The journey home

**Some day someone is going to come up with a "quick and easy" way to get over jet lag.  (Sure wish it could be me.  Just think of all the kids at New Day and An Orphan's Wish that we could sponsor with the proceeds from selling that cure...)  But for right now there is no easy way around it and I'm in that dreadful time where I feel that if I ever get on a plane again it will be too soon!**

We stayed at the Sky City Marriott in Hong Kong that is just next to the airport.  Really nice hotel, but we were in rooms with no tubs, there was no free wifi, AND breakfast was going to cost us $100 USD for our family.  Um breakfast?...$100 United States dollars?...No thank you.  Not even eggs Benedict for all six of us with champagne mimosas for the grown ups could possibly cost near that much.  We declined that offer and opted to finish off our granola bar stash in the morning.  At any rate, we quickly got showered and ready for bed.

In the family not quite two weeks and already trying to fill Daddy's shoes.
Thursday morning I woke up around 6 ~ you know, fear of sleeping too late and missing our flight sort of thing ~ and decided to go ahead and get ready.  Eventually we got everything shoved back into suitcases, had our carry on bags ready, and walked down to the lobby.  At 9:30am we walked out of the hotel to catch the airport shuttle.  (26 hours later we walked through our front door here at home).  Overall our kids were great.  Caleb and Darcy sat in the row behind us with Mom ~ part of the way the woman beside Darcy read their Chinese comic books to them ~ and Kylie and Daniel sat with Ian and me.  The "big flight" was loooonnnnng, and while Daniel only slept for about four of the hours, he was so good and didn't really cry any at all.  Out of sheer boredom I wanted to a few times, but I managed to hold myself together each time the urge to cry hit.  It's so depressing to be excited that you are halfway there and then realize that you still have about seven hours to go...

Finally we had a very smooth touchdown in Chicago and while "technically" it wasn't official until the other side of immigration, we stopped to snap a few photos of one of America's newest citizens.

Proudly waving that flag while smiling at other passengers from our flight.
Our layover in Chicago, while considerably longer than we needed, was at least bearable as there was a great play area for the kids.  (Of course sitting and watching them play was pure torture for we grownups as keeping our eyes open was a real struggle...)  We also grabbed a quick meal at Chili's ~ yay for salads! ~ and took a long walk before the last leg of the trip.  Thankfully the Chicago/NC flight is a short one because for as angelic as Daniel was on the Hong Kong/Chicago flight, he wasn't on that last one.  Granted his world had been so rocked, he was now in an area where most of the people looked and sounded like us instead of him, and it had been about 24 hours since he was able to lay down to sleep, but still, it was bad.  I've never felt so relieved to feel the wheels of a plane touch the runway as I was that night.

We were warmly greeted with signs and balloons by Kathy (Ian's mom), my sister and her kids and some of our closest friends.  While exhaustion was kicking in at that point, familiar faces rallied us for the drive home.  Daniel surprised us by not protesting his car seat one bit, and the ride home was quiet until we got off the highway.  From then on we heard the big kids noting how close we were as they noticed certain buildings and intersections.  When we finally pulled in to the driveway it simply felt so good to be home.  There we discovered another sign,

the house had been cleaned, the fridge was well stocked with fresh fruit, veggies and milk, and a our sweet Maya was happily waiting by the door.  We weren't really sure how Daniel would react to her, but we needn't have worried ~ it was love at first hug!

Our big kids were pretty happy to see Maya as well, especially DQ.

At that point we let Daniel explore the downstairs of his new house for a few minutes and then it was bath time.  I showered quickly while the kids were getting their scrub down and then Ian showered while the kids played for a few more minutes.  And during that time, Daniel got on the stairs and, well...I have mentioned that while he is close to three, his gait ~ especially when he is tired ~ still qualifies him as a toddler.  He lost his balance and rolled down the bottom five stairs and then hit the slate floor at the bottom.  And of course he cut his head.  Even though it was pretty small, if you or someone you love has ever had a head wound, you know how those can bleed.  So at 12:40 am Mom stayed here with the big kids while Ian, Daniel and I headed to the ER to see if he needed stitches.

(Yes, I'm serious.  Would I make something like that up?)

Blessedly the ER department here really hurries families with small kids through and we never even saw the waiting room.  Ian was still signing the admitting papers (fun when Daniel hasn't been added to our insurance policy yet ~ he will be retroactively as soon as Ian gets to work to have his HR person file the addition) while Daniel and I were taken into triage and we went straight from there to the room.  He was so brave and actually allowed me to comfort him during the cleaning which was his least favorite part.  Thankfully there were no signs or reasons to suspect a concussion and we ended up just getting some Dermabond and were back home by 2:30.  What a way to welcome our son to his new home.

In case anyone was worried, a baby gate has now been installed to keep him off the stairs when we're not walking with him.  One thing though, between Caleb and Daniel and their lack of fear when it comes to physical challenges, Ian noted that it is a good thing we live so close to a good ER department.  Oh the joys of boys...

More on our first few days home to come.  When I can keep my eyes open past nine.  :)


Walking to China said...

Welcome home! What a great journey.

5ennie said...

Welcome back!!! I'm so sorry about the ER trip, I can't imagine having to do that after flying home from China.. Yes, joys of boys :) All three of my boys have gotten stitches at least a couple of times each (we used to collect stitches from various trips :), but the girls have never needed them..

Cindy M said...

No, you cannot make that stuff up, girl. So glad you're home...praying that jet lag is short-lived, just in case we have a late-night chat in our futures. :)

jody said...

Love love love the photo of Daniel and the dog!!!

Jess and Tim said...

Praying for your jet lag! I remember like it was yesterday-so not fun. Sleep when you can-hugs!!


Gwen said...

It's always an adventure, isn't it? :) Glad you're all home safe and sound. Love the picture of Daniel with your dog!
Try to get some rest when you can. Re-entry is a little rough, as I'm sure you know! :)

Sean and Mic said...

Welcome Home!
I absolutely loved following your journey!!! Every day you were the first thing I looked at when I got to work!
Sorry- but the trip to the ER part is funny. Poor kiddo- he is going to be reminded of that for the next 40 years! But what a great story. And love the pic of him hugging the dog. Priceless.
What a great family you have- all 6 of you!!

Ruth Marie said...

at least you made it back to the states before you had to take him for stitches give him a hug for me

Anonymous said...

So glad that you guys made it home. As for the boys and lack of fear, I have that market cornered up here. I think our ER has a dedicated room to us. Glad that your little guy is ok and praying for a much less dramatic transition over the next few days.

Julie Shively

Heather said...

You guys don't like quiet homecomings do you?? LOL!
So glad you all are home. Sounds like Daniel has always been part of the family. Praying jet lag goes by quickly!!!

anything but LoKEY said...

Sounds like a pretty good homecoming other than the ER part. ;) I am shocked at how he reacted to the dog. That is so sweet...and awesome! Ours was completely petrified of anything on four legs. I know that was a relief to see.

Congratulations on making it back! I know you are exhausted. Praying for rest and recovery for all of you.

Traci said...

You definitely get Mom Of The Year award!!!

PaPa Gordon said...

I really Enjoyed you post. Daniel was such a sweet boy. But really, All the kids at New Day were. He was such a Good kid but at times he was kinda, how do I say it, Moody(?). Some days he just needed a good cry and to be hugged/held. Everybody has days like that. Days when you just feel that need and if it is not met, then yes a good cry can help. I am Soo Glad that y'all could hear the Call to Love a Child half way around the world and to answer that call. May God Bless Y'all.
PaPa Gordon