It's been two weeks since I last posted. Wow. To the out-of-town folks, I'm really sorry. I don't know if I've ever gone two weeks between posts before now. Well, here goes...
Things have been moving quickly lately on the adoption front, but much of the movement hasn't yet resulted in concrete details. That's one of the reasons I've been reluctant to post in the past week or so. Also, between our computer being tied up as I prepare movies for the iPad for the trip over and the kids being all over the place, finding the time to compose posts and load photos has been a challenge.
We received our Travel Approval from China on Monday. This was two weeks to the day from when we last heard from them. I've got to give it to the Chinese government, they've always been on the short end of the time estimates. The U.S. government, on the other hand...
Ordinarily, receiving one's travel approval would allow them to request a consulate appointment and know just when they're going to travel. The wild card here is that the area of Henan where Henry is has a court/passport office that has been quite erratic lately. Passports should be issued within 5 days, but they've been taking as long as 8 days with some families. This can be a problem. For example, one family had to miss their consulate appointment and their flight home because the passport office was dragging their feet. Nobody wants this to be our story, so there are some behind the scenes conversations trying to normalize the process, and this is going on just as we're adopting from this region.
All told, it's looking very likely that we'll leave on May 13 and return on June 2. That's a long time to be away from family and from work. I can't say I'm real crazy about this aspect of it, but it comes with the territory. Lincoln and Lydia will be staying with Grandma Laura for part of the time, and then with Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug for the rest of the time. We're trying to keep things as normal as possible for them, and staying with Grandparents from time to time is a normal thing for them.
Jenn's been in the process of sorting through and organizing everything from the packing lists she's found from this source and that. Some families, we've come to learn, took everything including the kitchen sink. Others have packed amazingly light. I think we'll fall somewhere toward the "light" end of the spectrum.
More and more on my mind lately has been the thought of taking an 18-month old child away from everything he knows as normal. I've thought about what it would be like for Lydia to be plucked from our home and taken to another home. Even with it being another home that would love her and take good care of her, she'd still have a really rough time. So our prayers from Henry over the past number of weeks have been for the LORD to prepare his little mind and ease the transition from his normal to Jenn and me initially, and then to our home upon our return.
Lydia has been sick again lately. Snotty nose kind of stuff. On Tuesday evening she was up every hour on the bottom of the hour, and that made for tough sleeping for everyone... except Lincoln, who sleeps like a giant log in the woods.
Lincoln spent the day with Grandpa Doug at Leesville Lake yesterday. They left for breakfast at 8:00am and returned at 8:00pm with Grandpa carrying him up the stairs and setting him in his bed. Then Jenn changed his clothes without his help (this is very unusual), sent him off to go potty, and then he rolled over, said, "I love you, Mommy," and fell asleep. Without stories. That's a tired kid. So we'd like to make this a weekly thing.
We'll see how the next number of days unfold, and hopefully I can get some photos up.