I've been holding out for a few days til I knew for sure of the dates but yes...WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!
We received our TA on Thursday - that is "the call" that we were waiting for to say that our request to travel to China has been accepted. We were given several travel week choices within a window of time. Our first choices were sent back to China and by Friday afternoon we received word that we got our first choice and that our CA (Consulate appointment) is scheduled for March 19.
We are currently working with a travel agent so dates aren't set in stone yet, but we are probably looking at March 6 as our "off to China" date and March 11 as our "Gotcha day!" As soon as I know, I will post our travel itinerary.
When we decided to take our older children on this trip it was not going to be an issue for three of our kids as they are all home schooled and will miss a couple of their co-op classes which should be no problem. But for our college son, there was concern. Back in December when we met with his college advisor, she helped him to choose classes and professors who would be most likely to agree to him missing for such a trip (the beauty of a small community college!). He wrote all of his teachers ahead and all were willing to work with him - to miss 2 weeks. As time went on tho', it became clearer to us that the trip was likely to be more like 2.5 weeks. This could be a problem - especially since one teacher said he could miss the two weeks but any other absences would result in failure.
The timing of the trip is another cool thing that only God could orchestrate. Spring break for Drew's college is early this year...middle of March. Our travel choices that we were offered, included Drew's break week...now he will only miss about 1.5 weeks of college classes. Only God...
Our little girls will be heading off to my wonderful, loving, sweet, caring, giving, selfless sister. She is going to be "homeschooling" them in the morning and then lovingly caring for them all while continuing to mother her 4. Bless her. The girls are so excited to hang out with Aunt Jill and Uncle Marc and all the cousins. I am not sure that I will ever be able to thank them enough, and feel incredibly blessed to have them give us this gift.
Yesterday was a very emotional day for me as I realized that in exactly one month, I will meet the little girl whose face I know by heart but whose little voice I have never heard. I am in AWE and wonder at how God brings families together from across many miles and how He orchestrates and moves mountains to save an orphan child. People have asked me how we can do something so gutsy or huge - and nearly impossible - and all I can say is that I have utter faith in the God of the orphan, who places the lonely in families, who SAVES. HE is doing this. We just said yes. And please, HE gets the credit! We are not rich or wonderful or patient or organized or special - HE is! And I am so grateful we get to help Him in this way!!
We continue to be blessed with donations and gifts and for this we are so grateful. We have orphanage and T's province donations to pay soon (around $6000) and plane and hotel reservations (eek). We will be starting to roll our Cha-ching coins tonight - I am hopeful that we are going to be astounded by the amount our loving friends and neighbors have collected for us (I highly recommend this as a fundraiser to anyone reading who is adopting) - by just throwing their loose change in a jar. BLESS ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE GIVEN!
In my next blog post, I hope to share some photos of our first of many Chinese New Year Celebration here at the Snells'. A new tradition for our family - and who knew my husband could cook up such wonderful Chinese food??? (of course he can...he can cook anything!). I am having some problems with my photo uploading at the moment. Hope to get those up this week. Until then -