Friday morning we went to the botanical gardens around 9:30. After hanging out for about 2 hours, we came back to the hotel and frantically packed our bags while Ellie took a nap. The hotel bell boys picked up our bags at 2:15, and we left for the train station at 3:00. Our train was scheduled to leave for Hong Kong at 5:30, and one of our guides, Miko, met us at the train station at 4:45 with Ellie's visa.
After a pleasant two-hour train ride, we arrived in Hong Kong. Then, after a 20 minute hike through the train station and the local mall with all of our luggage, we made it to our hotel room, in which we would stay about 7 hours.
That night, Ellie slept 45 minutes.
Then, we caught a cab to the airport at 5:00 am Saturday morning leading to a 4 hours flight to Tokyo.
During that flight, Ellie slept for 45 minutes.
Then, after a 2 hour layover in Tokyo, we boarded our plane and our 12 hour adventure to Atlanta began.
During that flight, Ellie took 3 naps: 45 minutes, 45 minutes, and 90 minutes. (If you are keeping up, that still leaves 9 hours of flight time.)
Finally, we arrived in the Atlanta airport and were greeted by our sweet friends the Turners! Then, after a two hour drive back to Columbus, we picked up Kate at a lovely "Welcome Home" party with granparents, cousins, and an aunt and uncle, and made our way to 7952 Nature Trail. Home, sweet, home!
The Botanical Gardens.
Our guide, Miko!
That's me, standing in the men's restroom. Allison is outside looking in, taking the picture. There is apparently no shame in China . . .
Ellie made a friend!
Ellie and her friend Kara.
Leavin' on a fast train . . .
View from the train.
Hotel room in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong night life.
Home at last!
Our sweet friends, the Turners, welcoming us at the Atlanta airport!
Ellie's first carseat ride!
"Welcome Home" party!
When we got home, we found that friends from church had decorated!
And stocked our pantry!
And our refridgerator!
Some final thoughts by allison:
1) Adoption is an amazing thing. We are so very thankful that God is leading us on this journey and we are so thankful that God has added Ellie to our family! It is also very hard and scary. I remember a sweet, well-meaning friend commenting a few weeks before we traveled, “Well, it’s great that your baby is already one and you won’t have to deal with the sleepless nights!” I remember thinking at the time, but that makes me so sad! I don’t want to miss any of my baby’s moments, and I hate that she didn’t have me there during those times! Now, 4 days home, I’m thinking, “BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! HAHAHA!!!” It’s 3:57 AM as I write this. Until yesterday, Kris and I had gone 4 days with less than 2 hours sleep total. There was never a night when I got less sleep when Kate was tiny than over the last few weeks!
2) My husband is a rockstar!!! I mean the rockstar of all rockstars!!! I love him more than I could have ever dreamed was possible when I married him. He is the rock of our family.
3) You may have noticed that during our time in China, our mention of God was blatantly absent in both our blog and Facebook posts. Well, that was because we were in a communist country (primarily Muslim where we were the first week) and everything posted on the internet is monitored. This was not a missionary trip, although I would argue that for a Christian, every day is a mission. This trip was about God sending us to get our baby and bring her safely home. He has been so faithful in that. I truly hope you were able to read between the lines, though. God has done incredible things in our family, in our marriage, and He has taught us things about ourselves and each other that we didn’t necessarily want to know and humbled us immensely, and we are so thankful. Nothing feels better than being honest before God…..He already knows it all anyway! We had some rough and scary times in China, and I’m so thankful for a sweet Father that we are able to lean into. We are so incredibly thankful for your prayers during that time and your continued prayers now! Those of you who have been praying for us are a significant part of this adoption and part of Ellie’s story. God has been in the threadwork of this adoption from the beginning and He showed Himself in huge ways in China. All glory to Him!!