Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Travel 2 weeks from today!

Here's a map I sketched up to show you where we will be traveling. In two weeks from right now we will be coming up on Alaska en route to Tokyo!

I just learned you can double-click on any of these images or photos to see a larger version. That is pretty neat!

Also, if you like, you can add your comments -- just click on "add comment" at the bottom of each post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Go for launch"

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a very helpful CSR at Northwest Airlines' Adoption Bureau at lunchtime today, and several thousand dollars later, have secured our tickets to and from China!

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to our NWA Gift Registry. It was definitely helpful! We are one of the very first families to use the Registry for adoption-related travel.

All our other travel arrangements are being made by our friends at Children's Home Society. We don't have to worry about any arrangements in-country. (oh, we'll be *paying* for the arrangements - we just don't have to *make* them...)

Prices for airfare and hotel are much better when purchased within China -- websites outside the country can routinely charge up to 4x more than what you'd pay at a local ticket counter.

As an airline enthusiast, I can't wait to start taking pictures, gathering timetables and marketing goodies, and checking off airports and aircraft types I've never been in before!

(I took this photo last summer - this is NWA Flight #19 leaving MSP ... the very departure we will be traveling on!)

Monday, May 21, 2007

We have a date!

The moment we've been waiting for! Here is the timetable:

* Fly from Minneapolis to Beijing June 12 or 13
* Fly from Beijing to Nanning Sunday, June 17 (Fathers' Day!)
* Wynn is placed with us Monday, June 18
* Fly from Nanning to Guangzhou Saturday, June 23
* Consular appointment - Wynn becomes an American citizen Tuesday, June 26
* Fly from Guangzhou to Minneapolis Thursday, June 28

Works out perfectly with the end of the school year. Ann doesn't need to take any time off.

Now the final push begins - figure out the bills, finish installing the safety locks & gate, stop the mail & newspaper, arrange the cash we'll need to take with us, pack up, etc.

Resume the countdown - in just four weeks from today we will be united with our girl!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Got our visas!

Our passports came back from the Chinese consulate in Chicago last night - I picked them up at lunch today. We can now legally get into China!

All that's left is for us to get our Travel Authorization / Consular Appointment. Then we can go bring our daughter home!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers' Day!

Very, very soon...

A Funny Omen

In the Chinese zodiac, Wynn is a Rooster. So is her baba!

As is this fellow whom we came across on our regular hike at the nature center a few days ago...

... we may have plenty of wild turkeys here in White Bear, but I assure you we do not have flocks of wild chickens.

Monday, May 7, 2007

T minus 29 Days and Holding

The best way I can describe this period is like when we used to pay attention to Space Shuttle launches ... NASA would build in hold time during the countdowns. We wouldn't know how long the hold would take -- sometimes just a few minutes, sometimes days. Frustrating when you were a kid ... especially the hold at T-29 seconds.

Well, here we are at (maybe) 29 days to go. Doing our best not to pace around the room or stare out the window and sigh. So we are trying to keep busy:

- Dropped our tourist visa applications off Saturday. We should have them back by Friday next week. (That's a big step.)
- Taking a good 35-45 minute hike every other day at the nature preserve nearby. I've been wearing a backpack and gradually increasing the load to simulate carrying a toddler on my back!
- Sorting through the paperwork to get everything we need to take with us in order.
- Cleaning the house
- Working on the gardens
- Listening to our ChinesePod lessons (in fact falling asleep with our iPods...)
- Writing up shopping lists...

and pacing around.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Care Package

We've been given the "go" to send a package to Wynn's orphanage... a moment we've been dreaming of.

The package can't be too big - shoebox size or smaller, because postal delivery vehicles are often bicycles. Also, too large of a package would catch the eye of Customs, and any hassle with the package means the orphanage simply won't get it.

We are sending:
* a small album of 28 - 4x6 photos. Our folks, our dog, us, her, the house, neighborhood, and the Cities. I looked up translations for each of the photo subjects and downloaded the Chinese characters to print out captions.
* a disposable camera for the orphanage folks / foster family to take pictures of Wynn and her environment.
* a little puppy plush / squeaky rattle
* a small soft blanket that we've been cuddling with as we sleep for the past month
* and a questionnaire that our adoption agency has put together to help the orphanage / foster family document what Wynn's daily routines, likes & dislikes, experiences and such. The answers to these questions, and the photos they will take, will help us transition her to life here in Minnesota and give her a better sense of her life story as she grows up. What they tell us will likely be all we will know about her as a baby.

Ann described this quite well as "first contact." The package goes in the mail tomorrow, and in a week or so, our little girl will be looking at pictures of her mama and baba for the first time.