"Tell your children of Him, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation." Joel 1:3

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home Sweet Home - Part 1

We're here. I can't hardly believe it. After 17 hours of travelling, we made it back to Mpls. on Friday at 4:30pm. Of course, for the three of us, it felt like 5am on Saturday. The past couple days have been a blur of family, home, jet-lag, and sleep....sort of.
We left our hotel on Friday morning at 10am to get to the airport for our 12:30pm flight. We flew first from Hong Kong to San Fransisco which took 11 1/2 hours. Olivia had her own seat since she was over 2 yrs. old and we were thankful for that. We sat her in it and didn't pick her up as long as she didn't reach and ask. We knew that as soon as one of held her once.....we'd be holding her and passing her back and forth the whole time and that just sounded exhausting. So, there we sat on the plane and she was soooo great! She never moved from her seat, once.
She just played with her little backpack of toys....

When she got tired I laid her down with her doll.

We even put a Barney video in and oh my goodness...she was mesmerized.

When we arrived in San Fran. we only had 1 hour and 22 minutes. Seems like enough time to connect to another flight, but we had lots to do. First, because it was our first stop in America, we had to go through not only the line for citizens and show our passports.....we had to then go to a second line for new immigrants for Olivia. We had to show her Chinese passport and give them all the paperwork from the US Consulate. That took some time. This was actually a pretty exciting moment because ya see, as soon as Miss Olivia had stepped off the plane on American soil.....she was officially an American citizen. That was enough to get this overtired mama all choked up....right there in the customs line.
While we were waiting in the customs line, I was hoping the employee who chooses who's luggage they rummage through would show a little mercy on us. After all, we were a sight. We had 4 suitcases, 4 carry ons (our duffel bag, one diaper bag, computer bag, and Jay's sleep machine) AND....a 2 yr. old strapped to Jay's chest. Well, he did and we sailed right by without a hitch. We re-checked our bags and got to our next gate just in time to start boarding. That flight was over 3 hours, but by this time we were so completely exhausted. It was the middle of the night for us and we had barely even slept. We were so excited though to be on our last leg to get home though that I didn't even care. I think I was also to tired to even care that I had forgotten my plan to get my makeup out of my luggage before re-checking it. I hadn't put any on that morning. I figured it would be a mute point with all the travelling we were going to be doing. Well, my plan fell through and so I was headed home looking awful. Ask me if I cared....I just wanted to see my boys.
Back home, they were just as anxious as we were.

I had emailed my family and asked them to make sure to let the boys come to us first before letting everyone else. I wanted to see them first and give them a chance to get the first glimpse of Livi. I'd say my brothers did a good job of holding them back.

I remember getting off the plane and heading to the baggage claim area. Jason saw them first...off in the distance. Then I did. I had already been crying as we headed through the airport, but seeing them I waved real high above the crowd so they could see us. Oh my goodness, did they come running.

It was the best thing I've ever seen. I was bawling by the time they reached us....this, of course, made me even more beautiful than I already was for all the pictures I was going to be in....and they just surrounded us. It was soooo good to see them. I can't tell you how much we missed them and how hard that was to be away all that time.

Jay and I had predicted that our 3 oldest would be crying and we were right. They were very emotional and looked very happy. They looked at their new sister for the first time. She was a bit stunned by all the commotion. She just looked and watched them. It took me a few minutes, but I soon realized that my whole family was now standing behind us and had been watching.....along with everyone else in the airport....
After giving everyone hugs, we had the fun task of getting to finally show her off in person. The grandma's were the first ones in to see her...and everyone else followed.

Olivia didn't cry or seem overwhelmed. She just watched and held on tight. I think she knew she was in for a ride with this big family.
After spending quite a bit of time at the airport, we said goodbye to everyone except our parents. We wanted them to come back to the house with us. We thought it would be too much for her to have the rest there, but they were coming over on Sunday.
My dad helped by grabbing some of our bags and we all left. We were heading out of the parking garage when I realized that dad had taken the diaper bag. That was the bag that had our wallets, our passports, our licenses, our money, our debit card....everything. We had no way to pay for our parking. No way. We didn't even have a cell phone on us to call them back. Besides, they had almost a 30 minute head start on us (mostly because Trae realized he had forgotten his jacket with his DS inside back in the airport and we had to go all they way back in to the baggage claim area only to find that a security guard had taken it away since it was 'unattended' so it posed a security threat. We finally tracked it down and convinced them it wasn't a bomb). We pulled up to the cashier and told her the problem. We said we didn't know what to do and was there a way we could send in our payment....something? She didn't seem to have an answer for us. We all kinda sat there for a minute trying to decide. She said she'd probably have to call her supervisor who would have us call our parents back to the airport to help us out. I said okay, but that it would be a while. She asked if we were at the airport often, we told her no..we just got back from China adopting a child. We hemmed and hawed for another minute or two about the dilemma and then I saw her reach for a purse....her purse...and start to pull out her wallet. I asked her please not to do that. She said "you did something good and adopted a child and I see you have other kids too....now, I'll do something good for you". We offered to pay her back, but she wouldn't let us. So, of course, I start crying and telling her "God bless you". She says "God bless you too, and your family". There really are a lot of good people in the world. The poor thing probably got yelled at by the car behind us who kept honking. Makes you think twice about being impatient, huh. You never know what's going on up ahead.