me straight on. (I hope you have these people in your life...we all need these people). She loves me deeply and loves me enough to rebuke me. I was IN fear. Like in it. Overwhelming. Shaking. Crying. Fear. She reminded me fear is never ever a gift that God gives and I needed to stop accepting it and address it. I went into the bathroom, in front of the mirror. I was a mess. Puffy eyes. Shaking. I started to pray out loud. I started to beg God to not let me go to China. Right in the middle of my prayer...this verse popped into my mind. The whole thing. In it's entirety. Woah.
"Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1 :9
This was like me bending down to my child and saying "wait. Haven't I told you...?" and my child's eyes falling to the floor in realization that they were off in their own pit.
"Yes. Yes...you have told me and this is ridiculous."
From that moment I had peace. I had more rational feelings, concerns and fears. But not crippling.
We got on the plane and as we were boarding 4 year old Izrael said "wow this plane is so big" I quickly responded that "angels were flying this plane today all the way across the ocean" and she smiled big. I didn't even know where that comment came from!
We agreed to choose the middle 4 seats so we could sit together. This was a huge surrender to me. I ONLY ever have a window seat. I must see down. I feel totally claustrophobic without a window.
It was fine...until it wasn't :) I started to feel the panic of 10 hours in this plane at the 45 minute mark. It was only slightly bumpy and the claustrophobia set in. The stewardess saw me and came and talked to me. She was rubbing my arm telling me just how safe I was. She was lovely.
I got it together...hearing over and over and over in my head: "Janice...have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. DO NOT BE AFRAID or discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you WHEREVER you go."
There was only one other time that I struggled. This was 10 hours. Part of the fear stops me from watching a movie anything. I just sit there. I counted down every hour. Izrael and Nazara did fantastic. They slept for hours and hours.
When we landed it was amazing. Land.
The first squatty potty of our trip :)
Our first time in Japan! We flew to Tokyo. We only had a quick layover and then boarded for Hong Kong. Shockingly...this was a 5 hour flight! Ugh. 10 hours across the ocean then 5 more hours from Tokyo to Hong Kong.
Leaving Tokyo @ sunset!
Izrael fell to sleep instantly. Nazara pretty quickly after take off. It was the best flight ever. It was dark. The sky was full of stars reminding me just who was in control and we slept. I woke at every hour and it wasn't a deep sleep. But I slept. And so did everyone else!
We had booked a hotel on Hotels.com (where we had a $200 credit from last May). We got one right @ the airport, The Marriott. The $200 credit and something I just sold on eBay paid for the entire thing which was wonderful! So this part of our stay was free. We got a free shuttle to the hotel and it was perfect. A lovely room. I bathed to two girls and we ordered food. That may or may not have been the first food to enter my mouth since we left home. For real.
The girls ate up perfectly. As soon as we were done eating (now about midnight local time- 8 am the PRIOR day at home) I apparently fell to sleep and didn't wake til 6am. Not how I planned it (a shower would have been lovely) but since I can get overtired and then suffer from insomnia, it was perfect.
So this seems like a better transition with a 16h jet lag than last time. We are at least on schedule to adjust well. We plan on coming back and taking a nap this afternoon so we can all stay up til midnight local time.
We stay here all day today and again tonight. Tomorrow evening we fly to Kunming City where the beautiful Princess ZhenAi is.
From the bottom of our hearts...thank you for praying. At one point yesterday in my panic, Dean said "Do you have any idea how many people are praying for you?" and he was so right. From the deepest part of me...thank you. Thank you for walking this journey with us. Thank you.
XOXO from Hong Kong.