Well, after a rather exhausting morning of phonecalls, waiting, more phonecalls, and more waiting, today turned out to be a wildly productive day!! Not only did I nail down the flights, adjust them a little to make them halfway affordable, and get them approved by the adoption agency and paid for, but Mike received the final case number from the final Visa office that we needed in our fingerprint chase, along with word that our prints have in fact be sent off to China!
And that's not all: in the midst of the rush, I had a long and fruitful phonecall from the coordinator of the cleft team at Rose Medical Center. We hit it off, and I feel that we have found exactly the right team for us. We talked at length about sign language, feeding issues, and Flynn's early care. After which I was able to call the head surgeon (who came highly recommended both by friends and by the speech therapist) and book an appointment for an initial consultation in mid-August! It feels like everything is finally coming together just right!
So...we are leaving on July 22nd for China!! This is a day earlier than we intended, which will give us a day to de-jetlag before setting out on our two days of tours. Our consulate appointment is set for August 4th, and we will return to the US on August 6th. We do not yet know the day that we will meet QiuQiu, since we're still waiting for our final in-country itinerary from the agency.
Our travel agent was both patient and prompt, and did a fantastic job of booking our flights. We have a nearly perfect itinerary, leaving at comfortable times of day, with comfortable intervals between flights. We have a short 11-hour return from Beijing to San Francisco, which makes me VERY happy! We're flying Air China for the international portion, and I hear it's lovely. So I am just excited and happy all around right now!
...oh, and this photo? I ordered a new Nikon lens for the trip. I could not afford the regular zoom lenses, so ended up getting the "budget" lens. It's supposed to be missing all the fancy stuff, but let me tell you..this lens rocks! My photos are twice as good as they were before. This photo was taken at the botanical garden. Doesn't it look like a painting? I have a lot more, which I'll post in the next few days...much to your dismay. I went a little nuts at the botanical gardens, I have to admit!