We had a great Christmas Eve with our church family. The dear people at our church really do feel like family to us. After the services we opened presents and prepared for our early morning trip to Brandon's family. Christmas Day (Tuesday) started very early. We were packed and on the road for our "long car ride" to Grandma Judy and Grandpa Tom's house. After a full afternoon of celebrating we came home and crashed.
The day after Christmas finally arrived. Our agency would be open, we would have a chance to hear about our TA! I was a ball of nerves from the moment I woke up. We were out at Brandon's uncle's farm so we tested the phone to make sure it would work... it did.
The day drug on.
We checked to make sure we were not missing calls all day long and NOTHING happened.
I took M home to Brandon's parent's house to nap and checked my email. Maybe I would hear something... maybe other families from my agency would hear something... Nothing! Then suddenly the internet connection was gone. I was in full freak out mode now. I wanted that TA so badly. Brandon's dad actually called AT&T and got things up and going again. Double Whew. I emailed my case manager and told her that I was unable to eat due to nerves and if she was able to send me a note after the deliveries came (even if there was none for us) I would really like it.
At 5:02 pm I received this email.
The window of time has passed when we would usually receive a packet from Ch*na.
Panic set in. I thought, if we don't get TA tomorrow we won't hear about CA until next Wednesday because the consulate is closed during New Year's.
I was crushed. I was hungry. I ate. I wallowed. I prayed. I felt peace about things. I ate some more.
Brandon called! He was still at the farm and L called him. I didn't believe him! DHL to the rescue. Our TA had arrived after all. What a amazing and delightful surprise. Our hearts were filled with joy! Ch*na said yes! We are allowed to travel to get T!!!!! Brandon told L our choices for CA and we prayed we would get our first choice.
Now all we needed to book tickets were two more beautiful letter, C and A. At the end of a Ch*na trip families must go to the US consulate for a Consulate Appointment (CA) so their children can get visa's to come into the US. I know I mentioned in a previous post that it takes about 1-3 days to hear about your CA. I also mentioned that we were really really really praying to get a Monday CA so we could get home to M more quickly.
One more step before tickets... WOW!!!
We decided to take advantage of the joy we felt and continue celebrating by going to Les Miserables. Something we were very looking forward to seeing. It was incredible, but really more of another whole post so that is all I will say about that for now.
The next morning I woke up to see many families who got TA's already knew their CA. I was on pins and needles. I called our agency as my case manager had the day off. About 30 minutes later we received a call from our agency that we did get CA and we got our first choice... Monday, January 28th!!!! This means we will unite as a family of four in the US on January 30th!!!
Oh boy friends. We were on cloud nine. Brandon's family was expecting lots of company any minute and I frantically emailed 5 travel agencies to get quotes. We had a great day with family, but my mind never wandered far from the ticket booking task that would soon be ours.
The night I poured over itinerary options for hours. Nothing seemed good. Either the layovers were super long or way too short. We prayed and slept and I almost dreaded going to the computer the next morning.
The next day, in the middle of dental appointments, I managed to talk back and forth with our travel agent and with our case manager. I am very happy to announce that we have booked our tickets! Yahoo!!! We opted for the tiny layover option. While I will be writing a prayer request post closer to travel, I want to ask those of you who pray for us to begin praying now that we will make our connections in Hong Kong and Chicago.
We leave for Ch*na in less than 3 weeks!!!! I have a lot of photo blogging and other posts to catch up on writing so check back often.