Finally the time we have waited for has arrived. We are going to China! I was so fortunate to have my best friend, Laurie Stringer Moorhead, go with me. When we first started the adoption process Keith and I both agreed I would go and he would stay home with Case. My sister Leila had originally plan to go but after becoming a grandmother and her busy work schedule and our mother's health issues, she decided it wouldn't be possible.
On Friday, April 9th we finally received our travel arrangements! We are leaving the following Thursday! WOW short notice! No worry, I had been packed for weeks!
Thursday morning Keith and Case drove me to the Jackson Airport. I was flying to Atlanta where I would meet Laurie. I had only flown one other time and I wasn't all that excited about the 22 hours in the air before me. I had prayed about it and turned all my fears over to God or thought I had. When I boarded in Jackson a young man was in the seat next to mine. I thought to myself, do I keep my mouth shut or should I be nice and introduce myself. Well within the next 5 seconds he introduced himself. Yep, just as I thought, his name was Abdul! Holy Jesus, please tell me this nice looking young muslin man sitting next to me is not going to hijack this plane! I could barely speak. As it turned out, he was very nice and wished me well on my trip to China. God only knows where he was going, I never asked! I was so glad to see Laurie in Atlanta! I knew from then on she would have my back if I needed it!
Our flight from Atlanta to Tokyo seemed like an eternity! Every time we turned around they were serving us a meal. We may have gotten 2 hours total sleep the entire flight. I lost track of time back in Atlanta when I met Abdul. I was forever asking Laurie what time it was. When we finally arrived in Beijing, late, there stood an Asian man with a sign that read "McMullen". My first thought was this will be our guide, nope, he didn't even speak English! He handed me his cell phone and our guide on the other end explained to me that he will be our driver to our hotel and she would meet us there. Here we are on the other side of this world and we are doing what we have always been taught not to do, get in a car with a stranger.
We arrived at our hotel around 10:30 PM and that is where we met Sherry, our guide. Sherry was a doll from the beginning. She was waiting on 11 other families to arrive, most all having flight delays. She explained to us that we need to meet bright and early the next morning to start our tours. Ugh! All we wanted was to sleep!
The next morning after a wonderful "American" breakfast at our hotel, we loaded a bus with most all of the other families from our agency. We would be together for that weekend then on Monday we would all go our separate ways to get our angels and then meet back up the following Friday in Guangzhou. In our short time in China we developed special bonds with some in the group. Everyone was so nice. They all really made our stay extra special!
On Saturday, we went to The Forbidden City and Tinnamon Square. For lunch we went to a buffet lunch then on to the pearl and the silk factory. Later that evening Laurie and I ventured out to "Carrfore" next door to our hotel. Carrfore is supposedly a European Walmart! It was the biggest mess and nothing like our Walmarts here in the states. In the grocery department they had just about anything you may want or not want!
The next day we were fortunate to attend church. On the way to church our guide, Sherry, explained to us that in China half of the population does not believe in anything. The other half is split between Christians and other religion. I was thinking all this time Christians were not to be spoken of in China. As a matter of fact, all of our guides were born again Christians. The church service was wonderful! You could really feel the presence of our Lord and Savior in that place! I think we all had tears flowing during the singing. I knew then my God had taken away all of my fears of this trip!
After church we had a round table lunch and then on to the Great Wall. It was very pretty with Cherry Blossoms blooming on the mountain side. That night we went to an Acrobatics Performance. It was amazing!