is a Toronto Journeywoman who shares her love story of the
three benefactors who helped her get to China to adopt her
second daughter. At a time in history when air travel is more
complicated than it's ever been, this is a refreshing tale,
husband Russ and I are the parents of a wonderful seven year
old adopted Chinese daughter. This week we learned that our
request for a second daughter has been answered and we will
be flying to China in six weeks to receive eight month old
Beckett Mei-Li. Anybody who has ever flown even one hour with
a baby or toodler will appreciate how difficult a twenty hour
flight with a child who barely knows you could be. Once you've
read my story you'll appreciate why this is a love letter
addressed to my sister, Erica and to Steve and Mindy, our
angels at Aeroplan.
sister is very smart...
Russ and I were married nearly four years ago, my sister
Erica Ehm gave
us the most delicious and unexpected wedding present.
Let me preface this by explaining something you may
not know about Erica – she is the queen of bargain
hoarding. She’s got loyalty points from twelve
different companies and will drive across town simply
to shop somewhere that will offer three extra bonus
points on a can of soup. I find this greatly impressive.
I, on the other hand, cannot even find my one loyalty
card in the morass that is my giant wallet and won’t
ever try to recover a quarter that rolls under my car.
Now – don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t
mean she’s cheap. It means she’s smart -
very smart. But I digress…
amazing wedding present...
to the present (and the present). At our wedding, Erica
offered up a tiny gift-wrapped box and my husband and
I opened it expectantly. Inside was a small travel alarm
clock with a piece of paper stuck in it that read “Aeroplan
miles to fly Business Class to get your next baby”.
Wow. My first thought was ‘how the hell did she
collect that many Aeroplan miles’ and then I remembered
she was a jet setting celebrity (I tend to forget that).
Next I thought ‘holy crap!!!’ and I cried.
wedding gift gestated for the next three and a half
years until lo and behold, the time to collect on the
present arrived. Russ and I received word that our chosen
daughter, Beckett Mei-Li was waiting to meet us in China.
We would be advised as to when we needed to travel to
Beijing. Hubby and I knew that trying to score Biz Class
Aeroplan tickets to China a mere six weeks prior to
departure is a long shot at best. In fact, when I called
Aeroplan customer service a few months ago to test the
waters, the very nice agent kind of laughed when I asked
about generally availabilities. “Madam",
he said politely “People book a seat like that
up to a year in advance”. Gulp.
I went to Erica (the jet setting celebrity) with a cry
for help. She reached into her bag of contacts (and
let me tell you – that’s one giant bag),
and pulled out the name of Steve Allmen, General Manager,
Business Development, Aeroplan. ‘Not bad’
I thought. A call went out to Steve who said that he
would do his best when the time came.