We’re on our way!

Well, not today. But VERY SOON! We have our travel approval, paperwork compiled and plane and hotels booked.

We’re going to China!!!

We're going HERE!!!!!
We’re going HERE!!!!!

After almost a year of talking about this trip, it is finally here! Our adoption journey started in late April of last year with lots and lots of paperwork. Soon after we began the process, we were approved for a little boy just four and a half years old, living in a foster home in Beijing. He was perfect and exactly who we thought he would be. But first, more paperwork. And… more paperwork.

By November we were given approval to contact him. We sent our boy a care package in time for his December birthday and Christmas. It was exciting to see pictures of him with a few gifts and a photo album that we sent him. The album contained pictures of his brothers, our home, and us (his new parents). I would look at the photo of him holding the picture album and wonder what he was thinking. Was he excited? Was he scared? Does he want to come to America? Is he happy where he is at? I would love to know what he felt when he opened our package and knew for the first time that he had a family of his own waiting for him on the other side of the world.

Since that moment we have been moving along steadily with only one minor setback along the way. Our paperwork has been moving through different US and Chinese channels until finally…finally in early February we were granted Travel Approval!

And there was much rejoicing.

Until reality set in and we realized we had SO much to do before we leave!

My husband and I made the decision early on that he would stay home and keep the house running so that he could take time off work once we arrived home. It made perfect sense, but, I wanted/needed a side-kick (or two). It was determined that I would bring along our two oldest boys, Calvin (17) and Grant (15). If I’m going to bring my children with me they need to not be whiny, not be picky eaters and not need me to parent them. They need to pull their own weight and maybe some of mine too. These two definitely fit the bill. My husband calls them my body guards. Since I am not in this picture I want you to picture me standing in between these two, noting our height difference because I barely make it up to their chins.

I think we will be a sight to the locals.

Don't worry, their hair will be mostly grown in before we leave.
Don’t worry, their hair will be mostly grown in from swim team before we leave.

We have three parts to our China trip. First, we will fly to Beijing on St. Patrick’s Day and spend a few days there sight-seeing. And, most exciting, while we are there we will visit our child’s foster home and his school. We will meet his teachers and friends, his foster family and the rest of the staff that have been taking such good care of him. This will give us a chance to meet him in a place he is comfortable and have the opportunity to learn all we can about his likes, dislikes and as much of his past as we can soak up.

Second, we travel to the capital city of Inner Mongolia to officially take custody of our son. Yes, even though he has been living in Beijing, we all travel back to the capital city of his home province to meet there. This part of the trip entails us signing some papers in the capital city and then hanging out in Inner Mongolia for the week. Honestly, I am trying to imagine what we will do with ourselves for that length of time with a five year old that we barely know who doesn’t speak English but… we will figure it out. I hear there is a park nearby and even a Pizza Hut. This is where my years of being a parent will kick in and the older brothers can pull their weight getting to know him.

Third, at the end of the week we travel to Guangzhou. This is where the American Consulate is located and is the final destination for all American families who adopt from China. Here, he has a doctor’s appointment among a few other official appointments. There will be some down-time there as well. If we are having a good week I’d like to see a panda. That is all. And, maybe do a little bit of shopping.

All in all, we will be away from home sixteen days. I will miss my husband and younger boys terribly. I will also miss my own bed. I am not a worldly traveler. I’m a bit of a Hobbit, honestly. I get a bit anxious when I travel out of state let alone a different country. I am praying that we will stay healthy and will not go insane on the plane ride home.

Many of the emotions I am feeling are similar to how I felt when I was expecting each of my kids. Right now I am feeling all of them. It is exciting and wonderful and joyful. It is also terrifying and anxiety-provoking and kind of crazy. Yes, I feel exactly like I did while expecting my other boys.

With only weeks left I have much to do.

Like scrub some toilets.

 

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Julie Jensen is a mom of five boys and one girl. She is a runner, biker, yoga instructor and socializer. That about sums it up. Believe it or not, she really does enjoy the soccer, cross country, swim team, track, dance classes, basketball, and theater her kids are involved in as long as she has another mom (or dad) to talk to during these events. Julie works part time at Fleet Feet Sports where she gets to talk to other (adult) runners and is also a yoga instructor and owner of Red Ox Yoga - https://redoxyoga.com/ You can follow her on Instagram at @out_numbered_mama6

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