Showing posts from June, 2006

Chapter 3 addendum re pictures

We are having a heck of a time trying to post pictures to this blog (as well as emailing them) due to extremely slow download times, but we have been able to get some pictures downloaded to photobucket. Therefore, we have made our photobucket album available without password. Go there and see us and Minh (photos at top of album are most recent).

(We also cannot view our blog pages currently, though we can add to and edit them... so we're just trusting that these entries get out there.)

Chapter 3: First Encounters -- In which our travellers reach their destination, which is (as they knew it would be) only the start of a longer trip...


The tribulations of our tript from Chicago to Danang are already fading into the dim past. We made it to Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday night where a hotel room awaited us, thanks to Ann Tours, only to discover that our luggage would not be joining us. When American Airlines put us on the new flight to Tokyo, we were assured that an order would be placed to move our luggage from the cursed plan to LA. And when we checked in for the flight to Tokyo, we were assured that the order had been placed to move the baggage. But the baggage was not moved... and so it is winging its way to Hong Kong and may join us here in Danang in a day or two. (And I should note that both the AA booking agent on the phone Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and the check-in agent at the counter on Wednesday morning were wonderful, nice, helpful people.)

Anyway, we got the HCMC hotel at about 12:30am, and we slept until 4:30am, since we needed to catch a cab back to the HCMC airport at 5am. It was awfully ni…

Chapter 2: A Brief Interlude


Narita Airport outside Tokyo is full of very helpful uniformed people. At every staircase and turn, there was another smiling young man or woman in uniform who seemed to know already where we wanted to go. -- Or perhaps they were hallucinations brought on by 14 hours of flight from Chicago to Tokyo.

In any case, we're now in Tokyo... waiting to board a plane to HCMC. After that, it's just a short flight Friday morning to Danang.

(Pause here to insert a hearty plug for Ann Tours in Vietnam, based in HCMC, and especially for Tony. At the eleventh hour and with only a few emails, he arranged a hotel for us in HCMC for Thursday night, and got us on an earlier flight from HCMC to Danang. And there will be someone to meet us at the HCMC airport when we arrive. If you will be travelling in VN, give Ann Tours your business.)

It was hard to sleep on the plane to Tokyo, but even harder when I'd close my eyes and imagine our first meeting with TM... and how that might go. I fou…

Chapter 1: Where are J & E now? -- Wherein our travellers learn the meaning of "false start" and make no progress at all.


It's now almost three in the morning. Technically, we've now been gone for about 8 hours, and where are we? Are we winging our way across oceans and polar ice caps? No. We are still in Chicago! Our plane from Chicago to Los Angeles (originally scheduled to leave at about 9:30pm) was delayed several times, and then, at 11:30pm, they told us the flight was postponed until tomorrow (today... Wednesday) at 9am. We were told that the pilot had quit... walked off... gone to a hotel because he was tired. We're not sure of the details, but it was... disappointing.

So we had to spend hours (literally) on the phone with several different people from American Airlines... and we woke up Todd, the travel agent, in the middle of the night. (Sorry.) And our credit cards wouldn't work in the phone... and of course we didn't bring a cell phone... and we ran out of quarters... and every kiosk and store in the airport was closed, since it was 1:00AM... it was a comedy of e…

T minus 80 hours (+/-) and counting


Here we go.

We leave for Vietnam on Tuesday, in four days. On Friday, one week from yesterday, we will meet TM and his foster parents for the first time. On Monday, July 3, TM will become our son.

The last 24 hours has been a frantic arranging of tickets, itineraries, and other travel-related details. But it's the other, non-travel-related stuff that makes my temples throb. The new Adam Sandler film about the magical remote control got terrible reviews, but right now I'd give all the ____ in my ____ for a button that would allow me to put life on pause for the next few weeks. (Note to self: Fill in blanks with clever and telling phrases after lunch.)

(Disclaimer: I am not now and have never been an Adam Sandler fan. Any references to him here are in no way intended as endorsements of past Adam Sandler projects or encouragement for future Adam Sandler projects.)

With any luck, we'll be home on July14, but there's a very real possibility that we won't be able to…

Travel Approval


It's finally come...the long-awaited travel approval. We are going to actually travel to Vietnam to bring TM home. The ironic aspect of all of this is that while we know we are going, we still don't have confirmed dates. We hope the Giving and Receiving Ceremony will be July 3, but we have to wait (again) for confirmation of that date. But during this periond of waiting we can also pack and do all the last minute things we've been waiting to do.

more news and more waiting


We had good news on Friday from our agency. It seems the piece of paper in question was allowed to be submitted by someone other than ourselves. Everything is back on track, and we continue to wait for the call that we are allowed to travel.

I have just recently read, Carried Safely Home, by Kristin Swick Wong (Faith Walk Publishing, 2005). In it, she describes the adoptions of her two sons from Vietnam. I most appreciated her thoughts about the wait to bring each of them home. This excerpt describes her feelings when the wait was over and they were preparing to leave:

But just before that joy, the initial flush of emotion as I emerge from dazed fogginess is, surprisingly, regret at leaving this phase of life. I know that this difficult time has given me opportunity to grow near to the Lord in new ways. I wonder if I learned everything I could. Did I cherish this discipline and not despise it? Will there be lasting effects from this chapter of my life as I move to the next? I do hope…

bearded boy


It's not a bad thing to start one's day by spirit-gluing a grey, crepe-hair beard and mustache to one's 10-year-old son. And I take a certain pride and pleasure in the fact that the 10-year-old son in question seems to thoroughly enjoy starting his day with artificial whiskers, even if they do look a bit patchy.

These whiskers are necessary in order to play the part of Mr. Witherspoon in a production of Arsenic and Old Lace that begins this weekend. The tech-week rehearsals last much of the day, but Mr. W. gets to remove his facial excresence afterward and resume playing the 10-year-old son. Of course, it's nearly impossible to get all of the spirit glue off, and so a certain amount of dirt adheres to his face in the place that the beard and mustache had previously inhabited. The result is an odd sort of five-o'clock shadow that can be distracting at the dinner table.

There is never a straight line in international adoption


Monday we received a phone call from our adoption agency, with some news to share about the adoption, but not the news we wanted to hear. Instead of telling us we have been approved for travel, we were told there is a glitch in the paperwork. There is the possibility that we will have to submit a piece of the paperwork in person, instead of Holt Vietnam submitting it for us. This will add to the length of our trip and one more piece of uncertainty to the whole process. We will know more on Friday.

I have to keep remembering that God is orchestrating the whole adoption and I must let Him work out the details. He is in control of the process, which is good, because we certainly have no control at all. I firmly believe that it was the nudging of God that caused us to start the process even though Vietnam had yet to reopen to US citizens adopting. It was God who chose TM for us and gave us his referral a month after J’s mom passed away. (As well as meaning “bright”, Thanh Minh is also t…