Boy, was that a long trip home! Matt said I had done my math wrong, and he was right. We got up at 4 pm EST on Thursday and didn’t walk in the door at Don and Linda’s house until 9 pm EST on Friday. For the most part, the flights went smoothly. We continually had a problem with our tickets, so for two of the three flights home we spent about 45 minutes at the check-in counter. This made gave us very little time to make it to the flight, and each time we had to go through security twice, and it seemed like we had to show our boarding passes and passports about four times each trip. It seems redundant to have to show our passports to get the boarding pass, the boarding passes and passports to be able to get on the plane, and then have the stewardess standing by the door to the plane request to see it all again! They actually held our flight for us in Shanghai, and we spent so much time getting processed through security and running from the domestic to international terminal with suitcases and a 30 pound toddler on my back that we didn’t even have time to use the restroom or get a drink of water. It was such a relief to step out into the cool weather at home after a week of being constantly sweaty in tropical Guangzhou.
Since Leo is barely under 2, we decided to purchase a lap ticket for the flights home. We figured he would be clingy and not want to sit in his own seat, anyway. He slept most of the flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai on my lap, and during the flight from Shanghai to Seattle he often shared Vincent’s seat. That flight was the worst trip we had because Leo spent a few hours in the middle crying. Fortunately, he wasn’t very loud and the noise of the plane drowned out most of the sound. Vincent and Leo slept several hours of the long flight, and Gregory took a half-hour nap. None of the adults did more than doze off for 5 minutes here and there. We finally arrived at Seattle, and while we were processed through customs Leo’s magic brown envelope was opened and he became the newest US citizen. He looks pretty happy at the thought but really, he was just happy to be off that plane!
I was dreading the flight from Seattle to Cincinnati, but we were all so exhausted that everyone but Linda slept pretty much the entire four hour flight. Gregory was asleep before take-off and I woke him up as we were landing. Even Mary Evelyn fell asleep for the first time on the trip. Matt’s dad met us at the airport along with his sister and her family. It was great to see some familiar faces, and to be back home in America. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest impression. Mary Evelyn remarked “You know, I was never homesick for America when we were in China, but it is *really* nice to use a restroom with lots of toilet paper and soap and not a single squatty potty!”
One thing that I had wondered about was how the Chinese people would react to seeing Leo be a part of our family. While the Chinese adoption program is common knowledge here in America, most people in China don’t seem to be aware of it. It is common for someone to approach a family’s guide and ask why the American couple has a Chinese baby. Of course, it is similar here in America. Most people are unaware that some American children are adopted out of the country each year (most are private infant adoptions, but a few foster kids will find a permanent family in Canada). I know Americans feel both angry and ashamed that we do not have homes for all of our children, and I expected the Chinese to feel the same way.
It really didn’t seem that way, though. The most negative reaction I came across was when we were flying from Nanjing to Guangzhou. As we exited the plane there were two Chinese women waiting to clean the plane and I heard one say to the other “orphanage baby” in English. For the most part, people have made very positive remarks. At the end of our long flight home, a Chinese stewardess came by to coo over Leo and said “You have changed his future. He had no future in China without a family, and now his future is bright. He is fortunate to have these brothers and sister, and now he will have many opportunities in American.”
That’s it for today. We need to get back home to our real house where I am actually looking forward washing laundry using my labor saving washing and drying machines! I do anticipate writing a few more posts over the next week or two letting you know how Leo is adjusting, how his doctor’s appointments went, and things along those lines. Thanks again to all of you who followed along on our journey!