the journey home

Our time in China was far exceeded our expectations.  We grew by one, enjoyed cultural highlights, loved seeing their birth country through the eyes of our children, and benefitted from the company of two loving grandparents.

We truly hated for the trip to end.  For all its frustrating parts and occasional weirdness, we love being in the land our children come from and would probably visit more if it weren't for the cost and time involved in flying there.

The time involved...the ONLY reason we were the sole folks in the lobby of the China Hotel at 4:10am on Saturday morning (Friday afternoon at 4:10 *home* time) waiting for our van driver to take us to the Hong Kong border.

while this next picture is out of sequence, I just had to show the front/back of our awesome team M8 shirts designed for us by my talented friend Melissa.  If you can dream it, she can create it on a variety of mediums not limited to shirts.  
check her out at Ridge Farm Designs!
did i mention that this is the softest, MOST comfy shirt I've ever owned? 

Our driver was a *wee* bit tired and was giving all the classic signs of struggling to stay awake.  That meant that both Ian and I (he sitting in the front seat beside the driver and me right behind the driver) were on full vigilant duty to react if he dozed off.  Most stressful two hours I spent in the country...

Finally we arrived at the border, piled out of the large van and then into two smaller vans which would actually drive us across the border and then take us to the airport.  So four hours after we left our hotel in Guangzhou, we were zipping through the Hong Kong airport looking for our gate.

After a 15+ minute walk...yes, that airport is HUGE...we found a section of seats and made ourselves comfortable as we waited to board our long haul flight.

Before we knew it we were getting settled in for the 15+ HOUR flight.  (All told it ended up being something like 15 hours 12 minutes in the air.  And yes, it felt that long and maybe longer).

In cattle class the seats were configured 3/3/3, not exactly perfect for our party of 10.  We worked it out with my Irish triplets in a center section and I had "the wee ones."

Grant had the luxury of siting by himself and even sitting next to an empty one to tap him to fix their screen or have to go to the bathroom.  I may have been a bit jealous of that fact...

That left Ian, Daniel and Mom to their little pod.

We watched movies.
We watched TV.
We played video games.
We read books.
We did sticker books.
And when that failed to entertain us, we slept.

For the record I was SO JEALOUS of my new son and his tiny shapeshifter abilities to fold in half and sleep in that seat.  Because for whatever reason I just couldn't get comfortable and had a really difficult time staying asleep when I did finally doze off...probably because of the whiplash I was giving myself as my head jerked about.

After what seemed something like eternity plus a day...honest, you'd think after seven trips back and forth I'd be a bit better of a flyer...we finally landed.  Some of us were even still smiling.

We paused for a second as we deplaned (which wasn't a big deal...we weren't holding anyone up.  We were the last ones off as we had to stop for a barf bag fill up.  Dramamine can only last so long...)

 to commemorate that Nicholas became a US citizen in Newark.  While I wish inwardly that there was a direct flight from China to NC so his immigration Visa would be stamped in our home state, one other of his siblings also achieved citizenship in Newark, and citizenship is citizenship.

I carried my sweet boy down the long hallway to immigration check where our family waited in the visitors line with our Chinese citizen family member instead of going through the returning US citizens line.

Our immigration officer welcomed us home, asked a few questions about our adoption process, offered congratulations and then sent us on our way to have Nicholas' documents checked and collected.

Before long we were reunited with Mom and Grant and made our way down to our gate for the final leg of our trip where my son once again made me jealous with his ability to get comfortable and sleep through anything.

Three of his siblings did the same.

And then finally we were in the air.

This time I wasn't interested in slowing down...

I knew that we had quite the crew waiting for us on the outside.

This is my sister and her kids plus most of our "Sunday family adoption fellowship group" that met for about five years plus one other local adoptive family we've become friends with.  
And let me tell you that when you're tired out of your mind and have been missing home, there's not much of a sweeter sight than your big kids running ahead and being embraced by some of their closest friends.

We chatted a bit, men went down with Ian to retrieve our luggage and then we were noisily escorted to our van by folks we love.  It was an awesome welcome home!

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I just LOVE the coming home story!! I've often said- I will never go on a flight that long unless I'm bringing home a child. It's SOOOOOO long! How my husband does it every other month or so, I'll never know! UGH! But the smiles at the end were worth it- your kids look SO happy to be home! :)