We leave day after tomorrow.  I can hardly type it.  The suitcases are bulging with everything we could possibly need for the next two weeks.  Which means we’ve probably forgotten something really important like underwear or deodorant.  But none of that will matter as long as we have our boy.  

Flying away from my girls will be the hardest hard.  My beautiful sister wrote this to me, “It is a very hard and very good thing you are doing, and you can’t do the good without engaging the hard, and that must cause you pain.”  It does indeed.  I have found myself watching my girls this week and crying silent tears at the thought of flying away from them.  It seemed easier when we were leaving all three, but it’s clear Maggie needs to come and it’s just too darn expensive to take them all.  China is not for the faint of heart and they’ve been once.  They have wonderful babysitters and a Nana and Papa who have strict instructions to rest up so they can be ON when we land.  We will need their help more than ever when we get home.  
Friday morning we fly to Chicago, to Beijing and then to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.  It’s about 24 hours of travel and with Peter and Maggie both sick as dogs right now, we could really use some prayer coverage.  
Sometime on Monday, May 4, XingYou Chen will be brought to our hotel and given to us.  The next day he will officially become Abram XingYou Vos.  We will stay in Hohhot until Friday morning when we’ll fly to Guangzhou for the rest of our time.  Medical exam will take place on Saturday with our consulate appt on Tuesday morning.  On Wednesday afternoon we will be given Abram’s Visa and will be free to leave.  We will fly to Beijing late Weds and then home via San Francisco and Chicago on Thursday the 14th.  
We need you, prayer warriors.  
~This trip is taxing at best, a bit of a killer with young kids.  Maggie is a wild card.  Pray she feels well as she is a cuss when she’s sick.  In fact, will you pray for health for all of us, including Lulu and Tess?
~Pray for our goodbyes on Friday.  I can’t even.  
~Pray for our girls being left home.  For their tender hearts and that the time speeds by until we are together.
~Pray that the seeds of adoption will be sown as we share our journey with whoever is crazy enough to listen.  This is work we are all called to do if we claim to follow Jesus, this caring for orphans work.  Pray it gets done.
~Pray for unity for Dan and I.  That this bring us even closer together.  That satan’s hand is stayed as he seeks to break us down in myriad ways.
~Pray for our Abram boy.   That his heart will be prepared for the incredible upset he is about to face.  He has known such loss already, ask Father to heal his heart as he knits him into our family.

Thank you, dear ones, for your support.  It means the world to us.  We are terrified and anxious and thrilled and a million other things all rolled up.  Bless you for putting up with that mess.
This is me being real.  Pretty positive Maggie has been unpacking things over the last few weeks and squirreling them away in places I’ll find when the kids move out.  Please let it not be perishable of expensive.


This boy.  He has no idea what is about to hit him.  No idea that in a few short weeks, Lord willing, he will be orphan no more.  That he’ll belong to two bros and three sisters and 20 Kevins and a Keloid scar named Steve.  And a mom who defrosts Lucy’s hot dogs in baggies in her arm pits while making everyone’s lunches.  He has no idea the chaos and beauty and sheer lunacy that is this family.  That we regularly drag our kids to Ann Arbor just to buy peanut butter and popcorn, that laundry gets cleaned but not folded, that there are more toys in the yard than in the garage most days, despite ridiculous threats.
Y’all, we might be two weeks away from having him in our arms, his chubby cheeked, curly lipped self (yes mom, he does sort of look like Grant.  Sort of.)  Father is throwing open doors and showing me once again that my trust is barely enough to keep my lips above water and yet, his hand, it’s always there, pulling me away from the abyss of my doubt.  I told my sister this week I feel like a remedial student in trust school.  Totally failing that class most days.  Laying in bed, wondering if Father will answer the big prayer to get us there in time for his birthday on May 7, doubting wether all the pieces will fall in.  And if they don’t?  Father will still be on his throne.  Because the delivery part is not my deal, just the go part.  So I’m packing like a madwoman.  Thinking and over thinking how many NoGii bars and Aldi’s dark chocolate and beef sticks these people of mine need to survive another China trip.  Wether he’ll need pull-ups.  If his buns are squishy and how soon it’ll be before I feel comfortable giving them a little squeeze.  Whether his eyes are the same black as his sisters and how they’ll get along.  How long it will take to hear him say mama and how badly it’ll wreck me.  If my girls will survive two weeks without us and how wicked sad I’ll be to give them some last sugar before I head to the airport.  Oh my stars, can’t imagine walking away from their sweet selves.  
But there is this: our boys needs us and I would move heaven and earth for any of my children, Chen XingYou being no exception.  And so we’ll pack twenty deodarants for the orphanage workers (don’t judge me) and we will buy our plane tickets in lieu of taking the kids on a smashing vacation this summer and we will walk away from two people we love most in the this world, leaving them in such capable hands, to go and redeem another that we love most.  
Because we have been called for such as him.  Cannot wait.  
So we wait for our Travel Approval to be issued.  
And you’ll know when it happens because we will be shouting it from the rooftops.  Us and the Smalls, who keep reminding me that this is family work by their eager anticipation and, in Lu’s case at least, their sometimes funky moods as they get less than all of me, my mind split in seventeen hundred million different directions over seven thousand miles.  This is family work.
This is me being real.  Admitting to you that I sent Dan to take the kids out to dinner even though I already had flank steak marinating in the fridge simply because I needed to hear myself think for one hour.  Admitting that one hour was woefully inadequate, but happy to see them run through my back door anyway.  Can’t wait till those 5 become 6.  Slightly terrified of when those 5 become 6.  Just being real.