Category Archives: Travel

China Trip Part 1

We left on Wednesday around noon to begin our 13.5 hour flight to Beijing. The first 7 hours weren’t so bad. We paid for Economy Plus to get some extra leg and seat room which was well worth it. Gabi and I watched Hidden Figures, did some reading and played cards. I was fighting a sore throat and the cabin pressure wasn’t helping so I was struggling to stay asleep until it was time to sleep but then once it was time to sleep it proved to be really difficult to do while sitting up. We all tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. We let Gabi stretch her legs over us so she could sleep and she got probably 4-5 hours which was good. We landed in the middle of the day local time. Landings are always tough on me. The pilot did a good job but I still felt pretty sick and lightheaded so combined with lack of sleep and the emotions of finally being in China so close to Emily I shed quite a few tears in relief when those wheels touched down.

We’ve been at the Marriott City Wall in Beijing – GREAT hotel. We highly recommend it. Good food, comfortable beds, very clean and great customer service.

We had arranged for sightseeing for two days with David Wang, a local Beijing guide who works with adoptive families and has a big heart for China’s orphans. He’s worked with many families who’ve adopted from Emily’s orphanage. We would highly recommend him to anyone interested in sightseeing or doing a heritage tour. He also arranged our transportation from the airport to our hotel here in Beijing and from our Guangzhou hotel to the HK hotel. His prices are usually lower than any of the adoption agency’s fees for these services and he is very flexible and provides great service.

We went to the Great Wall. David chose a fantastic location. It’s farther outside the city but it allowed us to have some of the best views of the older parts of the original wall. We took a ski lift ride up and did a mountain toboggan car ride down which was really fun! We learned a lot about the history of the wall and its importance in Chinese culture and society over the years. Then we a beautiful overlook of the Forbidden City which was the home of the Emperor for many years. It was AMAZING! So much bigger than we could have imagined. We toured with another family so we took them back to their hotel and then made the trip to the other side of Beijing to the Chunhui China Care Home where Emily spent five months after her surgery. The Beijing traffic is no joke, so everything took longer, but the driver David got was really good and got us everywhere as fast as possible. All my pictures are on my phone and I haven’t had a chance to add them to Kevin’s laptop yet which is what we brought with us that I’m blogging on, but I hope to get a few added later.

We arrived at the home and were so warmly greeted by the Director Lynn. The story of this home and its foundation is awesome – check it out here and be totally inspired! I immediately recognized parts of the home from the pictures we received and felt the tears rising up because we were in the same place our daughter had been and it was like one more connection to her. The staff was so friendly and warm and enthusiastic. We got to meet all of the children and see their rooms, and most importantly to see Emily’s room and meet her nanny, Feng Mei. We gave her a gift and expressed our gratitude, and were able to ask several questions about Emily. Besides meeting and talking with Feng Mei, my favorite part was meeting the children. From tiny infants to children six years old, they had a variety of medical needs. Some had just come and were preparing for surgery, others had been there for a few months and were rehabilitating. One of the tiny little girls who has spina bifida that prevents her from walking wanted Gabi to hold her and she did – it was precious. I was so thrilled in the moment I didn’t take a picture and now I wish I had. We talked about the summer volunteer trips and are already dreaming of returning together to the home 🙂  The Director Lyn, was an awesome woman. I could have stayed for hours talking with her. They were really happy to connect with us because most of the time when the children return to their orphanage they have no idea if they are adopted or not. They pour so much love and work into these children and then have to let them go and just hope for the best. It is such selfless work. I could tell her heart is heavy for the children and all the others that she knows are out there. She softly asked me, “Do you know? Are there many families on the waiting list?” She longs for these precious ones to be in the love and care of forever families. Each one is worthy. I wish I could tell her that there is a waiting list families seeking to adopt children with medical needs. But I encouraged her that the adoption community is strong and we will continue to advocate and educate and work because we are together in this – this work, this passion, this cause worth giving our lives to – of finding a family for every child.

Day Two of touring in the next post…


Final words from China

Our trip is nearing its end and we are very ready to go home and be with our two wonderful kids waiting for us there! We have had an amazing trip, but it is time to be together as a family of five!

The next two days will be busy with packing, goodbyes to our new friends made through traveling this special journey together, and then actually traveling back to Hong Kong by train and metro, an overnight there, and then out by plane Wed AM (our time) to return home! So this will be our last post from this side of the world.

We would love to have your prayers over us in the next week for a few specific things:

  1. For our physical health and strength through the many hours of travel ahead. Pray for our systems to stay calm and protected from illness, and for us to be able to sleep when we ned to and when we can. The time change this way was not easy, and it will be much worse going back, particularly with a four year old.
  2. For Gabi and Drew – they have been waiting a long time for us to come home. They’ve had wonderful love and care, but they want their Mommy and Daddy home and it feels like we’ve been gone a reeaaallly long time at this point. Pray for their hearts as they try to get through these last few days, and as they prepare for the major changes coming their way as a new sibling joins the family. It would be very normal for all of them – James included – to feel jealousy and insecurity. We are asking God to cover our family with His pace. And, importantly, to give the older two the courage to express their feelings to us so we can work through things together.
  3. For James’ heart and mind as he gets on a giant plane for 16 hours, and lands on the other side of the world. A world that is different in every way from what he has known. Not one person in his everyday life and interactions will speak the language he knows. If that was me, that alone would feel very scary.

Thank you all again for your love and support and care! We can’t wait to be home with you!


Here’s an overview of our itinerary in China. We’ll be doing our best to post updates and blog about our trip while we’re there!

Friday, Oct. 30th: Depart Newark at 3:45pm local time

Saturday, October 31st: Arrive in Hong Kong at 7:45pm local time

Sunday, November 1st: Take a 1 hour subway ride from the airport hotel to the train station, then a 2 hour train ride to Guangzhou, China. Meet our guide at the station, and get checked into our hotel. Unpack and grab some dinner. Try to sleep?


Tuesday & Wednesday: Paperwork and appointments to finalize the adoption, and get James’ passport in the Province Civil Affairs Office.

Thursday, November 5th: James’ Medical Exam, required to get his Visa

Friday, November 6th: Free Day, Sightseeing

Saturday, November 7th: Pick up the medical exam report, JAMES’ BIRTHDAY!! Dinner and cake celebration with other adoptive families!

Sunday, November 8th: Tentative visit to James’ SWI (Social Welfare Institute). We make the request of the director on Monday when we meet him. If she grants permission, we will go with our guide. It’s a 3 hour train ride each way.

Monday, November 9th: 8:30am appointment at the American Consulate to apply for his Visa

Tuesday, November 10th: Pick up Visa late afternoon, return to Hong Kong airport hotel (going to be a late night)

Wednesday, November 11th: Depart Hong Kong in the morning, arrive in Newark at local time, 2pm.