Hudson has a family!

I fell asleep last night, phone in hand, with full intentions to wait up for the moment pictures were posted of Hudson (aka Apu) meeting his parents. Our household has been a flurry of back to school madness and today was our first day! It was Hannah’s first day of kindergarten and Eli’s first day of second day. So emotions were already high! Thanks to the kindness of my beloved Obie Nugget (who must always take his longest jaunt outside during middle of the night hours), I did wake up a little after midnight and saw that sweet boy in the arms of his mama and baba. I gave Eli the same bleary eyed wake-up call a few hours later. He held the phone as close as he could, studying his worlds colliding-our friends, Meghan and Chuck, holding Apu-now Hudson- in the same room we met Eli a little over a year ago.

As we got ready for the first day of school, Eli chattered about his wish to play baseball with Hudson, eat sushi together, and show him his room (the essentials in life). We walked our friend Kayleigh out to the bus and my phone lit up with a Facetime attempt. When the line connected, it was pure magic. Eli and Hudson stared at each other waving and I could hear Hudson repeating Eli’s Chinese name Dang Qien, Dang Qien, Dang Qien! Over and over. Eli waved saying, “Apu Apu!!!! Wo Ai Ni! (I love you)”


There are so many mornings that I wake up and read about something horrible that has happened in this world. These stories stick with me-so much so that I often feel compelled to later torture Adam with them after we’ve endured our own hard enough days out in this world.

Today was the complete and polar opposite. For all the times you wonder, HOW could this happen?! today’s events are no less momentous. All of the details that fell into place for today to come true are truly a miracle:

Even though Hudson is 5, his file was only created three months before we brought Eli home. Without a file, we’d have had no way to find the little boy Eli missed so much.

Even that missing is incredible. Eli didn’t only grieve the loss of Apu in HIS life but he wanted him to experience what he had….a family. Each and every day, we are still working to catch up on things that weren’t taught/weren’t learned from Eli’s years of waiting. The connection and consistency that Eli expresses when he talks about Apu has given me hope that those seeds are there…we just need to keep watering them with love.

When Becky (here’s her blog)-another adoptive mama I’m so thankful to have as a mentor-helped me find Apu’s file, I dreamed of a day I could tell Eli that someone adopted his friend. When Meghan told me that she and Chuck were taking the plunge, we dreamed bigger. Eli and Hudson could be together again-to laugh, to play, and to grow up-each with their own families and soft places to fall during hard times.

The details that make any adoption a reality-especially at a relatively fast pace-are also no small feat.

I believe that where there is great love there are miracles. Today is one of those miracle days and I’m so thankful and so honored that I get to live it.


Happy 8th Birthday Eli!

It’s F-I-N-A-L-L-Y here! Eli’s birthday is tomorrow and it’s a day he’s been waiting for, counting down to, and asking about almost daily since his very first few weeks home. And now-it’s here!

Birthdays in the adoption community are yet another reminder of what most of us take for granted. Not just the cake, the presents, or the parties……but even the very day itself. Eli’s birth date is an estimation. All children who are found are given an estimated age. To simplify records, everyone is assigned a birthday on the 1st of the month.

In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself wondering:

“Was today the day Eli was really born 8 years ago?”

“Was it even 8 years?”

I’ve wondered about what it must have been like for his mother-whether she realized right away that Eli had a disability or whether she realized only months later. I’ve wondered if her heart is heavy as the snow melts and spring blooms. If I could, I would show her this video. I didn’t make it for her….I made it for Eli-who has watched Hannah’s birthday video so many times that he’s memorized it. I’d want his birth mother to see how much he’s grown, how much he’s learned, and most of all….how happy he is.

Happy Birthday, Eli! You are so very, very loved!


Sharing a past, sharing a future: Apu’s next chapter

Twenty-five Sundays ago, I shared a story about the other little boy at our table.


Tonight-I share the beautiful next chapter for this little boy!

When I shared our family’s wish that Apu would be adopted, the best outcome I’d imagined was learning that Apu had been adopted. I didn’t know if I’d ever even find out the identity of his family. I didn’t know we’d be able to give Eli any details about Apu’s life since they last said goodbye. I simply hoped that I could tell Eli that because he carried such a big and heavy love for his friend across an ocean into a whole new world that his friend, too, would have a chance at everything Eli worried he was missing. I’m so proud of my sweet boy. While there are so, so many ways that Eli is completely different than those first few days and weeks, his sensitive, loving, and thoughtful personality has remained the same.

The reality of the next chapter is even better than we could have dreamed!  Meghan, a co-worker and now a friend, started the process to adopt Apu (soon-to-be Hudson) a few months ago. They now await their Letter of Approval and hope to travel to China to bring home Apu AND his little brother some time this summer/early fall. One of my all-time favorite parts of the adoption journey has been watching the relationship between Hannah and Eli bloom. Hannah’s been an incredible teacher, protector, playmate, and friend. Eli is patient with her 4-year-old moments and he lives for weekends when they can camp out together. I’m so happy that Apu will also have sibling and I can’t wait to see these four together.

Our family has felt so thankful at each and every step in our journey. From the professionals that helped us navigate the adoption process as two parents with disabilities to the countless people who prayed, donated, and supported Eli’s journey home. Our gratitude now encircles two amazing parents who not only will welcome home two boys but who will also give our son a precious connection to his past. We have no other concrete knowledge of Eli’s past. I’ve spent nights wishing for a note, something left behind with him, or even a “real” birth date. This gift of a connection is so much more powerful. Apu and Eli share a past and can now share a future. 

To celebrate this incredible story, our friend Eric Smith made a video (that we’ve watched no less than 50 times!):

To follow Meghan and Chuck’s journey to Hudson (Apu) and his little brother Chase, visit their blog:

There are several options to support Meghan and Chuck and a new one that we’ll be announcing soon! Stay tuned!




The other little boy at our table

Today is Orphan Sunday.

Full Plate Mom wrote a nice post on the love-hate relationship, I too, feel when I hear this word.

Eli has been home for three months. He’s a brave, funny, and smart little boy who is adjusting so well to his new world. There’s so much to update on Eli: his love for puzzles, his hard work to learn the alphabet, our concerns as we receive more medical results, and his first Halloween ever!
Today though, I want to share about another little boy who it often feels like is with us-especially at the table.
Eli doesn’t often feel like talking about China. We’ve tried to take his lead when he’d like to talk and when he’d rather not. He seems most reflective and talkative about China when we eat together and there’s one person who has never left his heart….and now will never leave mine.

Apu is 4 years old. He was Eli’s best friend in the orphanage. They shared a bed. Eli took care of him. Eli has shown me several times how he said goodbye to Apu on their last day together. He left Apu his bag of suckers we’d mailed him. Eli looks at his pictures several times a week and smiles as he touches Apu’s picture. Eli sometimes becomes sad as he connects the opportunities he’s enjoying and Apu is not. He suddenly became tearful a few weeks ago as he colored. I asked him what was wrong and he answered, “Eli color. Apu not color….no mama, no baba, no color.”
Eli sometimes seems to feel guilty as he’s said, “Eli mama, Eli baba (Daddy), Eli mei mei (sister)….Apu no mama, no baba, no mei mei.”

Hannah, too, is touched by Eli’s worry for Apu. As we ate last week, she said, “I think we should find a mommy and daddy for Apu.” So with that-we’re on a mission! This little boy-like so many others-needs a family.
Apu is on the “Shared” list, which means his family could work with any agency they choose. It also means he’s waited for a long time. Apu’s diagnosis is listed as cerebral palsy. While I don’t have access to a full medical report, video and pictures indicate a very mild case of CP. Interested families could access Apu’s file right away to learn more. As we still work to help Eli adjust, we know we are not Apu’s family. Eli has actually clarified this! He very much wants Apu to have a family-but not his;) While we know that we are not Apu’s family, we would love to help anyone who steps out to bring him home. We learned a great deal from writing grant applications and could also help plan fundraisers. Apu is the closest connection that Eli will ever have to his past and it’s my hope that we could somehow keep these two, sweet boys connected.

If you’d like more information about Apu, please contact me at


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Apu is right behind Eli in this picture.


Coming to the surface

2014-08-10 15.36.21We’ve been home for 12 days and I still have moments when I look at Eli and can’t believe he is really here. Since coming home, we’ve been immersed in our own version of cocooning. Much of the literature around adoption and attachment suggests a period of cocooning. During this time, families try to avoid overstimulation, limit visitors and outings, and most importantly-spend time together focusing on meeting the needs of the new child and in our case, the new-to-sisterhood child. Besides posting some too cute for words pictures and keeping Hannah’s schedule mostly intact, we’ve unplugged from much of our usual worlds. We have enjoyed visits and visiting a few close family members and friends. Eli and Hannah love the park and we’ve made a consistent effort to embrace our moments of peace and harmony.


We’ve learned a great deal about Eli in just a few weeks. From the medical (today was his first orthopedic appointment) to the hard to hear (as interpreters offer brief glimpses of his past through his eyes). I find myself so eager to overcome our language differences and when we have the gift of easier communication through an interpreter, we hang on Eli’s every word.

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There have been so many firsts that they are hard to summarize. Tonight, he met his new teacher and visited his new school. It was an incredible feeling watching him walk ahead of me (wearing the gigantic backpack he insisted he wear tonight) and knowing that he can now-FINALLY pursue what every child deserves-an education.

Many of our firsts are less momentous than the start of school but equally meaningful in our lives. When we met Eli, he seemed oblivious to the idea of making his own choices. As two crazy parents that offered Hannah choices long before she could talk, we were taken aback. How do you teach someone to make a choice? to know what they prefer? There are so many aspects of parenting an older adopted child that are so vastly different than what our approach might be with Hannah. It’s a challenge to make these two parenting worlds meet in the middle and more often than not-we’re all learning as we go. As we’ve done dozens of times since we met Eli, Adam offered him a choice of shirts as they laid out clothes for tomorrow. Without hesitation, Eli touched the shirt he wanted….and with that, a choice was made! We are so fortunate to see the world through completely new eyes. While the going is sometimes rough right now-whether it be learning to share as a new sister or learning to navigate this completely confusing new world for Eli, we are taking it one day at a time and ending each day with how thankful we are to be together.underwater


As a swimmer, I’ve always loved the way light dances on water-especially from beneath the surface. I can see the end of our cocooning as school starts in just a couple of days. We spent much of last week arranging Eli’s placement and school accommodations. He’ll be in first grade! Next week, we’ll both start back to work and eventually, we’ll start adding an activity or two that Eli might like to explore to our schedules. I’m grateful for our time in this immersion of family life. From above the surface, I’m sure it might seem like a vacation. While there have been plenty of laughs and some amazing time spent together, like swimming under the surface… is hard work. It is soul-wrenching, heart-growing, hard work. All of us-me, Adam, Eli, and even Hannah-have gone to bed each night exhausted. It is easy to love but such hard work to chip away at a past while creating a new future. I am looking forward to coming to the surface-rejoining our co-workers, friends, more family, and other supporters in the community. If you see me out and I look a little water logged though, you know why:)


Thank-you! It’s official….

We are coming home!

Our guide got the call and raced to the visa office grabbing Eli’s visa. He made it 3 minutes before they closed for their 3 hour break!

Thank-you so much for your sweet messages, donations, help with our hotel, and general pick-me-ups. Even before the good news, I felt surrounded by love as we woke up this morning.

It’s been a whirlwind canceling, rearranging, and negotiating but people-from friends to big business-have been so compassionate. I’ll never know the reason for our rather large speed bump but I have learned that I was wrong about my promise to leave my advocacy cape at home! It turns out it was needed afterall! While part of me has felt very frustrated with our US government, I have also gained a new and very personal appreciation for the hard work the people behind our federal government, their staff, and our Congress do for American citizens who need their help. We’ve also seen how much generosity exists in our community. We are so blessed. Please know your hard work, prayers, and effort to bring attention to our case has made all the difference.

Our guide told Eli he’s going home to America! I tried to catch the moment but Eli looked so somber….I then realized that our guide was scolding him for jumping on an elevator before us, slamming the door, and inciting a hotel-wide (18 floors!) search! He’s definitely kept us on our toes as we’ve worked through all of this. After we got all that behind us and Eli was delivered the GOOD news, he delivered his trademark hands in the air, “oh yeah oh yeah!!!!”

Checkout is arranged for 5:30am our time tomorrow (we are 12 hrs ahead of the US). If all goes well and stays on time, we’ll make it home around 5:30pm Friday! Can.not.wait!

Now to celebrate……with a nap! Keeping up with US time in China is exhausting!

Stuck: How you can help

Just about 24 hours ago, the Cincinnati Enquirer published a story on our roller coaster:

At the time, I’d been told the system was again operational. We said goodbye to the families that had been stuck last week and celebrated that with all hoops already cleared, we should be home on time…home to celebrate the reunion we’ve been dreaming of for over a year.

I do still recognize that we are extremely fortunate. We are trying to make the most of a bad situation but I also think it’s important for others-especially government officials who may be able to make a CHANGE-know the impact this “glitch” and the inability to fix it is having on families like mine. A snapshot of my last 12 hours:
-Making the difficult decision of who returns home to our Hannah
-Seeing our family separated for a long, international travel as Adam and Bob took the van to Hong Kong and we stay behind with no future flight booked
-Eli crying as he waved goodbye. Our guide trying to explain….to a 7-year-old who has waited his entire life to have a family….and from the day he met us, has asked every day since when he can meet his sister.
-Spending more than 20 minutes (at international call rates) on the phone with United. Exceptionally grateful they waived our change fees but still facing more than $500 per seat for last-minute flights.
-Working with our hotel to go night-by-night with points. We have enough for tonight and one additional night. After that, it’s more than $200 per night (for one of very few accessible hotels in the area)
-Video calling my 4-year-old to tell her that the “sticker machine” is still broken and Eli and I can’t come home. Comforting her as she cries because she’s been counting down the days and tomorrow was THE day.
-Messaging friends and family that there won’t be the airport homecoming to celebrate we were home as a family.
-Comforting Eli as he went to sleep crying for Baba
-Attempting to sign consent waivers for my Senators and Congressmen and women working on our behalf to find out the problem and FIX it.

I know there are so many important issues in the world right now but I hope government officials know the hardships American families are facing-all for a sticker printed from a system with no manual override. I pray this is fixed tomorrow for us but this should NEVER happen again. It is inexcusable. Our family is full of joy with our new addition but we will never get back what we’ve lost due to what should have been a smooth last step of literally dozens we’ve sailed by to get here.

As of midnight tonight, we have no updates in more than 12 hours. We have cancelled our flights for Donna, me, and Eli. We have no options to rebook because there’s no timeline of when we might get Eli’s visa. When we receive it, we’ll then compete with more than 30 families for very few, extremely expensive last-minute seats home.

I am mad and I am sad but I also feel lifted up by our friends and family. Your prayers and positive vibes cross the ocean and we are so thankful. Your comments, shares, and encouragement have been so helpful to pull us through the last few darker hours. Thank-you!

A few people have asked how they can help. Here are some ideas:

-Contact your Senators and Representatives to express your frustration that the US Visa system remains down. Explain that adoptive families with children with disabilities are stranded and this should be an extremely urgent matter. Our Senators (Portman and Brown) and Representative Wenstrup have been exceptionally helpful and responsive but others need to join their call for this matter to be resolved.

-Continue to help us share our story. Join us for a united social media campaign in an attempt to get other major media outlets to care about this ongoing problem. We’ve used hashtags #StuckinChinaNeedVisa and #fullheartsneedvisa (because who can resist a Friday Night Lights Reference). Tweet major media outlets like @CNN and @NPR to ask them to cover this crisis. If you have any creative ideas to get media attention, we’re up for those too.

-If you would like contribute financially to these immense, unexpected expenses, the most efficient method at this time would be PayPal writekara at Please “gift” the amount so that PayPal doesn’t deduct their fees. Our AdoptTogether nonprofit account is still open but it does take a bit longer to reach us.

-If you or someone you know has extra Marriott Rewards points, donations of 15,000 points per night would help us offset the cost of our room. You would actually have to call Marriott Rewards directly to book it for us so please contact me via email writekara at gmail dot com for details.

-Know that the adoption process can be scary, unpredictable, and frustrating but it has also been one of the most joyful, heart-bursting, rewarding experiences of my life. This has never happened before (last week) and HOPEfully, will attract the attention that is apparently needed to get it remedied for GOOD.

And finally….

-Keep us in your prayers, thoughts, and wishes. We can’t stress enough that THS is the kind of support we most cherish. Thank-you:)

I will post updates as we have them.





We are snuggled into bed listening to Eli’s giggles as he watches Despicable Me 2. He got wish 1 of 3 (his watch) when we went shopping yesterday at Shamian Island. His wish to see his sister should now happen as we’d hoped onThursday evening-just 3 more sleeps! Oh and his other wish (for a gun!) will have to wait a bit!

We are so very thankful that the visa system seems to be back up and running. While I wish we could have spared the families who were delayed the incredible cost and hardship, it has been so nice to meet them. Eli has played with a new friend, Jay, several times since we arrived to this hotel. We’ve loved getting to know Jay, his family, and so many others. So thankful these children are on their ways home and I can’t wait to watch them all grow! This experience is a special one to share and I am thankful for new friends in the process.

And in speaking of shared experiences, our guides have been incredible. I don’t think I could have hand-picked two better people for us. Our first guide, Rosary, was so sweet and knowledgable. She helped us traverse those first days with Eli in the more difficult province for accessibility. I will never forget the way she helped us communicate those early expressions of love and Eli’s returned happiness to join our family. We met John in Guangzhou and he has kept us sane through the fear of being stuck. He’s fun and has taught us so much about the culture here and Eli. In yet another “what are the chances” twist, he actually met Eli a couple years ago! Eli had been brought to a summer event where American adoption agency officials come to meet hundreds of kids. If a child stands out, they are sometimes selected by an “advocate” who works hard to get that child adopted. To our knowledge Eli was never selected….until us obviously!

We’ve also shared this experience with Adam’s parents, Bob and Donna. I could not be more thankful for their help and support from the very beginning of this adventure. This trip has had such intense highs and such difficult lows. They’ve made us laugh through tears, helped traverse the tricky terrain, carried our not-so-light minion who somehow has all the energy in the world to run in the hotel but cannot walk 5 feet outside, and helped us show Eli the love that is family. They’ve been up for anything and we’ve done just that! I hope they feel even a fraction of how grateful we are for their love.

We are also so thankful to all the people at home who have made this dream-our dreams-a reality. From people who donated to help us reach our goal of fully funded to everyone who has shared words of encouragement or our story-we are so thankful. So many friends and family have cheered us on from the start. The disability community has been such a strong source of support. We just learned tonight that Eli will meet three new friends with achondroplasia at the airport. I remember my first time seeing other people who looked like me and I am so excited for all that is ahead for him. We can’t express our gratitude enough to our family who have cared for Hannah while we have been gone. Missing her has been the heaviest weight on our hearts but knowing she is having fun and well-cared for has made it possible to accomplish our mission here-getting Eli home! We are strong believers that “it takes a village” and there’s no way we would be days from bringing our son home without the support of ours and their shared belief that this was possible.

And finally-I am most thankful for my Adam. We’re generally not into giant public, online displays of affection but a piece on my gratitude wouldn’t be complete without him. I can’t imagine sharing this crazy journey with anyone else. Adam makes me feel like there’s nothing I can’t do and together-I think he’s right. Adoption-especially for us- can be scary. It’s not easy to let your heart be vulnerable enough to start loving a little one that you know little about and there’s such a winding path to your union. Adam has been a rock and there’s nothing I like more than watching him being a Dad (and now Baba).

For those hoping for an update post, I do have lots to share about Eli’s first trip to the zoo. We need to crash early tonight though because tomorrow morning Eli will be sworn in as an American citizen. I am so proud of our country and can’t wait for him to start to blossom in the opportunities he’ll now have for a bright future.

Until tomorrow!

Days 7 & 8: To Guangzhou we go and medically cleared

We headed out of Zhengzhou yesterday with high spirits to make it to our last spot before HOME. I’d talked to a new friend with OI who lived in China for several years and expected that in-country flights were going to be challenging for us. We had relatively good luck coming from Beijing though so we weren’t overly concerned. Our guide managed to get our chairs past the ticket counter (they insisted that they be checked as baggage) but security had a MAJOR problem-thus causing a GIGANTIC kerfuffle-with our attempt to bring the chairs through security. Our guide argued for nearly an hour while we huddled against a wall as people continued to stream by. We inched closer and closer to missing our boarding time. It came and went. Our event (and apparently the possibility that we *could* have a knife in our chairs!) eventually shut down the security…which resulted in all the people who had been standing in that line shouting angrily. It’s a bit hard to explain what was happening because I really have NO idea. There was a great deal of yelling, gesturing, eye rolling, stomping, seeking supervisors of supervisors, and waiting…….I eventually got out of my chair to demonstrate that you could look in every part of our chair…NO KNIVES! We disassembled our chairs and they tried to fit them through the carry-on scanners. In case you’ve ever wondered, they don’t fit!

Eventually, they decided to scan them with the baggage. Our flight should have already boarded so we were terrified that this “scanning” would result in our chairs being held but the flight taking off. We had no choice to trust that they would be at our destination. We got in terrible airport chairs with terrible drivers that took 10 times longer to get us less safely to the plane. It was a bad scene.

I boarded the plane so sad wondering if our chairs would be in Guangzhou and if so, in what shape. When Eli took his seat, so much of my burden was lifted. He was SO incredibly joyful. He made the sign for airplane and proudly touched his chest. He read the safety brochure and pointed out every detail. He practiced with his seatbelt, pointed out the clouds, clapped as he beamed, INHALED unidentifiable Chinese airplane food, and was so, so happy. We were meant to be HERE….with the tough comes the out of this world good.

Our difficult journey also made this fantastic hotel that much sweeter. There are more food and shopping options. Our room has much more room for Eli to play and burn off some of his energy! There are many more families here and several have adopted children around Eli’s age. It’s been fun to meet them and see these amazing kids blossoming around us.

After our travel day on Friday, Saturday was filled with firsts. Before the fun ones, Eli had to clear his medical appointments. He bragged to our guide that he would never cry for his shot this morning. And he didn’t! He did, however, inform every doctor that he was 4 (not 7). When our guide tried to find out why (because it’s possible he’s been told this by a nanny) he changed the subject and asked our guide to tell us that he prefers sweet foods. He is too much! Overall, his medical exams went well. We know we have lots of medical/dental assessment in our future but we’re glad to sail through one of the last hoops here in China to get H*O*M*E. Now, we wait for his TB test results to come back on Monday.

After medicals, our guide took us to a shopping mall to find some better fitting shoes for Eli. We brought three pairs but his measurements given to us by the orphanage were a little off. Eli was so excited to go shoe shopping. He was jumping up and down in the elevator jabbering away. When we got to the shoe section, Adam offered him choices and Eli told our guide, “I will love anything you pick for me.” Which did hold true UNTIL……….he spotted Boonie Bear light-up sandals. Boonie Bear is a Chinese cartoon and it’s Eli’s favorite. These sandals are a sight for sore eyes (not to mention Adam’s household ban on character shoes) but Eli is now the VERY proud owner. So proud in fact, that we just had to convince him via the translator that he really did need to take them off to get into bed. He’d put them right back on after his bath with his pajamas.

And one more important first that I must share-Eli’s first SWIM! I will have to ask our guide tomorrow but I am fairly certain swim in Mandarin is something like “yolo”….if so, it’s very fitting! Eli definitely looked the part of swimmer and within 2 seconds of hitting the water, he went ALL out! Thankfully his NeiNei (Mamaw) was holding him in his inner tube when he dunked his head under and sucked in half the pool. He coughed, sputtered, and flapped his hands…We thought we’d just enjoyed the shortest swim EVER but he recovered within a minute or so and eventually became quite the little inner tube swimmer. He’ll put his face under, holding his breath for several seconds at a time. He kicked well and eventually balanced in the tube all on his own. He definitely needs some (MAJOR) swim instruction but if enthusiasm is any measure, count him in for the 2022 Games:)

Tomorrow we do a bit of sight seeing and I hope to pick up Eli some affordable but meaningful momentos from his country of birth. We will also find out about the status of visas. More to come. We are (hopefully) in the HOMEstretch now.









Holding onto hope-Visa crisis stranding American adoptive families around the world

Sharing a quick update on the visa situation before our daily recap.

We are in Guangzhou as scheduled and trying to focus on enjoying this last leg of our trip and our last anticipated experience in Eli’s home country. Looming in the background is a visa crisis that has never occurred before. An IT glitch has brought the US Visa system down and dozens of families have been stranded in our hotel and another in the city for almost an entire week. We are scheduled for our consulate appointment Tuesday and then SHOULD get Eli’s visa to leave for Hong Kong late Wednesday and then home early Thursday. For each hour that passes, that possibility is becoming less and less likely. The backlog of visas is piling up. There are children here (including Eli) that need medical attention and parents, like us, whose other children are waiting at home. The US Consulate is coming into work on Sunday here in Guangzhou. We’ll find out at 10am if the systems are back up and operational. I’m still holding out hope that the system will somehow be fixed, they’ll get caught up, and we won’t be impacted. If this isn’t resolved in the morning though, it’s something that our government needs to fix *now*. Families are stranded around the world trying to bring home their children. These are US citizens-stranded. Many of these newly adopted children have disabilities. Families, like ours, have worked hard to save, fundraise, and budget down to the dollar for our spending here. When these backlogged families DO get their visas, they will all compete for buying last-minute flights to China. I cannot imagine the cost and hope we don’t have to! Remembering to BE HERE NOW has been a little tricky but it helps that this hotel, city, our guide, and this process has been incredible. I’m not allowing myself to think about more days away from our Hannah, the homecoming moment I’ve been dreaming of for a year dashed, and the hard decisions, long-term consequences for our family if we, too, are stuck. Please join me in hoping and praying that these families who ARE impacted now, get their visas tomorrow and get home.

I’ll post an update to our page tomorrow as soon as we hear. I will also post the stories of some of the incredible families we’ve met here who are stuck…Now, on to the fun stuff!


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