Friday, May 16, 2008

Whirlwind

For those of you who thought we got our referral and I fell off the face of the earth -- well, I feel like it.

Things went into super overdrive on Wednesday night when I returned from church and found our travel dates had been set and they were 10 days away. I almost cried knowing how much there still was to get done.

So, I left Thursday to head back to Georgia to try to finish up the project. I'm going to be about 125 inspections short, but the company I'm working for has been VERY KIND in telling me that will re-assign them for me. I actually completed 128 inspections today and that was in the midst of trying to finalize airline reservations, talk with the agency about some issues and coordinate home things with Kevin. I'm tired. I realized that I never even ate lunch today so after this bloggy post, I'm off to find some dinner.

For those of you who are waiting to get your referral and start the whirlwind, here are some tips of things I wish I had done before now.

1. Write down the names of three travel agents and their phone numbers so you'll have it handy and ready to call. DO NOT accept the first quote you get even if they tell you you can't get a better one. Call all three - tell them all you are price shopping and that the "lowest fare" wins. We were able to cut our fare down $1500 (for three tickets) this way. THAT, my friends, will pay for the hotel.

2. Write down the names and contact information for ALL the lodgings in Bishkek. It has been hard to find accommodations. There is an apartment option, but both hubby and I need Internet access and don't really want to have to go to the Internet cafe if we don't have to.

3. Make a packing list of the things you want to carry and begin to collect and set aside orphanage donations if you plan to take them.

4. Arrange house and/or pet and/or child sitters along with getting detailed instructions ready for them.

5. Begin to talk to your bank about how long it will take to get your "new crispy" bills.

If you just do these five things, it will be a tremendous help to you later. You might think you have a while, but do it NOW and not put it off like I did.

I have looked at my little angels photo a thousand times if I've looked once. I can't wait to get there and take some more photos.

As difficult as things have been today, there have been so many of you that have provided such unknown support to me. My "travel buddy" E. and I have worn out the phone lines and she has provided me with SO MUCH help doing lots of the hotel and airline legwork and then just telling them that her buddy from Nashville will be calling too.

B., another PAP, sent me an email this morning that said, "When you said on your blog that you weren't sure how you would get everything done my immediate thought was that God would make it all happen. I can't wait to see how He works all things together for good in your preparation. I know that He will go before you to the bank, to pack your bags, to line up pet & child care, to fly to Bishkek, to Atlanta to finish your work...everything! I know He will orchestrate everything to go according to His plan for you to meet your daughter. How awesome to see Him at work in your life in such a tangible way!"

You cannot imagine how supportive that was to me today!!! And God, well, He HAS been taking care of things for me. There have been several issues today that I thought might be "deal breakers" and God cleared them up for me.

H. told me in a comment to "Let Go and Let God". You all are such wise women!

And my daddy, he told me, "Don't worry about all this. I've got it under control. This is my granddaugther." He has been an incredible help to our process to. Thank you, Daddy! (and mama too, of course).

God continues to speak Bible verses to me today as I would get down or discouraged or overwhelmed. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." "Trust in the Lord, with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you., plans to give you a hope and a future."

All day, little verses, popping into my head to remind me He is in control of this, not me. Good thing, I'm tired. I told Kevin if I were home I'd find a masseuse and have all these kinks rubbed out of my back and neck and legs. Everything hurts.

But, a week from now I'll be on a plane with my two guys, on our way to see our new girl. WOW! God is good -- all the time.

**** UPDATE ****

I also forgot the most important "good news" for today. I got an email back from USCIS stating (they were tired of me emailing them -- haha, not really, but I'm sure they are) they had processed our I600A and were mailing our 171H today so we should have it by Saturday or Monday!! YAY!!

*** ONE OTHER THING ***

I can't seem to get all the "good stuff" out tonight. :-)
Our experience with Federal Travel (Tim) and Golden Rule (Eldo) was EXQUISITE. I'd hate to have to pick one over the other. They both were very responsive and quick to get the information. They worked hard to bring fares down and looked for alternate routes.

Be sure to ASK for travel insurance. I don't think either reminded us to get it, but after hearing about it from others I knew to ask. It was very reasonable ($81 per person) and covers evacuation, up to $500K in medical expenses, etc.

8 comments:

Dennis & Kathy Irwin said...

Wow.....I'm overwelmed at the speed from referral to travel!! I can't wait to see her precious face!! Hope travel plans all go smooth.
Kathy

Betsy said...

Ok, I'm officially crying after reading your post :) I'm so so excited for you.
Even in the midst of your chaos you are helping others with the recommended "to do" list! That is just what I needed right now... something to focus on and work on while I am waiting, waiting, waiting.

Kelli said...

Wow 10 days- how exciting (and I imagine a bit overwhelming- in a very good way). I am so excited you will get to meet your little girl soon!

Jeanne said...

So exciting! The good news is pouring in now!! I appreciate your list of what to prepare very much!!!

Pamela said...

First of all, GOD IS GOOD, Maria. So good! Your advice is excellent and I'm going to follow it as I prepare for my little girl's arrival. (Still waiting a referral...number 3 on the list at CWA.)

Second...YAY HOORAY on the USCIS paperwork getting processed! That is soooooo God working...I'm sure of it. (My USCIS has been a bit challenging due to home study glitches. But, it is finally moving to finalization.)

Finally, I'm just so happy for you that I could bust! I'll be sending you an email...so, look for something coming in from me.

Many blessings!

Pamela

Lisa B and Family said...

He can move mountains!
My motto:
"Life is good, God is great!"

Brigitte et Claude said...

Congratulations !

WoW... that's a good news. I have been following your blog,I am from Quebec Canada. hope you have a safe trip. I'm so excited for you , you're gonna meet you little girl. Keep us posted.

Brigitte

Monica said...

So excited for you!!!! I also can't wait to see you with Ellie! Thx for all the great advice.
:)
Monica