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Thursday, August 19, 2010

September 6, 2008

Day 8
Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam & HaiOi, VeitNam

We needed to travel from SaiGon VeitNam, to the country's capital in Hanoi, to finish the "business" of adoption.  We packed up the hotel room and our new children, a diaper bag full of goodies, and traveled to the airport.  We were given some important documentation that we were told to be very careful to not lose and be sure to present it "at the right time" when at the airport.  Surely we'd know just when "the right time" would be?  I was worried I wouldn't know when that was.  These docs essentially said, yes these Asian Viet children now were in legal custody of these unlikely Caucasian parents, and they are positively not kidnapping them... all in VietNamese legal-ese of course.  Turns out, even though we no clue of when and to whom to present these docs, airline officials did know, and they very very carefully looked over the documents.  minutes passed and they kept looking through them.  A supervisor was called to examine the docs.  I kept thinking, what if they find something wrong?  Would I just run with my child strapped in the Ergo and a diaper bag full of goodies?  But ultimately there was no need to worry, and we boarded a very full plane for an uneventful 2 hour ride to Hanoi.  Cheerios were everywhere by the time we landed.
On the plane from SaiGon to HanOi

I will never forget that feeling as the plane lifted off the tarmac.  Such sorrow that I was taking my son and my daughter from their home.  Their homeland.  I regretted it so, and I was so very sad for them when they knew nothing of what was happening and the beauty of  this land we were forcing them to leave behind.  My tears came easily.  Although we've made a commitment to come back someday to SaiGon,  we have no idea when "someday" will be.  It is their homeland, and I was responsible for taking them away from it.  I wish it didn't have to be this way for them to have a better future, but it did.  I wish they could know their homeland and love it as much as I love my great state of Arizona.  Someday we will return.
We spent the remainder of the day finding and unpacking in our hotel.  We unpacked into a Western-style "suite-style" room on the 23rd floor of the Somerset Grand Hotel.
The bedroom of our hotel suite complete with two cribs

Main living area of our hotel suite in The Somerset Hotel in Hanoi

We looked out our window onto this incredible city.  The temperature was a little cooler, but there was still a layer of smog and moist humid haze that layered the city.  One sight we wanted to visit was the infamous Hanoi Hilton, that John McCain was imprisoned at during the VietNam War, (referred to as the American War in vietNam.)   If you're not farmiliar with it, The Honoi Hilton isn't a hotel.  It was a prison.  I had read McCain's autobiography in high school, and Papa was/still is a staunch Republican from a long line of staunch Republicans.  And don't forget we're from Arizona, the state McCain is from!  Papa flipped on the television, sad that he had likely missed McCain's acceptance speech for the Presidential nomination from the Republican Convention.   Amazingly, he found the last bit of coverage of the Republican convention, covered live, and we finally had the familiar drone of English background noise coming from the TV as we looked out on the city.
I wonder where the Hanoi Hilton is?  
Sorry you missed the McCain speech.
Views of HanOi out our hotel window

We looked on a map, oriented ourselves and tried to get a visual of the infamous prison.  Then another surreal thing happened, one not really related to adoption.  Papa found the prison... directly below our hotel, kinda attached to our hotel/sharing a common wall.  We looked down into the courtyard of the Hanoi Hilton and simultaneously heard the voice of a American VietNam veteran and POW speaking about his internment with McCain in the very prison we were looking down at.   We were just amazed at the coincidental timing of it.  Then McCain spoke and accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States while we studied this city from far above.  And I don't care which political party you affiliate yourself with, it was powerful stuff!  Amazing to see it, to look down on it, and to be there at just that moment!  I was never so proud of my country and the soldiers that sacrificed so much to afford me and my Viet children so many opportunities.  It was an amazing moment.   We decided to visit it the very next day.

Our first hotel had a shower only, and this new hotel had a bathtub, so we finally had an opportunity to give the babes baths.  We had been told by a prior adoptive parent that children at the orphanage were momentarily held above a large sink and simply and quickly sprayed off.  So we expected T&J would be scared of baths and being immersed in water.  But we tried to gently ease them in.  I sat in the water and  Papa handed Jude to me.  Saying he was scared would be an understatement.  He howled and drew his legs up as far as possible.  I reassured him, but nothing soothed him.  Well, we'd try a bath another day.  Tess, also wailed, but was not as terrified.   So many new things in their lives, and it was our responsibility to introduce them all in the appropriate time.

Jude was finally taking his bottle regularly, and his gag reflex was quickly improving, enabling him to eat Cheerios and crackers and fruits.  He was still waking with night terrors a couple times a night and occasionally during nap time.

To be continued...


  1. It is always amazing and powerful to be reminded of the size of history and yet how it touches everything and everyone no matter what ones political affiliations.

  2. oh, I so remember the feelings I had on the way to the airport leaving Addis Ababa with our three. They were very much like yours as you left the tarmac. I cried and cried and wondered what in the .... we were doing? Oh, yes, the Lord brought us here. Right. He will bring us Home. Right. Thank you Father.


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