Well, hello. Tomorrow I’m going to China.
It’s been a long road to get here, and I’ve written about most of it. I wrote about being unsure about adding to our family, and then, the day that I learned about the Waiting Child program, through which we were matched with our son. Before him, though, there were others that we didn’t say yes to, and those faces are impossible to forget.
In just a few hours, we’ll get on a plane and finish this piece of the journey. Everything changes tomorrow. And I feel calm. I didn’t feel calm about two hours ago, but I’ve since cleaned out my refrigerator and made the bed in the guest room and left instructions for the dog sitter and sorted out my wardrobe issues. I’m feeling good. I’m feeling ready. I’ve also had a margarita.
By some miracle, Steve and I have managed to cram two-and-a-half weeks worth of stuff into three incredibly heavy bags. For those of you shaking your heads at our packing ineptitude, listen up: We had to pack for almost three weeks and for two very different climates. We had to pack gifts for 10 people: orphanage directors, nannies, kindly concierges. We had to pack toys and pull-ups and clothes for Kid X. We had to pack Bini’s stuff. We have two iPads and my laptop and sticker books. And, of course, there’s snacks. We’re on trains, planes and automobiles for many hours, and I can guarantee you that Bini will tell us he’s “starving” on top of the Great Wall. And though I’m an adventurous eater, I’m not at all sure I want to eat sparrow or snake soup. So for me, two-and-a-half weeks of almonds and raisins.
I feel like I should be sitting here, contemplating my life as it is now, and savoring its (relative) simplicity. I should be admiring my clean house, and its intact furniture. The ease of getting just one child fed, bathed and to bed. I have no doubt that I’ll have approximately 457 “what the hell have we done?” moments over the next two-and-a-half weeks. But I’m just excited. I’m impatient. I’m ready.
Late this morning, after volunteering at Bini’s school, I went to Barre3 for a workout. Afterwards, I was hungry for lunch, and knew that the refrigerator had only condiments and two sad carrots. I lingered outside a green juice place, and went in. I was chatting with the owner and mentioned that I was going to China the next day. I showed her a picture of Kid X, and told her a bit about our adoption experience thus far. She asked what cities we were traveling to, and I told her: Beijing, Xi’an and Guangzhou.
“Guangzhou is my hometown,” she said, delighted. She went to fetch a business card and wrote down her number. “I want you to call me or text me, day or night, if you need anything. Anything at all,” she said, handing it to me. “My family is there, and I have lots of friends there, and they will help you if you need it.”
I took the card, touched by her kindness. I had never met this woman before, and had rarely been into the shop. I thanked her profusely, as I left with my gluten-free, egg-and-carrot-pesto sandwich.
“It’s no trouble,” she insisted. “Remember, call or text me anytime, day or night. I will do anything I can to help you.”
Look, I know that angst and kvetching is way more interesting to read about than gratitude and happiness. That’s all I’ve got right now, though. Along the way, we’ve encountered so many kind people — the friends who showered us with gifts and hand-me-downs, the strangers who became friends via our adoption agency’s Facebook group, the incredible volunteers with The Sparrow Fund, who sent us pictures and videos of our soon-to-be son. And then, this woman today. Nobody wants anything in return. They just want to help. It feels awesome to have so many people rooting for you as you do something scary. So, thank you.
(Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll be back to my old self before you know it.)