The good news keeps coming. It’s only been a few days since the post-TA machinery lurched into gear, and we’ve already received definitive confirmation for our Consulate Appointment.
Even better, we have confirmed that Ryan will officially be joining Team Lockhead on Monday May 18. (Due to the time difference, this will appear to be happening (in the USA) on Sunday Evening, May 17th.) This is the news we’ve been waiting nearly a year to hear.
The excitement will continue to build over the next few weeks as we count down to our departure. Now that some of the key milestones are set, we’re starting to build out the remainder of the days in our journey. After careful consideration, we’ve pretty much settled on a route that takes us to Beijing (from PHL, via Detroit) first, then onto Guangzhou where the majority of our time will be spent. Beijing will consist mainly of sightseeing and acclimation to the time difference – which can be tough on everyone. Our Guangzhou / Dongguan days will be a combination of business and pleasure, since this is in Ryan’s city and home province (Guangdong).
We are trying to arrange a visit to Ryan’s CWI, where we’ll have an opportunity to see how he’s been living, meet some of his caretakers, and perhaps let him again see (and say goodbye to) some of his friends. We’re looking forward to this since we didn’t have that opportunity on any of our previous trips. (I’m sure it will be a very exciting and emotional day, especially when it come time to depart…)
Lisa and I are really looking forward to spending some important time as our new enlarged family in Guangzhou. For our downtime, we’ll need to decide among the many different activities that we could plan. If all goes well, which we fully expect, we may even get a chance to see the inside of the Garden Hotel! Unfortunately for the majority of our last trip, we (Lisa, Aunt Rita and I) were tag-teaming between the Hospital and the hotel, to be with Ashley. Kyle and Dylan did tremendously well, and were real troopers during that trip, given the circumstances and the way the entire journey went sideways. As I think back, it’s times like that where families are forged. Even at their young age, seeing Ashley in need, with their having coming from roughly similar situations…I think that they got what was happening and understood that even though things seemed upside down, they (and we all) would still be OK.
The kids are looking forward to helping to pick out the Guangzhou activities this time around – making sure that we get the most out of our “downtime”. We will be sure to fill in the blanks for you once we’ve made some final decisions.
Once all of the official business has been completed in Guangzhou/Dongguan, we’ll be “released” and then we’ll essentially be on our own. Our agency will step out of their active role, and it will be up to us to make our way home. On the way, we plan to travel north to Shanghai for a few more family days. On our trip to bring Dylan home, Lisa, Kyle and I spent a couple of enjoyable days in Shanghai. Unfortunately, The Bund was under construction and was completely inaccessible. We’re looking forward to seeing the city without all of the disruption.
Again, there are tons of great sights to see and things to do, so we’ve starting sorting through our options (and balancing these against our budget!!). Finally, from Shanghai, we’ll travel back through Detroit, then onto Philadelphia. We expect a smooth immigration process in Detroit for Ryan as he will already be a US citizen as soon as his size 11’s hit the ground.
We will try to flesh out the details as much as we can over the next few weeks (e.g. our Beijing stay, and our Shanghai days). These last days and weeks before departure are excruciatingly slow, but tremendously exciting. Our nightly family dinners will surely be filled with lively exchanges of what to do and why as our three little ones become more engaged in the trip, and more days in the journey are penciled in. That’s one of the things I am looking forward to!
Until next time (when I hope to post another couple of stories with even more wonderful twists and turns – that might turn out to have lifelong impacts for Ryan)…
T-Minus 43 Days to Wheels-Up
T-Minus 48 Days to Ryan
Thanks for riding along…talk to you soon…