It took us over two hours to get through customs and immigration, retrieve our luggage, wait around for our umbrella strollers to be hand delivered, exchange some money, have a bathroom break, and have another bathroom break as little guy had an accident. We didn't realize so much time had passed when we began looking for information and instructions for getting on the subway. Little did we know we were lining ourselves up to be in the Beijing subway at rush hour, with luggage, with children, and with extreme tiredness from jetlag. (Try Googling Beijing subway at rush hour!)
A man began to watch us even as we were getting in line for the train tickets. He kept his eye on us as we went through security and then asked us if he could assist us getting the two umbrella strollers through the gate--which at that point had just rolled off the security belt. We allowed him to help--as it seemed everyone was in a hurry, and we didn't want to block anyone.
We had packed lightly. For five people, we had packed two medium pieces of rolling luggage that the strollers could attach to, one rolling "carry on", a backpack and a camera case. Thus, Derek could roll two, and I could roll one and still have a free hand to hold Andrew's hand, who was holding Cherish's hand. We were ready for an adventure but unaware what was ahead.
The man helped us onto the first train. No problem. It was above ground and the first/last leg of the line. Not many people.
The Chinese man began talking to us--in perfect English and without an accent! One of the first things the man said was for Derek to wear his backpack in the front of him. Derek turned it around. Over the course of time, the man told us we would be getting off where the train intersects with the subway. He said we would get off and get a cab. Derek asked why he thought we needed to do that. He said, "You have luggage, so you will be distracted. You will be the perfect target for a pick-pocket. And, you have children." He didn't say much more about it, but we knew he was serious. When we arrived at the appropriate stop, he told us to follow him. Told us! We all got off, and he kept a close eye on the children. He told us exactly what to do and kept instructing us to follow him. He got us outside the train station and told us to stay put. He went and got a taxi, began asking us for our bags, and instructed us to get in the cab--as he began putting our luggage into the trunk of the cab. Then, he came to the window and said, "I have instructed the driver exactly where to take you. He will take you to your hotel." He tapped on the window as a sign for the driver to take off, and simultaneously said, "And I already paid for your cab!" as the driver was driving away. Derek and I gasped. The man was out of earshot before we could even thank him. At that split second, images of child abduction, child loss (from separation), stolen passports and stolen adoption money stang my mind. I bust into tears of thanksgiving.
After the children were in bed, Derek and I talked about the whole situation. We discovered we had very similar images go through our minds the moment the man said, "And I already paid for your cab!" Also, we each kept hearing in our heads the phrase, "Divine intervention". We are convinced God placed that man in our path to rescue us from potential horror. (While the man was with us, the Scripture verse that says we can "entertain angels unaware" kept going through my head.)
We lifted--and continue to lift--our hearts in overflowing gratitude for God's intervention and for the prayers of the Saints. Thank you for praying for us on this journey!
We are so thankful for a God Who knows the future, and Who chooses to intervene on behalf of His children!
(Remember, try Googling "Beijing subway at rush hour". You'll get a picture of what we would have encountered with children, luggage, jetlag, etc.)