I feel 100% on track. No jet lag at all. Which...is the the strangest thing but I'll take it. Dean and the girls seem to need the mid afternoon nap and it's working out great.
We got up and went for breakfast. Unlike the rest of the hotels we are staying at...this breakfast is NOT free but since our hotel was free in HK it makes it easier to pay the $27USD per morning for breakfast.
The servers quickly became our favorite. This little lady is tiny and full of spunk. She adored the kids. When we went to get our food at the buffet she told us to leave lambie and Piggy there and the kids were delighted when we returned :)
They were each propped up with their plates, spoons, etc :)
We got talking to the servers quite a bit and showed them our family. They both thought it was amazing. We went from the status quo family in their minds with 2 little kids to being "CRAZY' but she insisted "CRAZY" wasn't her thought, instead it was "amazing" :)
We just have a real love for these people. They love to work. They love their families.
We had already left and she found us and asked for one more picture :)
We went back to our room, it was 10am. I suggested the kids and Dean lay down and nap. I packed everything up as they all fell to sleep instantly. We had to be out of our room at 1pm and I woke Dean at 12:56 to tell him he needed to stand up and pull the suitcases out :) So that was awesome they all got a great rest and the girls woke their best yet. It was like they were finally 100%. Not grouchy, not weepy...happy.
We went downstairs and held our luggage at the desk. We enjoyed a free drink...the best cappuccino I've had since Zambia! Used to love those mornings in Lusaka with Tanis drinking our cappuccinos for breakfast while the kids played.
I forget when we decided it was time to take the shuttle to the airport in prep for our 5:05 flight to Kunming.
The airport in HK was a mirror image of the one in Nanjing when we left Taizi's city! That was crazy. We checked in only to find we had paid for Izrael to fly business class. Ha! If I was fine with Dean leaving me ... he could have taken the seat. But alas...I was not :) So we got our seats together and settled that with the desk.
As many of you know "big Piggy" is a special possession in our house. Izrael has been very attached to him since she was 2. Well Nazara realizes there's something special about him and as much as she loves Lambie, she is always asking Izrael if she can "babysit Piggy" :) It's way too funny and has been working well. The craziest part is that Ray says yes!! Then she will finally tear up and try to express how she needs him back. As you can see in this pic, Nazara is 'babysitting'.
Ok. So this may sound strange but bear with me. We are in the HK airport checking in and this lady is in line ahead of us with this girl. The girl is 9-11. She has long braids and bangs. She is dressed in the most adorable funky leggings, frock style dress and little hat (think Anne of Green Gables entire outfit when she arrived on the train to meet Matthew, only in cute colors! IDENTICAL). She...looked...identical to ZhenAi. I mean...I think my mouth was hanging open. I couldn't even process what I was seeing. She looked over at us and had that same little shy smirk. We had seen hundreds of Chinese children...not one even looked similar to this girl. I felt like I was looking at ZhenAi's sister. I was spell bound. I tried so very hard to get a photo...and I did but not front on. I was hoping and actually...quite convinced she was going to be on our flight to Kunming. I mean...I don't even know what to say.
Here's what happened though. My heart melted. I mean...melted. I had tears. I had a lump in my throat. And whatever the purpose of this whole thing was and whatever it means, I have no idea but it was the first time this trip that total excitement came. Nervousness left. All the questions left. And I was in awe.
We boarded our flight to Kunming. It was hazy in HK. I was terrified. We were flying China Eastern. There's so many mixed reviews on in country flights in China. I had seen wonderful and horrid things about China Eastern.
The plane was brand new. It was beautiful. 3 seats on each side. Nazara and I sat with an elderly gentleman and Dean and Ray sat in front of us with another man. The moment we sat, Nazara, very loudly exclaims "we are sitting with PAPA?!?!?!?!" I die. Seriously. She was 100% convinced this was Papa!! He was a thin elderly Chinese man...so so cute. But looking nothing like Papa. I kept laughing thinking she must be thinking Mommy is so rude b/c I wasn't exactly interacting with him. Every few minutes she would lean over and dramatically nod saying 'Sitting with Papa, right?" Oh my heck. So there you go. Papa was with us on that flight!
As we taxied down the runway the panic hit. I mean...panic. If you cannot relate with a deep, deep, almost irrational fear of anything in your life..reading this must be difficult for you. I cannot explain it better than I am. I feel like my chest is caving in. I am examining every person on that plane. It's a mix of claustrophobia and fear of being suspended in the air. The fact that I do this...and frequently...lessens it NONE. It almost seems to grow.
I started to cry. Dean turned around and told me how sorry he was and that we can do this. He cautioned me not to let this get so big that I fail to see the beautiful new plane and how safe we are.
Over and over and over I heard "Janice...have not I commanded you? Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS (being terrified and doing it anyway!!).. do NOT be afraid...do NOT be discouraged...the Lord your God is with you WHEREVER (even here. ) you go. "
I got it together. We lifted off. The day was beautiful. The first 15 minutes were pretty bouncy and I was glued to the window.
However, as Dean noted, every time there was a bump the pilot changed altitude searching for a smoother path. It was pretty impressive. After that it was divine. The sky was amazing. Clear. The sun was setting. The orange and pink strung across the sky. It was a gift. Meanwhile I was teaching Nazara her letters. We played with Usborne sticker books and soft hand sewn letters (thanks Corrine). For each letter I gave a word. I was shocked when we went back through them and she only missed 4!!! Pretty crazy.
Upon descent there was a big bump, immediately there was an announcement that ended with this:
"there are rough air currents. Please do not worry. We will land soon." and I smiled thanking God for this pilot who GETS ME! :)
We landed in Kunming with fireworks. Literally. It was so cool and Nazara and Ray were loving it.
I suddenly felt like we were on holy ground. This place...this place on the other side of the world. That God had so clearly called us to. If you don't believe that then our story must seem so strange. But that is the missing piece. He called us here. So clearly that we couldn't have missed it. No...we did not say YES jumping up and down. It was another huge surrender in our story. Not our plans. Not our .... His. It was His. And one of the greatest realizations I've ever had was to understand that our life is God's story. His story and we are just the characters He chooses to use. His will. His plan. His...story.
We are not crazy. We are not going for the largest family record. We are not any of the things that may cross your mind. We simply...have followed Him...here. His story.
And flying into the place He called us to March 1 when he had me sobbing in church as He had just told me this next step will take Ridiculous Faith....sent a shiver down my spine.
Here. This is where I called you Janice. Here. This is where she is. The girl I told you to come for. Here.
Fireworks were the perfect display for the emotions I had no words for. Welcome...here.
It is not lost on me that February 29...today as I write this....is the day we meet this beautiful girl. It is also exactly one day shy of the day we sat in church and God said "this next step will take Ridiculous Faith". We didn't know who or what but we knew He was calling us again.
Surrender. As many of you know...I haven't made this blog about adoption. This blog is about surrender. That is what each of us will be called to in our lives. And that comes in many forms. Could be surrendering to your broken marriage and letting God step in and heal. Could be surrendering to the family drama and taking the low place. Apologize even though it wasn't you. Surrender. It could be God is calling you to walk away from that job that owns you. Yes you live a good big life but there's more He's calling you to. Perhaps there's more in the simplicity of a 'small life'. Surrender. Maybe He's calling you to go and serve. Full time. Leave all and serve Him. Where He wants you to go. Letting Him lead. Surrender. And yes...perhaps He's calling you to adopt. Not your plans. Not your goals. Heart break. Financial strain. Leap....leap knowing He won't let you fall. Surrender.
That is our story. And here we are..a few hours before meeting this girl that God has broken my heart for over the last year. I don't have the words for that. I don't have the way to express my heart. Except to say...when you know that you know that you know...you are right where God has called you to be...that trumps every question, every what-if, every naysayer (even the ones you love) along the way. This...? This is for Him. And here we are...right before meeting ZhenAi. So many unknowns. So very many. Will she consent? We don't focus on the questions. We focus on the facts. We know for sure...100%...that God told us to come. Here. For her.
We have chosen to follow Him here. Not knowing where that will lead us.
Thank you for following our journey. To Kunming. To ZhenAi.
(We meet her around 3pm today. I can only update when we get back to our hotel and get wifi)