Bringing Home Britt-Part 1


I must tell you I started out writing all my thoughts about why we set out to adopt, what led us on the journey, and how we knew we were meant for adoption but I’ve gotta be honest some of those things are meant just for our family.  I’m going to try my best to give you guys lots of details about Britt but I’m also very sensitive to it being HER story.  I don’t want to share too much or possibly share anything that could be used against her {think junior high mean girls} so if I don’t overly share, please know I’m doing it for her to have a bit of privacy.  The other reason I finally stopped in my tracks with the other post is because all roads leading us to adopt started with God.  It’s pretty simple.  Did we start the journey on the same page?  Absolutely not!  Tab and I were in very different corners but almost a year later God had changed both of our hearts and we were united on the same path aimed in the exact direction.

I have a college roommate who is simply amazing {lots of my college roomies are, I should add} but Carrie reminds me so much of Jesus.  I’ve shared videos about Carrie and her family before you might remember her?  She has three adopted children.  She said this on her FB days before we were leaving to get our Britt and I burst into tears while reading…”“For kids in foster care, kids waiting to be adopted and teenagers aging out of the system, there is no momma bear. There is no crazy woman who loves that child so deeply and so madly that she would fight to the death – whether it be yours or hers – to keep them safe. There is no assurance of knowing that they have someone in their corner. There is no hope of tagging in someone when you are too tired to fight for yourself anymore.”  I knew right then and there it was just days until sweet Britt would have her momma bear.

We began working on our paper work back in January of 2016.  We were paper ready in November {and yes, I’m pretty sure we set a record for slowest paper work completers EVER} and got our girl’s file on Valentine’s Day 2017.  We waited for travel approvals, certificates, and many other documents until April 28th, 2017, we were told to book our flights for May to China.  Talk about a whirlwind!

On May 9th our crazy crew of five boarded a plane from Dallas heading straight to Beijing.  My heart was a big pile of mush at this moment…so many emotions, so much to remember, and so very much to be thankful for.

As ready as we’d ever be for the long flight!

Since we booked so close to the flight date and we needed five seats we were a bit split up.  These two were in the very last row behind me.  Tab and Nixon were on the opposite side of the plane in the very last row.  The flight was thirteenish hours and they did AMAZING!  Lots of movies, Battleship against each other, and snacks kept us going.

I had no idea what to expect on a flight so long, but the kiddos did great.  The guy seated next to me would sleep until the food cart rolled by {his ears could magically hear the food cart-haha!} and that’s the ONLY time he’d wake up.  I couldn’t get into the aisle without waking him up which I hated to do.  So every time they served food and he popped his head up, I’d ask to get up.  I’m sure it was a beat down for him.  Right?!

I can’t say enough great things about the flight UNTIL the last thirty minutes.  I never get motion sickness and even I started feeling a little weird.  I turned my I-Pad off to just sit with my eyes closed and I heard the girl in the seat in front of me throwing up.  I continued sitting there talking myself off the proverbial cliff when I heard that awful sound coming from behind me-where Bowen and Ebby Lee were sitting.  Bless his heart…I can’t even remember the last time Bowen has gotten sick so he had no clue what was happening.  He just sit there allowing it to get ALL OVER HIM!  Remember sleepy guy beside me?  He was of course-asleep so I just stood up in my seat and turned around to help him.  I thought I’d grabbed a blanket to clean him up and it was my beloved blardigan!  AAAHHH!!  By the time I realized what I was using, it was WAY too late to save it.  🙁  Tab could see us on the other side of the plane and was making all kinds of-“I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that”-faces to me across the aisle.  About that time, I saw Nixon hold his hand over his mouth and LOSE it all over the floor.  I looked up and there were people losing it EVERYWHERE…well I should say the last four rows of people were losing it.  Lucky us in the back of the plane, I guess.  Right?  😉  The stewardess told us it had been happening a lot in and out of Beijing due to certain winds and she was so sweet to help.  But we finally made it off the plane and put our feet down on the ground in CHINA!  We arrived around 5:30 p.m. Beijing time so by the time we made it to the hotel, checked in, and grabbed some dinner-it was bed time.

We woke up around 3:00 a.m. {thanks to jet lag} and were dancing in front of the hotel lobby windows by 5:45 a.m.  haha!

I mentioned before I was unaware how picky I am about food until we got to China!  Breakfast was by far my favorite meal of the day.  I always stuffed myself with eggs, fruit, toast, and many other American favorites.  On this day, Nixon bit into his breakfast and LOST a tooth!

*Please note Ebby Lee and Bowen still working on their dancing skills.

Our driver was scheduled to arrive at 9:00 a.m. to take us to the zoo, but since we were up SO early we decided to take a walk around the hotel.  We stayed at the China Marriott City Wall hotel.  It was located right next to a cute park.

The park was more of a workout, walk, and run type park and we made our way around it while checking out all the scenery.

On this morning we walked by a little boy {probably five} who appeared to be homeless.  His clothes were filthy.  He was wearing a ton of layers and he was sitting next to a couple bags/boxes of things…probably all of his possessions.  As we walked by, Tab waved at him and said, “Ni Hao” {which is “hi” in Chinese}.  You guys I wish I had been recording him.  His face LIT up and he began waving to us and greeting us wearing the biggest smile.  My kids had so many questions about this little guy.  As we answered walking back to the hotel, I had tears running down my face thinking about how much joy that sweet boy possessed. By earthly standards, we would have said he didn’t have much, but he had what truly matters.  What a lesson for my children!  {And for me as well.} Even Bowen understood what he’d just witnessed.  God spoke to us all that day using such an unlikely candidate.  He uses us all…this is proof.

I was super impressed with all the flowers in Beijing.  There were flowers in all the medians, along the sides of the roads, and in every park. They were gorgeous!

Pacific Coffee was located in our hotel and we made a pit stop here every morning we could.  It opened at 8:00 a.m. which cramped my coffee drinkin’ style since we were up before 5:00 a.m. every morning, but we made it work.

Pacific Coffee had a cute lounge area with a book for visitors to sign.  Nixon and Ebby Lee took care of the signing for us.  🙂

Our stop for the day was the Beijing Zoo. Our guide was busy so our driver picked us up, showed us right where he’d be waiting using any type of body language he could think of, and we were to go to that spot when we were ready to leave.  I was a little nervous about that-I had no clue how we’d get back to the hotel if we couldn’t find the driver. 

SPOILER ALERT-It all worked out and the driver was in the exact location waiting for us.

Our kiddos were stoked to see the pandas, but let me tell you…the pandas were not the most sought after in this exhibit…the Slaughter kids were extremely popular.  haha!

Everyone and their brother wanted their picture taken with the American kids with the blonde hair.

The kiddos and I were waiting for Tab and Bowen to come around the corner and a lady put her cell phone right in front of us-just like this-so we’d take a selfie on her phone!  We laughed and laughed and wanted to remember it so we took our own selfie.

I must say everyone was super nice and polite.  They were all excited about seeing some Americans.  And I’m sure it was a little weird for my kids, but they did great.  By the end of the zoo trip, they were throwing up the peace sign and giving bunny ears in the pictures.  #goodsports

Slaughter Selfie

We had to take a picture in front of this giant lion statue.

The Aquarium is attached to the zoo but you have to have separate tickets.  We’d heard great things so we grabbed some tickets to check it out as well.  In this area, the aquarium played the LOUDEST whale and dolphin sounds.  When we first walked in the building, I thought there was a small child throwing a FIT.  I quickly realized it was supposed to sound like a marine animal.  Their favorite animals in the aquarium were hands-down the sharks!

My favorite eight-year-old.  🙂

We saw lots of other animals, took in all the scenery, and even let the boys play some football before calling it a day.

Hope you guys enjoyed Part 1 of our trip.  🙂

I promise to keep the China posts coming.  Have a great day!  XO

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  1. 6.7.17
    New Year New Me said:

    Thank you for sharing! Shed a few tears while reading. Also laughed a bunch. Cannot wait for your next post!

  2. 6.7.17
    Eileen said:

    I had the same experience in China with people wanting to take my picture. I have red hair, so people were stopping me everywhere to take a picture with me. It was so funny. I was also with my friends who are twins, so they were a huge hit as well!

  3. 6.7.17
    Anonymous said:

    Oh my goodness, BEST blog post EVER!!! I laughed, I cried (the homeless boy!), and seriously read the whole thing twice and to my husband aloud. I can't wait for more and completely understand and appreciate you wanting to keep some details private. Sending tons of love from Kansas!

  4. 6.7.17
    Anonymous said:

    Oh, my heavens! All of these pictures are so good, and I loved reading about the first part of your trip! Also, love that quote from your friend, Carrie! Can't wait to read more, friend!! XO

  5. 6.7.17
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    Oh Erika! I have been waiting such a long time for this post! I cannot wait to see your trip unfold via photographs. Love you guys so much!

  6. 6.7.17
    Megan @ Letting In The Light Blog said:

    Thank you for sharing your heart Erika! You're story about being stuck in your seat totally reminds me of our flight to Beijing. Except we were blocking in a sweet Chinese guy. He would sit patiently and as soon as we would move to get up he would literally jump out of his seat. I kept telling him it was fine to ask us to move. Ha!

  7. 6.7.17
    Bailey Bryant said:

    Yay for "Britt" posts! All of you look so happy to be in China in your pics!

  8. 6.7.17
    Unknown said:

    Very moving and can't wait to hear the rest of your story!

  9. 6.7.17
    Unknown said:

    The pictures! Yes! I laughed when I read that. I went to South Korea and Japan in college and felt like a celebrity the entire time because everyone wanted pictures of/with me. Still makes me laugh to this day because it was just so weird. I bet your kids made all kinds of peoples' days just by taking a picture!

  10. 6.7.17
    Angie said:

    So glad you're back!! Can't wait to read more of Bringing Home Britt!. Thankful ya'll had a safe trip to China and back and that Britt is with her forever family!

  11. 6.7.17
    Britt Hensley said:

    LOVE…but I would have been throwing up on that plane had I heard someone else puking! I can't handle that, and so sorry for your blardigan. I can't wait to see how the rest of the trip unfolded!! 🙂

  12. 6.7.17
    daniellem02 said:

    We are planning on starting the process when my youngest bio turns 2, next year. Was it a hard decision to take all the kids to China, rather than leaving them with a friend or relative? We really don't have anyone to watch our kids (they will probably be 8,5 and 3 when we travel, I am guessing)but I am nervous about traveling so far with them, specifically that they could get food poisoning, etc. I really do NOT want to end up in a Chinese hospital.

  13. 6.7.17
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    YES! So excited about these posts! Can't wait to read them all and get to know Britt more. As evidenced by our playtime at dinner, I think I might be a favorite at this point. I'm going to do what I can to keep that status. 😉

  14. 6.7.17
    Erika Slaughter said:

    Danielle-First of all-Congratulations!! It was a pretty easy decision for us and having the kids there really helped Britt come out of her shell. I took a ton of medicine. It was a bag full of "just in case" but also know I've heard several stories of guides taking the families to the doctor or hospital. I'm sure it happens all the time.

  15. 6.7.17
    brookerichardson said:

    I loved this so much. Not the puking part of course but adored all the pics and can hardly wait for the next post.

  16. 6.7.17
    Kathleen said:

    Thanks for sharing with us. I applaud you for keeping some of it private. I am an adoptive Mom and agree that it is her story. I know you will find the right balance of what to share and what to keep private. Well done!

  17. 6.7.17
    Andrea - Momfessionals said:

    Oh, girl. The plane story!!!! Your blardigan!!!!

  18. 6.7.17
    Paula said:

    Oh what a sweet recap. Well, not the vomits. How you held back??..You are my super hero. She's.
    The sweet boy…
    And all the picture taking. So odd. What do they do with it? Heyn Uncle Frank…she the blonde family we saw at the zoo? Cool huh? Weird. Lol

  19. 6.7.17
    Carolyn Reitz said:

    Such a sweet story. My sister and her family lived in Hong Kong for about 5 years. People would stop them all the time to take pictures because her kiddos all had blond hair.

  20. 6.7.17
    Alex said:

    Thank you so much for sharing! You have no idea the respect I have for you holding back parts of Britt's story (even though I'm curious haha.) Still praying blessings over the transition for this little one!

  21. 6.7.17
    Laura E. said:

    Hooray! Love hearing your story…even though the last few minutes of that flight sounds awful! Looking forward to reading more about your time in China and meeting your sweet Britt!

  22. 6.7.17
    McFarland Family said:

    You poor thing on the plane.
    I just love reading yalls story and all this amazingness going on. God is soooo good!!

  23. 6.7.17
    Jan Fisher said:

    I have been looking forward to these posts! Can't wait to read more…
    And, I sure hope you were able to get that blardigan washed…oh my!

  24. 6.7.17
    Elaine Welte said:

    I am dying that everyone wanted pics of your kids!!!!

  25. 6.7.17
    live compassionately said:

    That plane ride would have been a nightmare for me – I do not do puke – mine or anyone else's! I'm so sorry that happened! I LOVED this post. I respect you so much for keeping part of her story private and letting her decide what to share! You have a beautiful family and I love getting a small peek into your little corner of the world!

  26. 6.7.17
    Amanda @ That Inspired Chick said:

    Oh Erika!!! The plane!!! And that sweet little boy y'all said hi to just breaks my heart!! Loved this post!! Can't wait for more!

    That Inspired Chick

  27. 6.7.17
    Corinne said:

    I love that people wanted to take pictures with your kids. My Dad travels to China often, and Americans are such a novelty there, especially BLOND Americans! And I bet Tab was a big hit too. They love tall people. My dad is only about 5'8" and even he is tall by Chinese standards. Your kids likely made people's day just by smiling for a photo.

  28. 6.7.17
    Olivia at Joyfully Prudent said:

    That thing your roommate said about adoption…that hit me hard. Breaks my heart that all kids do not have parents who love them…even those kids who "have" parents.

    And I didn't know American kids (maybe blondes in particular?) were rare there…I guess that makes sense though. I'm so used to many different races here in the U.S. maybe.

    Girl, the plane ride! I feel for you. Their throw up would have made me vomit! Bless your heart!

  29. 6.7.17
    crazymom said:

    Don't stop!!! Keep them coming. You are an amazing mom and I respect you so much for the words at the beginning of this post. Thanks for sharing what you can and feel from your heart. God is so good!

  30. 6.7.17
    Sarah Shaneyfelt said:

    Love this recap! I'm so excited to read the rest of the story, and I totally respect your family's right to privacy regarding Britt's adoption! It's a beautiful thing!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  31. 6.7.17
    Unknown said:

    When we went to China my husband had a beard. He ended up in many Chinese family photos because beards are rare. Lol!


  32. 6.7.17
    Shelly @ The Queen in Between said:

    When my oldest son played baseball for the USA team they went to Japan to play and the fans were crazy over the Americans. I never thought him being a blondie might have had something to do with it. He threw up the peace sign to them one night and they went then he kept doing it everywhere they went haha. So excited for you guys!

  33. 6.7.17
    Hanna said:

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story with us! So happy for your family! Continued prayers heading y'alls way!

  34. 6.8.17
    Whitney Pegram said:

    I've been so excited about these precious posts! Girl, the story about the five year old little boy you shared gave me chills. Only God ❤. Can't wait to hear more!

  35. 6.8.17
    Tanya said:

    I was so excited to see your update. I really respect your decision to keep parts of your adoption journey private. And I feel for you on that plane ride. My son went through a phase when he would get sick the last few minutes of a flight. It's such a mess and there's not much you can do! Can't wait to read more about China and Britt!

  36. 6.9.17
    Simple Purposeful Living said:

    When we went to Australia with my 5 month old and 2.5 year old BLONDE babies, we had HUNDREDS of Asian tourists taking our photos. I will never forget it…they wanted nothing to do with my husband, just me and my babies. I have hundreds of pictures somewhere in China! It's a little crazy but we laughed too! I love following along on your journey! Thanks for sharing and my husband and I are praying about adoption. I love that you two weren't on the same page but arrived there, I am confident God will do the same for us :). xoxo ERIN

  37. 6.9.17
    redemptiverevelations said:

    That is so funny about the pictures. Some friends of ours went to Japan when their very blonde daughter was a baby and the same thing happened to them everywhere they went. ☺

  38. 6.13.17
    Ann Marie said:

    I'm a few days behind! But having so much fun with coffee in hand while reading about your trip! WHAT FUN!!! (except for those last few minutes on the plane!)

  39. 6.14.17
    Kerry said:

    I laughed so hard I cried when you described everyone wanting to take y'alls picture! That happened with me and some Chinese tourists. I was walking my dog in a park and they were waving wildly motioning with their camera. I assumed they wanted me to take THEIR photo, no no, the wanted a photo of me. It also included what I can only describe as an invasion of personal space to get a close up of my blue eyes. Lol

  40. 6.16.17
    Terra Heck said:

    Wow, what a whirlwind of fun! I love that everyone had to take pics of your kids. Isn't it crazy how they look "normal" to us but look "different" in a different country.

  41. 6.25.17
    Morgan said:

    Would you recommend your Beijing hotel to others? We are adopting a little girl from China (Kunming also!) and should travel in August. Our agency books our other two hotels, but I have no idea where to start with Beijing! We plan to spend a few days sightseeing at the beginning of the trip also! Thank you so much for sharing your journey in China! It is so nice to get tips from another Mama! Britt is a little doll! Congratulations!

  42. 7.5.17
    Kelli @ A Deeper Joy said:

    Oh my gosh…the throwing up. I could NOT have handled that. I haven't experienced that on a plane and I sure hope I never do!