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!