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Saturday, August 14, 2010

September 10, 2008

Day 12

HanOi, VietNam - Taipei, Taiwan - San Francisco, California, USA - Phoenix, Arizona - Home!

We woke up the morning of the 10th knowing it would be a 36 hour day, and when well finally fell asleep that night, we'd be in our own beds... yet it would still be the 10th of September.  It was gonna be a long day.  For as much as I was nervous and anxious to make this very lengthy journey back home, half way across the world with 2 toddlers that still really didn't like us much, I so wanted to get home and create a routine and a sense of normalcy.  So I was totally ready to board that plane and get started on the journey.  At the worse I figured the babies would scream, and we'd anger a plane full of strangers.  But time stops for no one, and neither do airplanes, so I knew that even in a worse case scenario we'd be home by the end of the day.

Now I will say, that Papa and I are really not the kind of people who leave tons of extra time to spare when going to the airport.  Not that we cut it short.  So we left our hotel 3 hours prior to our flight.  Ok, we meant to leave our hotel 3 hours prior to our flight, but checking out took a little longer than expected and then there was the whole loading up two toddlers thing that ate up some time.  Top that off with finding a taxi that could hold us all, and before we knew it, we loaded into the taxi about 2 hours prior to our departure.  But it was really only a 20 minute drive, 30 tops, so all was well.
Not really.
It's a 30 minute drive without traffic.  It's a Mama-hair-pulling-taxi-driver-with-no-sense-of-urgency-never-ending drive with rush hour traffic.  I melted into a pool of stress right there in that slow moving taxi, melting into the Naugahyde seats. We arrived at the airport 20 before departure.  We literally were running down concourses, bags flying. and toddlers tucked under each arm trying to make our way through security check points and to gates as quickly as possible.  The first ordinary miracle of the trip---I don't know how we made it, but we did.  

We made the quick 1 hour-ish hop to Taiwan uneventfully.  We had a couple hours layover in Taiwan which we used to attempt to get as much energy out of the babes as possible.  We had the a huge flight in front of us, 14 hours to San Fransisco.  

Ordinary miracle #2---Thanks to the most amazing miracle worker of a travel agent, (and I know many of you know who Todd G. is.  He's infamous in adoption circles.)  with reservations made only 2 days prior, we sat in the very front row of the 747.  Those would be the seats that are in the very very front in nose of the plane, with only two seats in a row.  Papa and Livy on one side, and across the row from them, me and ???  These were not first class seats.  They were an upgrade but not first class.  Time passed, all the passengers boarded and no one sat next to me.  No one. 

A very proper Asian business man in suit and tie sat directly behind Papa and Livy.  Prior to the plane taking off, he said hello to us.  He asked how old the babies were.  He cooed and fussed over them a bit.  He was kind.  He asked us if we liked our seats.  Oh yes, we enthusiastically replied.  He requested a different seat and promptly moved... away... from us.  Liv moved back one row, and Papa, Livy, and I each had our own row to ourselves.  The airline provided a bassinet, that hooks into the wall in front of the seats, for each babe.  And we all spread out.

Ordinary miracle #3---The babies slept.  They slept not a little but a lot!  With the help of some Dimeatapp they slept almost 11+ of the 14 hour flight.  (Yes, we had discussed it with our pediatrician prior.)  Tess slept in her bassinet.  Jude slept on Papa, which was extremely uncomfortable for him hour upon hour.  But at least Jude slept as the alternative could have been very bad.

Tess and Jude were US citizens the moment we touched foot on US soil.  And after all that the gov't had done to inhibit this process, it happened the very moment our feet got off the plane.  Ordinary miracle #4.

Now we had be told horror stories about going through customs at LAX.  But we had hopes that San Francisco would be less busy.  We arrived in San Francisco with 3 hours to get through customs.   We only needed about 20 minutes!  Ordinary miracle #5.

The 2+ hour flight home to Phoenix.  Ordinary miracle #6?
Insert sound of needle scratching across record here.
No.  Our luck had run out.  We were crammed in the back of the plane, with not a seat on the plane to spare.  The babes were done traveling.  After all, we all were on hour 34-ish of our 38 hour day.  They wined.  They cried.  A lot.  I'm pretty sure I did too.   I'm sure the passengers around us were equally glad it was only a 2 hour flight.  

We asked for no fan-fair and even no family and friends to meet us at the airport.  These very few, very humble pictures were taken my my mother-in-law's camera phone.  But seeing as how the primary audience for this story is T&J, I am so so grateful to have them, and I want T&J to have them here.  

Notice how Tess has not only spun her little body away from me, but has her arm against me, pushing herself away and bracing herself for what?  She never rested herself against my body.  She was always turning herself around, trying to get away from eye contact and me.  In contrast Jude looks towards the  conversation and engages with his eyes.  Notice nobody holds Tess but me.
There was much work to be done.  

The jet lag I experienced in the next month, yes I said month as it took at least that long to get my body adjusted, was horrible.  I lost 15 lbs in the first 2 weeks home from jet lag.  With two babies that were also trying to adjust to the new timezone, there was little sleeping to be done in the middle of the night.  And my days were spent lovin' on my children that were left at home during our trip.  

The quantity of doctor appointments in the following month were simply overwhelming.  Two days after our arrival home, we visited the pediatrician.  I don't remember anything about that visit, except all 4 of us, Papa, Tess, Jude and me, falling asleep in the examining room as we waited for the doctor.    

My mom, who had been watching the boys for 2 weeks, needed to get home, and she left Thursday.
Papa went back to work on Friday.  He had a business to run.
A couple months prior, I had arranged a birthday party for Boo.  We celebrated with a party for him, and 15 of his friends that Saturday.  
Ultimately, Livy only missed 2 weeks of school and returned to school the following Monday.  
Jude started treatments and casting on his feet the following week.  He had another surgery in November.
We "readopted" T&J in the US court systems the following June.  

To be continued Thursday... one last time for some refections.

1 comment:

  1. I am finally having time to catch up with my blog reading--I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures of the bike riding--what a cool event to be a part of!!

    Happy New Year to you and your family!


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