"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." - Isaiah 43:5
What an incredible day! Alaina’s morning started at 3:30 local time, giving her plenty of time to read your emails. Thanks for all the kind words! Dan woke up a bit later, and we both enjoyed a Western style breakfast buffet at the hotel. Then we were off to the airport! That was an experience in and of itself. With some effort and many language barriers, we found our way to the gate, to find it had changed. They were already boarding the plane, even calling “last call”, but nobody was moving. Finally, they let us through to the ramp, only to take us down on the tarmac and load us on a shuttle bus. We drove around for about 5 minutes before being taken to our plane. By this point, we were definitely looking forward to meeting Leila, our guide from All God’s Children, and get some help navigating our way.
We were a bit disappointed to find that our seats were not together for the flight. Our breakfast choices were “Chinese” or “Western”. While Alaina sat contemplating her “green eggs and ham” (and eventually settling on the croissant with strawberry jam), Dan found himself sitting next to a nice young Chinese woman who recognized him. It turns out that of all the flights and all the people in China, Dan was sitting next to Leila herself!
On the drive to the hotel, Leila surprised us by handing us a copy of Dayna’s “finding ad” from the Fuzhou newspaper. This is significant to us as we have a better picture of Dayna’s beginnings. We also received three pages of detailed answers to questions we never would have thought to ask. After about an hour’s drive, we arrived at the Golden Resources International Hotel. We thought last night’s hotel was a treat…the lobby of this place is magnificent! It turns out that today is a “lucky” day to get married, according to the lunar calendar; we later saw about a dozen beautiful brides and their wedding parties all having pictures taken in the lobby.
Our room was not quite ready when we arrived, so we sat with Leila in her room for about 30 minutes. She served us each a cup of jasmine tea, famous in Fuzhou. When we returned to our room, to our surprise and delight, they had already set up a crib for Dayna. With tears in our eyes, we went over to the lace-draped (read mosquito net, but very beautiful) cradle. Inside was a pink quilt with a ladybug embroidered on it! We stopped to rest on the VERY HARD bed (even camping with our thin inflatable camp pads is softer), but slept for most of the afternoon.
After waking, we called Leila and went to dinner together. She suggested we begin with McDonald’s, since our stomachs aren’t quite ready for authentic Chinese food yet. (Don’t worry, she promised she’d keep Alaina from pork products!) After dinner, we walked around a bit and found a grocery store to stock up on bottled water and other treats. While the American’s discontinued the very tasty Vanilla Coke and replaced it with cough syrup (sorry, Alison), Alaina was delighted to find that China has just recently started carrying it. Unfortunately, Dan has yet to find Dr Pepper, either in its original or imitation form. We also found some tasty Cadbury bars.
Tomorrow we’ll be parents! At 3:30 local time, we will be at the Civil Affairs Office and hold our daughter for the first time! We’re sure she’ll be much heavier than the photo albums we’ve been toting for five months, but so much more rewarding! Please continue to pray for all of us; we know that our lives are going to change, but Dayna won’t see it coming. We’re sure she’ll be going through a lot of confusion for several days, and we’re prepared for a lot of crying and tears (we’ll probably shed a few of our own). Your prayers mean the world to us.
Finally, a few observations about China: traffic signals are just a suggestion, as are “fasten seat belts” signs on an airplane; if you need to cross the street, stand VERY close to Leila; and it is possible for McDonald’s to be tasty.
Soon we’ll be off to bed (a big “thank you” to housekeeping who just brought in a foam pad to put on top of the bed, along with some extra pillows), and probably not getting much sleep. But when we wake up, it will be THE BIG DAY!!!!
|Fountain in the hotel lobby|
|Chandelier in the hotel lobby|