An eternity later, all those small steps were completed, and we were FINALLY given Travel Approval to travel to China. (And by eternity, I really mean a measly 8 weeks. In the adoption world, that's a pretty great timeframe for receiving Travel Approval.)
In the midst of all that, we squeezed in much time as possible with our 3 little blondies., 2 HUGE adoption fundraisers, life-events and general mayhem. Then, we started packing.. and re-packing. Printing this checklist and that. Prepping all those 5million important documents to travel halfway 'round the world with you.
Before we knew it, it was 10:30p.m. on May 2nd and one of our dear friends was at our home to take us to the airport. I can't say enough about the village of people that have come alongside us, served us, and encouraged us in the last 3+ years of our adoption process. We are humbled and grateful for the countless ways people have shown so much love to us!
Upon arriving at the airport, we made our way to the check-in counter. The marvelous thing about flying in the middle of the night is the airport is nearly a ghost-town. So, everything moves much quicker! Nearly no-line at check-in and security took less than 15 minutes! But in true Brantner adoption process fashion, we had a slight snag at the check-in counter. We don't know exactly what happened when the agent scanned Matt's passport, but within a matter of seconds he was off speaking to a supervisor about it. For a split second, I worried I might have to make the trek to and from China by myself. A few minutes later, the agent reappeared, slapped the tags on our suitcase and sent us on our way. Phew!
We breathed a sigh of relief and made our way to the gate. Every which way we looked were beautiful dark haired people with beautiful almond-shaped eyes. And so many precious babies! I made it my personal mission to be the weird lady that stared at all said babies with a huge grin slapped on my face. The anticipation and reality of being so close to getting our Benjamin was palpable.
Aside from being squished in a tiny space for 15 hours, our flight was pretty great! The flight attendants were so attentive, our co-passengers rocked, and I caught up on a few movies that I've been wanting to see.
A little sore and tired from being confined for almost a day, we made our way through the Beijing airport. Excitement built as we waited patiently for our luggage to come through the carousel. We were able to rescue one piece from the round-a-bout. But the second suitcase never appeared. We spoke with the airline representatives and we're praying to have the suitcase delivered before we leave for Benjamin's province.
We're excited to spend a few days in Beijing soaking in the culture, learning some of the country's rich history and hopefully, recovering from jet lag. On Sunday, we fly to Benjamin's province where we'll get him (on Monday), have a court appointment and receive his passport!