How long does it take to get there?
It takes about a day and a half to get from home to our hotel in Hanoi. Oh lovely blue sleepy pill, please work on the plane and let the hours pass quickly! We will be traveling from Phoenix to San Francisco to Tokyo, to Hanoi. We will return through the infamous LAX immigration.We are leaving on Friday, May 23rd, and I have this post scheduled to post while we are traveling there. So if you're reading this, we are already in transit.
Are you adopting again? Are you going to "get another one" while you are there?
Ummmmm.... no. Not a chance of it. Many folks who have never adopted internationally are surprised that it's quite impossible to just "pick up a child and bring him or her home." US visa regulations make that quite impossible. Also the United States does not have a program with VietNam, and this particular orphanage does not have any adoptions going on in it at all for any country. Because adoption paperwork is most orphanages don't. Last but not least, Papa and I have no intentions of adopting again in the near future. We're not saying never, but for now, it's not happening.
Will you be blogging during your trip to VietNam?
Yes, I do plan on blogging on our trip. It's the easiest way in 1 click to keep Papa, the kiddos and our friends and family back home informed about our trip and what's happening. But (big but here, and no I'm not referring to my own, although keeping it real, I'm sure I'll be reminded of it's large size while in Vietnam. Some things are just culturally different when traveling in Asia!) I'm not sure what the internet situation will be or if I'll have the time or the energy to post much while I'm at the orphanage. But if the stars are all aligned just so, YES I'll be posting on our trip. It might just be a pic or two so everyone back home can see where we are, but I really hope I can. I really really really want y'all to see the faces of the children that donations and your generosity has benefited! Fingers crossed for the next blog post to be Sunday when we get to Hanoi!
Where are you going? Is this the orphanage Tess and Jude came from?
Specifically, we are going to the province of Nam Dinh which is a couple hours south of Hanoi. Tess and Jude are from Saigon which is in the southern Vietnam, so no this is not the same orphanage or even the same province that Tess and Jude are from. But this is the orphanage the Project Being There works with, and we wanted to be a part of the work they do. The orphanage is a part of the Catholic church and the caregivers there are nuns. St. An's orphanage has approximately 80 children from infants through 19 years of age. 24 of these children special needs. (For those of you who had some experience with the US/Vietnamese adoption program, here's some food for though; there are over 30 children at St. An's that are under 5 years of age, the time the US adoption program stopped. So they are still coming. I'm not passing any judgement or editorial here. Just stating the facts)
What will you be doing at the orphanage?
Mostly we've been told to love on them. Yeppers I can do that! We've brought suitcases of toys and activities to do just that. Uno, jacks, Rainbow Loom, Matchbox cars, frisbees... we play on a lot of playing going on. These sweeties live at the orphanage 24/7 and rarely (ever?) have an opportunity to leave. So we were so so excited to to hear that we are going to take them on their first ever field trip! If you've been to Hanoi, we're going to the Temple of Literature on our field trip! With kiddos that never really have had a chance to "get out." And we don't share a common language! Sounds like
What is the weather going to be like when you are there?
In a word? Hot and rainy. (So I that's 2 words but you know that I'm a rebel right?) That's okay. It is what it is. Being from the Arizona desert, we are totally used to hot temps, up to 115 degrees-ish. But as they say, it's a dry heat and I have very little tolerance for humidity. I'm gonna have to figure that one out fast when I get there. There is surely no air conditioning at St. An's. I get kinda grouchy when the humidity gets about 30%. So 85%+ humidity is likely to knock my sweaty socks right off not to mention my sweet disposition. If you're the praying type, I'd appreciate a little prayer that I endure the weather conditions with a servant's heart.
Will you be eating the food there? Are you scared of malaria, stomach viruses, assorted critters of any type?
Yes, we will be eating the food that the orphanage serves everyone. I would never dream of insulting our hosts otherwise. I'm also a realist and am packing some comfort food. Even the Vietnamese drink bottled water, so that's the only water we will drink. Re the food and intestinal issues, some people do it other ways, but I consider the food to be a huge part of learning about a culture and worth the risk. I travel under the assumption that I will get some sort of stomach bug (and hope that it doesn't get too bad) and don't go anywhere out of the United States without Cipro and Z-pak and absolutely use them at the first signs of and "issue." Liv and I have been fully immunized against bigger illnesses like like Typhoid, Tetanus and Hep A, so that stuff doesn't concern us. Malaria does, but but we've been told it's not an issue where we will be traveling. Fingers crossed. We've been told to expect "critters" at the orphanage. It's okay. Scabies and lice are temporary and are a small price to pay to be able to serve in this way. (I might need you to remind me of that later, okay?)
Will you get to do any other sightseeing while you are there?
Yes. Absolutely! I can not imagine going to Vietnam and not doing at least a little! We never made it to Halong Bay on our last trip, and this is going to be our one excursion on this trip. It will include one overnight anchorage and kayak trips to see the floating villages and market places. If you're not sure what Halong Bay is, let me tell you it's beauty is suppose to be just this side of heaven. A little random Google search produced these pics to show you what it looks like.
Okay, see you on the flip side!